The Rutgers Food Policy Institute will partner with the Meals on Wheels Association of America (MOWAA) and selected Meals on Wheels (MOW) agencies in five states to conduct an in-depth study of homebound, elderly individuals who receive home-delivered meals (HMD). The majority of the data will be collected during regularly scheduled re-evaluation interviews conducted in the clients' homes every six months. Rutgers researchers will train MOW employees in a research protocol that will involve measuring all of the food in clients' homes using a UPC handheld scanner, similar to technology used in supermarkets. The data will be analyzed in a way that will identify what nutritional needs would not be met if home delivery of meals were to be unexpectedly interrupted. In addition to analyzing the food, the employee will administer a survey to the client, which will ask about demographics, food procurement and food safety behaviors. Finally, the employee will conduct a brief food safety inspection of the clients' kitchens. In addition, the proposed research will involve two interventions designed to improve the safety of the food consumed by this vulnerable group. MOW agency employees will test a labeling system, in which the food delivered to the clients will be date labeled to alert the clients when the food is no longer safe for consumption. A second intervention will involve the MOW employee testing and adjusting the temperature of the clients' home refrigerators. The proposed research will strengthen the nation's food defense system by identifying and addressing the critical nutrition needs of this vulnerable population, particularly during times of emergency. The research has the potential to improve the safety of the food consumed by this population, through food safety audits of their homes and the testing of two interventions designed to decrease the likelihood that they would contract foodborne illness. Dissemination of the resulting research findings and recommendations will be accomplished through a partnership with the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) and MOWAA, both of whom have national constituencies poised to act on the recommendations.
|Effective start/end date||9/1/09 → 8/31/13|
- National Institute of Food and Agriculture (National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA))