Evaluation of Palestinian Consumer Awareness to Food Safety and Hygiene

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Odeh, Tasneem Zaher
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جامعة النجاح الوطنية
Improper handling, storage, preparation, and processing of foods have adverse effect on consumers. Therefore, consumer awareness towards food safety is an important issue. Food borne diseases can be minimized by increase the consumer awareness towards food safety. There are several interrelated factors that can affect consumer awareness toward food safety. Consumers in Palestine still have low level of awareness toward food safety. This study was conducted to evaluate the awareness of Palestinian consumers towards food practices and safety and their relation with some demographic characteristics. Around 300 Palestinian (32.1% males and 67.9% females) consumers were selected randomly from three different Palestinian governorates (Nablus, Tulkarm and Qalqilya). Consumers were subjected to face to face interview to fill validated questionnaire related to food safety information and practices. Data from questionnaire were analyzed by descriptive statistics (mean, SEM, minimum and maximum values). Results were evaluated using the ANOVA test of SPSS software (IBM SPSS statistics 21). This study showed that there was no gender effect on most parameters of consumer’s knowledge in food safety. Palestinian consumers trust health professionals, family, consumer reports, and scientists as sources of food safety information more than other sources. Lower age consumers exhibited higher confidence in the safety of food products in Palestinian market than consumers with higher age. On another hand, educational level was one of the most important factors in building the consumer knowledge in food safety. The confidence of consumers in Palestinian governmental food safety authorities is still low. So, more attention must be given to food safety issue from policymakers, food safety authorities and the food industrial sectors.
Food safety; consumers, awareness; demographic characteristics.