Food safety and sustainable nutrition workshops: educational experiences for primary school children in Turin, Italy

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Amaranta Traversa
Daniela Adriano
Alberto Bellio
Daniela Manila Bianchi
Silvia Gallina
Clara Ippolito
Angelo Romano
Paola Durelli
Andrea Pezzana
Lucia Decastelli *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Lucia Decastelli | lucia.decastelli@izsto.it

Abstract

European control and prevention policies are focused to guarantee a high level of protection of consumers’ health. Foodborne diseases as obesity, diabetes, food allergy, and food-borne outbreaks are increasing. To prevent food-borne diseases, it is fundamental to involve consumers, in particular children, in educational experiences aimed to learn the proper behaviours to be applied. In this context, we designed and performed 5 educational workshops about food safety, hidden allergens in food and nutrition aimed to involve children attending primary and summer school. These experiences let us collect observations about children knowledge and behaviours. From May to October 2015, a total of 1708 children aged 6 to 11 years joined our workshops. Children were involved in listening activities, laboratory experiments, handling games and sensory experiences. All participants were familiar with food allergy and were interested to know how to behave with allergic people. Children showed great curiosity in discovering that many foods normally contain live bacteria. Less than 25% of children reported to skip breakfast, to have it watching TV or to spend few minutes for it. Many of them (>75%) thought that fruits and vegetables are all year-round available and are not related to a specific period. Very few participants (<25%) knew that freezing is the treatment to be applied to make fresh fish safe from parasites. Children involved in food safety and nutrition educational experiences have the opportunity to increase their awareness about the correct behaviours to prevent food-borne diseases and to improve their own critical thinking about food consumption.

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