Development and Evaluation of Educational Web-Based Food Safety Game, Potluck Panic!
Food safety education is necessary for development of individual life skills, public health, and fulfillment of societal workforce needs for scientists dedicated to safe food production. An interactive Web-based game, Potluck Panic!, was developed whereby players prevent foodborne illness by mitigating risky practices throughout food systems. Post-secondary students (261) enrolled in food science courses anonymously completed pre- and post-gameplay surveys on gameplay, food safety perceptions, behaviors, and knowledge. Subjects enjoyed the game (84%) with consequent increased awareness of (89%) and interest in food safety (75%), the food science major (57%), and intent to learn more (79%). A significant shift (P < 0.05) in attitudes among students enrolled in an introductory course included decreased trust in families’ food preparation practices, increased confidence in the food supply, recognized need for scientific knowledge to produce safe food, and recognition that companies employ people responsible for food safety. Significant improvement on knowledge-based questions was observed for students enrolled in introductory courses who scored in the lower pregameplay quartiles. Seventy percent (70%) of secondary school educators rated the game favorably for enjoyment, educational value, and willingness to recommend it to a colleague. These data support game use to increase student interest in the science of food safety.
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