Food safety knowledge, sources thereof and self-reported behaviour among university students in Sweden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


International studies have noted shortcomings in food safety knowledge and behaviour among university students. In general students do not constitute a pronounced risk group but there are wider implications. In a foreseeable future some of them will become pregnant and a majority will be responsible for vulnerable groups in their near environment. A crucial question exists, therefore, about their food safety knowledge and safe food handling practices. The aim of this study is to investigate food safety knowledge, sources thereof and self-reported food safety behavior among university students in Sweden. A quantitative study design using a web-based questionnaire was chosen as the data collection method. The questionnaire was distributed through social media and e-mail. Among the 606 respondents from 24 Swedish universities 80% were 18-30 years and 78% were women. The average number of correct answers on the knowledge questions was 7.61 out of 12 (63.4%). The foremost source of food safety knowledge was “Family and friends” (45%). Just 21.1% reported Food safety education as a source, although 35.6% had experience of a course in food hygiene/safety and/or microbiology. Respondents who reported “Family and friends” to be the foremost food safety source of knowledge also got a significantly lower rate of correct answers. Students who estimated their food safety knowledge to be good also had more correct answers. Experience of food safety education at secondary school/university/working place/polytechnic school significantly correlated with more correct answers on the knowledge questions and indicated a safer self-reported behaviour. Those with fewer correct answers also reported more unfavourable behaviours. The present study indicates that education promotes more optimal behaviors. The authors would suggest a more systematic food safety education at younger ages.


  • Ingela Marklinder
  • Roger Ahlgren
  • Anna Blücher
  • Stina Mina Ehn Börjesson
  • Frida Hellkvist
  • Madeleine Moazzami
  • Jenny Schelin
  • Elin Zetterström
  • Gustaf Eskhult
  • Marie Louise Danielsson-Tham
External organisations
  • Uppsala University
  • Umeå University
  • Linnaeus University
  • Kristianstad University
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Örebro University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Pedagogy
  • Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified


  • Food safety, Food safety education, Self-reported behaviours, Sources of knowledge, University students
Original languageEnglish
Article number107130
JournalFood Control
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch