Summary of the progress in WP1

The WP1 team has carried out an analysis of how food is handled in everyday life in five European countries: France, Norway, Portugal, Romania, and the UK. The aim was to investigate whether and to what extent food is handled in safe and unsafe ways from retail to fork in 75 European households.

The study addressed consumers’ food practices involving handling of food across five stages – food procurement, transportation, storage, and cooking. All these stages involve socially shared activities carried out in the everyday life of European consumers. A Risk Behaviour Map was constructed where observed practices registered for each step and household were linked to an expert opinion on how the practices could increase or decrease the risk of being ill.

Summary of the progress in WP2

Consumer behaviour in six countries when purchasing and handling food (WP1), technologies available but not adopted by consumers, literature overviews (WP2) and a list of food safety myths (WP5) were available as a background for modelling practices and behaviours at laboratory scale. Information about the effect of consumer food choices, perceptions, and handling on pathogens (Campylobacter spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp., toxoplasma, norovirus) was obtained.

Reports presenting a detailed description of the laboratory experiments and results were initially included at the internal project platform and subsequently linked to the Risk Behaviour Map (a tool developed in the project frame to be used in risk assessment).

Those results relevant for the scientific community were submitted for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals (10 manuscripts) and presented at scientific conferences (12 presentations). More publications and presentations are planned before the end of the project.

Summary of the progress in WP3

WP3 has developed methods for quantitative microbial risk assessment that allow estimation of the infection risk reduction produced by different food hygiene interventions.

The infection risk reduction estimates were obtained by combining data from the 10-country SafeConsume Household Survey (WP3), growth curve estimates, behavioral data, data on how this behavior affect foodborne hazards, and other relevant data sources.

Summary of the progress in WP4

WP4 is about the design of tools, products, and technologies for the mitigation of foodborne risks and the project has identified many potential interventions that can make an impact on reducing the incidence of foodborne illness.

In order to promote these opportunities to the innovation community at large we have produced an Opportunity Map, some Functional Specifications and some Design Concepts.

The three outputs are of different styles and are intended to appeal to different audiences in the innovation community. The Opportunity Map is a summary of opportunities for intervention in domestic food handling, grouped in 21 areas. The Functional Specifications consider what requirements must be satisfied to address these Opportunities and the Design Concepts are examples of product design applied to these areas. Taken together these outputs support the consideration of domestic food hygiene risks in the innovation process.

Summary of the progress in WP5

In the first part of WP5 risk mitigation and communication practises across Europe were investigated and best practises selected to be studied further. A study in Norway, Germany, and UK investigated consumer understanding of food hygiene risks, and whether mythical (non-scientific beliefs) can explain unsafe practices. A food safety myth buster game and a procedure for testing the effect of this intervention on beliefs and intended behaviour have been developed.

Testing will be carried out in Norway and UK. WP5 is also planning a risk-based communication strategy which will be tested in 5 European countries to evaluate new food safety tools or procedures developed within SafeConsume.

Summary of the progress in WP6

A study has been carried out in England, France, Hungary, and Portugal to identify needs for educational tools on food hygiene and safety, aligned to behavioural theory. Educational resources and training modules have been developed, and an online recip-e-book containing food hygiene instructions have been produced.

Eight educational resources to teach teenagers (11-14 years) and young people (15-18 years) about food hygiene and food safety, and four teacher training modules have been developed to support educators aimed at boosting knowledge and confidence in teaching about aspects of food hygiene, nutrition food labels etc.

Among those: Educational tools and lesson plans were proposed and drafted during 2019: a classroom debate on the risks of food prepared in and out of the home; an animation showing the safe preparation of meals across Europe; a lesson on the user journey of food from shop to home; useful and harmful microbes; a foodborne illness outbreak investigation. Initial testing in schools indicated that students valued interactive activities and teachers required clear resources aligned to the curriculum.

Findings from interviews with educators informed the development of an online training module linked to the student resources, covering four sessions: an introduction, food microbiology, food safety/quality, and infection transmission.

Resources are being translated and implemented in six European countries. An evaluation is being carried out in 4 countries to measure impact of education on adolescent’s food hygiene behaviour

The online recip-e-book containing recipes from Denmark, England, France, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, and Spain. Each recipe contains food hygiene instructions to remind people to carry out the cooking activities the right way, and at the right times, helping to promote safer food hygiene actions.

Summary of the progress in WP7

WP7 has conducted two online surveys. The first survey aimed to map the functions, responsibilities, resources, cooperation networks and communication practices of food safety authorities across Europe. The second survey focused on the role of non-authority actors in food safety risk communication, investigating co-operation practices between NGOs and official organizations.

WP7 have created a catalogue of the applied risk communication models (organisational issues, communication methods, channels, main target groups, risk areas, collaborations with other actors) based on an online survey that covered almost all European national level food safety authorities and many other relevant public organizations (76 responses).

In the analysis, descriptive statistics were combined with qualitative information. Based on the results, a compendium of country reports was created. This is being used as the basis for development of improved, communication policy models which consider consumer behaviour. These models will integrate the experiences of all WPs and provide a toolbox for helping the authorities’ work.

Summary of the progress in WP8

WP8 is working to ensure effective transfer of research and other outputs to the stakeholders and implementation of materials and strategies developed in this project. This is being achieved through the SafeConsume website, peer review publications, conference presentations, learning forums, YouTube, a variety of new channels and social media channels

Summary of the progress in WP9