Background: Although foodborne illness is preventable, it has become a growing public health concern worldwide. Foodborne pathogens are more likely to cause infection and to result in serious consequences in vulnerable people than in healthy adults. The occurrence of foodborne illness is highly related to the level of food safety knowledge, consumer practices and household food safety especially among susceptible individuals. Understanding of food safety knowledge and practice is needed to prevent the life threaten consequences that occur among individuals because of foodborne illness.
This study assessed the food safety knowledge and practice among pregnant women in Assin Fosu, Ghana.
Method: A cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out involving 170 pregnant women from St Francis Xavier Hospital who met the inclusion criteria. Data was collected via the use of pre-tested questionnaires with the aid of research assistants. The analysis was done using Stata 12. Chi square analysis was used to determine the association between demographic characteristics and food safety knowledge and food safety practice among the pregnant women (p < 0.05).
Results: The study showed that the 90.6% of the respondents had high food safety knowledge. Again 69.41% of them were aware of food poisoning but only 58.2% knew how to prevent it and 28.2% had experienced food poisoning before. 66.5% agreed that storing raw and cooked food together could result in food contamination. Moreover, 58.2% adhered to bad food safety practice Also, 60.6% defreeze frozen food at room temperature, 40.6% always wear accessories when washing their hands and cooking and only 8.8% always wear protective clothing when cooking. Age and educational level was found to have significant influence (p < 0.05) on food safety knowledge whereas educational level and employment status had significant influence on food safety practice.
Conclusion: Food safety knowledge was high but food safety practice was bad among the respondents. Educational level was the most important demographic characteristic that had significant influence on both food safety knowledge and food safety practice among pregnant women in this study.