An assessment of perceived versus true knowledge of beef cattle producers regarding pre-harvest food safety
Lemons, Laura L.
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Knowledge is arguably the most important step in an individual’s decision to adopt and use an innovation. In recent years, outbreaks of E. coli have prompted food scientists to make numerous advancements in the area of pre-harvest food safety. Knowledge held by beef cattle producers regarding these pre-harvest food safety interventions is currently unknown. Self-perceived knowledge is often solicited as a representation of true knowledge. However, it may not necessarily be an accurate representation. Beef cattle producers were surveyed at the 2007 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and National Cattlemen's Beef Association Tradeshow to determine their self-perceived and true knowledge regarding pre-harvest food safety interventions and management practices. This descriptive correlational study sought to determine self-perceived knowledge of beef cattle producers regarding pre-harvest food safety, true knowledge of beef cattle producers regarding pre-harvest food safety, and the relationship between them. The study found that producers did not accurately perceive their knowledge regarding pre-harvest food safety interventions. Only low relationships were found, with one moderate relationship. Most relationships were negative, with only one significant relationship being positive. Researchers recommend that true knowledge questions be used to establish a baseline knowledge level among producers, so that educational materials can be accurately focused in order to begin to fill the knowledge gap between food scientists and beef cattle producers.