Betty Yaohua Feng, is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California, Davis. She presented two sessions related to Positive Deviance at CFSEC2017.
Her research investigates the effectiveness of positive deviance interventions on changing consumers’ safe food handling attitudes and behaviors.
For those unfamiliar with the theory, Positive Deviance is based on the observation that, in every community, there are certain individuals whose uncommon practices (in this case- correct food safety behaviors) enable them to find better solutions to problems than their neighbors or colleagues, despite having access to the same resources.
The goals are to identifying best practices on how to reach these individuals and then to work with these “Positive Deviants” to promote food safety in a community or group.
Betty shares a story from her research:
A few years ago, I piloted the Positive Deviance approach in classes with several different groups of people with diabetes. The classes covered the importance of food safety in diabetes. “Doreen,” one of the group members, was a 62-year-old woman with Type-2 Diabetes. She had never heard that having diabetes put you at higher risk for food borne illness. This was important news to her.
She attended all of the three group sessions offered. Doreen shared that before she came to the classes, she never realized that she should wash the apples she brought home from the supermarket before eating them. She was surprised to learn that. Doreen said, “They are so shiny and I only buy from big chains, so I assumed they were clean and ready to eat. I didn’t know they needed to be washed.”
Before and after the series, we gave food safety knowledge pre- and post- tests, and Doreen did very well with the post-test. Before the last session, she asked if I would like to go to her church and present food safety information to her friends and family and community members. This was very encouraging to me, as an educator. It is unlikely that before she attended the classes she would have invited a food safety expert to present information to her local congregation.
Doreen’s positive deviance was influencing her community!
Michelle Paillou, Environmental Supervisor/Training Coordinator for the St. Louis (MO) County Health Department, is a community education specialist. Her food safety outreach ranges from operators who need a refresher at the “food school” she created, to school age kids and adults.
For grade schoolers to high school students, her presentation revolves around the familiar St. Louis Cardinals and all the food safety steps that have to be taken by the stadium food vendors before it opens. Michelle says, “Since most of the kids know about baseball, it’s a great way to tie in public health.”
For the youngest students, Michelle talks to the kids about how to wash your hands and why it’s important. In her class, she uses three pieces of bread and asks the kids to touch one of them with unwashed hands, touch another one with washed hands, and one slice is untouched.
She next shows them the “time-lapsed” results, using “pre-treated” bread slices: the slice that was not handled and the one handled with clean hands remain uncontaminated and OK to eat. While the slice handled with dirty hands is covered with bacterial growth and looks, as the kids say, “disgusting”.
Michelle has found that this is a great visual and really makes an impact. She sometime receives notes from students after the class, thanking her for teaching them about handwashing. Michelle tells us that she leaves them, “Singing the Happy Birthday song and washing their hands!”
One of the best ways to solidify the new strategies you learn is to apply them and teach them.
Basem Boutros is a CFSEC2017 scholarship student who explains how he applied his new learning from the conference to a story in his life and made his new learning permanent.
Basem sent us his story:
The 2017 Consumer Food Safety Education Conference drew to my attention to several aspects that contribute to food safety behavior. In this brief story, I see that I experienced a goal of food safety behavior change, self-regulation, without even realizing it!
Self-regulation refers to controlling oneself through self-monitoring.
In the past, I worked in a restaurant as prep cook/line cook and there were food safety standards in place that we all, as a back-of-the-house staff, were committed to.
Much of my job required the preparation and handling of raw chicken. One time, while I was preparing to put chicken wings in the mixing bowl to bread them, I checked the box and found that the wings were slimy and emitted an obnoxious smell.
I let the chef know and he recommended disposing of them. I felt like if it had not been for the pre-check I did, as a result of self-monitoring, many people may have gotten sick!
That’s my learning story.
Go BAC Fighters!
Basem Boutros is specializing in food safety as a PhD student in Hospitality Management at Kansas State University.
Whether you attended in person, watched the live broadcast, or kept tabs on Twitter from work, BAC Fighters are reporting that CFSEC2107 is having a big effect on their work.
There was an excellent variety of sectors represented; BAC Fighters from academia, the corporate world, and government made up over 60% of attendees, with co-op extension, public health, and nonprofits making up nearly all of the rest. We would love to spread the word to more school teachers for the next conference!
Frank Yiannas Led the Top Five Keynote and Plenary Sessions
- Food Safety = Behavior 2.0/Frank Yiannas
- What are key elements of effective behavioral change strategies?/BenjaminChapman & Michael Roberson
- What Affects Risk Perception & Motivation? /Monique Turner, Rylee Gustafson and Christine Prue
- The Behavior Change Wheel/Lou Atkins
- The Power of Habit/Charles Duhigg
But What Do You Really Think?
- 98% of attendees learned strategies for increasing adherence to safe food handling behaviors among consumers.
- 100% said you will make changes in your practice as a result of information presented at this conference.
- 98% learned strategies for increasing adherence to safe food handling behaviors among consumers.
- 100% of you told us that the conference provided you with opportunities to develop your network of professional contacts.
- 100% of conference-goers reported that they will disseminate this information to create positive behavior changes in consumer food handling practices.
Your Food Safety Outreach is Both Deep and Broad!
You reported that your potential audience includes:
- +1000 patients and community members, family members as well.
- ~300, caregivers, healthcare staff, community members
- At least 30 other regulators.
- All residents in the city and county of Denver and restaurant owners and employees.
- The state of Arizona – all counties and regulatories with in them.
- Retailer: ~2500 stores and guests
- High school students
- Patients at a doctor’s office about 20 patients a week.
- 250 – teachers in WA State
- 300+ I teach food safety training to our partner agencies at a foodbank.
- Direct: 3000/yea Indirect:10,000 year Social media:20,000/year
- Over 240 peers and professionals
- I am an extension agent and serve 7 countries, do television and therefore the potential audience is in the thousands.
- 1000 Servsafe/volunteer training
- Potential Audience – city of Las Vegas Industry food handlers
Top 5 Ways You Prefer to Receive Partnership for Food Safety messages:
- Facebook/Twitter (tie)
- Professional Webinars
Was Your Main Purpose in Attending this Conference Achieved?
The answers were overwhelmingly: YES!
- Learning more about current research in food safety behavior and intervention strategies. The purpose was highly achieved.
- To better communicate with those we inspect to instill lasting change. Yes, I was able to see why what lab can be done better.
- To have scientific fundamental about food handling. Yes, this was a very powerful conference.
- To learn new strategies and techniques for teaching food safety. Yes.
- Understanding what others are doing and exchange resources and network – yes
- To better understand the concept of behavior change and how it can be applied to food safety. Yes!
- To find out more information on how to have a better social media presence on food safety. Yes, I learned a lot. The breakout sessions on behavior change in the digital age was great.
- To learn and meet industry academia and government personnel, yes.
- Learned more about teaching food safety using different techniques. Yes, felt a lot like the conference focused on this.
- Enhance my professional development. Yes – very relevant and impactful.
- Became familiar with food safety and learn some messages to improve the food safety culture at my office/lab. It was met and I have several tools to take home.
- Having some ideas for my PhD dissertation. Yes, I got a lot of new great ideas.
Last but not Least
99% said you would attend this conference again!
See you in Orlando in 2019!
Conference Links You’ll Want to Check out!
To access/view video of conference plenary and keynote sessions:
Conference photo page:
Elisa Shackelton, Extension Specialist, Colorado State University and Carla Opp, Workforce Development and Quality Improvement Coordinator- Jefferson Public Health use the resources on Fightbac.org to spread the word about food safety to their communities in different ways.
Elisa finds that researched-based Fightbac.org resources are useful for communicating via social media. Carla finds that the kid-friendly materials are effective to captivate this hard-to-reach group.
Learn more about how they do it: