Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to create a series of 30-60-second short videos to promote improved food safety behaviors of middle school youth, determine the feasibility of disseminating the videos through peer networks, and measure their effects on food safety attitudes, perceived social norms, and behaviors of youth. Design/methodology/approach – Food safety content specialists, learning experts, programmers, illustrators, project managers, instructional designers, scriptwriters, and stakeholders were involved in creation of the Don’t Be Gross short videos before evaluation by middle school youth (sixth to eighth grades). The experimental group (n¼220) completed the following activities at about one-week intervals: pre-test, viewed videos, post-test, and follow-up test. The control group (n¼112) completed the same activities at similar intervals but did not have access to the videos until after the follow-up test. Findings – Controlling for grade and gender, linear mixed-effects models revealed significant time by group effects for participants’ perceived susceptibility to foodborne illness; intentions to perform recommended food safety behaviors approached significance. Additionally, compared to the pre-test, the experimental group perceived their friends as being significantly more confident in performing food safety behaviors at post- and follow-up tests. Google Analytics data revealed that the bounce rate from the home page of the videos was low (38 percent) suggesting that the videos were engaging. Originality/value – The Don’t Be Gross videos were liked by youth and shared among their peers and may have the potential to promote positive food safety behaviors and intentions among youth.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
- Food safety