ABSTRACT: Social media offers numerous advantages for personal users and organizations to communicate, socialize, and market their products. When used correctly, social media is an effective tool to communicate and to share food safety news and good practices. However, there have been reports of fake food safety news shared via social media, fueling panic and resulting in a loss of revenue. Thus, this study aimed to investigate the consumers' awareness, trust, and usage of social media in communicating food safety news in Malaysia. A questionnaire divided into five sections-(i) demographics, (ii) reaction to food safety news, (iii) consumers' awareness, (iv) social media truth and level of trust, and (v) social media uses and content creation-was created and shared online. A total of 341 questionnaires were returned of which 339 surveys were valid. This study revealed that less than one-third of the study group (27.1%) knew which of the food safety news were fake. Most respondents (67.8%) were less likely to purchase the affected foods if the foods were featured in social media as problematic, although no differences were made between true and fake news and how that would influence respondents' willingness to purchase affected foods. Overall, 62% of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed about the usage of social media and its ability to prevent food poisoning cases, while more than 50% of the respondents were in total agreement that social media allow consumers to act more responsibly by sharing food safety news. Respondents tended to trust information shared by scientists (67.5%) and family members and friends (33%). Respondents would most often share the news after verifying its authenticity (46%). If respondents experienced a personal food safety issue (e.g., discovered a fly in their meal), they seldom or never took photos to post online (56.1%). It is possible that the respondents preferred to inform the food handlers and/or shop owners about the affected products rather than post the photos online. It is suggested that targeted food safety information and media literacy be provided to improve consumers' awareness and to positively influence self-verification of the food safety information before sharing. This study provides crucial insights for a range of stakeholders, particularly public authorities, food bloggers, and the public, in using social media effectively to build consumers' awareness and trust in food safety information.
Food contamination is a crucial health problem as it could result in food-borne illness. This research aimed to evaluate the microbiological quality of ready-to-eat (RTE) fried rice dishes sold at different type of food premises in Kuantan city, Pahang. Total Plate Count (TPC), Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus and Aeromonas spp. bacteria were used as microbiological contamination indicators. About 52 samples were collected stratified randomly from four types of food premises (restaurant, cafeteria, food stall and night market) where about 13 samples were respectively collected from each type of the food premises. The results showed that TPC had medium mean count (6.30x105±1.47x105 cfu/g), S. aureus and B. cereus had high mean counts (7.70x104±2.22x105 cfu/g and 3.85x105±1.67x106 cfu/g respectively), while Aeromonas spp. had medium mean count (7.13x104±2.42x105 cfu/g). The mean counts of TPC in the samples collected from cafeteria were highest compare to other food premises.
Sufficient knowledge on food safety and diligence during food handling are crucial to food safety and hygiene practices. A casual approach to handling food in the kitchen on a regular basis may link to foodborne pathogens, contaminations, and adverse health effects. The purpose of this study is to identify the right practices and behaviour among culinary students in terms of food hygiene practices and food safety perspectives. The methodology employed includes observations on 18 food culinary students in an actual kitchen setting. Effective food hygiene and food safety implementation are needed to improve the effectiveness of health education programmes for food handlers. The results suggest that transmission reduction of food pathogens, knowledge transfer and food safety training in selective industry criteria with proper guidelines should be introduced to produce a competent workforce.
Consumption of repeatedly heated oil can be detrimental to health. The objective of this study was to determine the level of knowledge, attitude and practice of night market food outlet operators in Kuala Lumpur regarding the usage of repeatedly heated cooking oil. The quality of cooking oil was also investigated. A cross-sectional study involving pretested questionnaire was undertaken in April 2009. The questionnaire was designed as a tool to collect data from the respondents (n=100) by face-to-face interview. The results showed that majority of respondents had only moderate (53.0%) or low (18.0%) level of knowledge regarding this issue. Most respondents (67.0%) agreed that it is not a good practice. The majority (69.0%) agreed that the usage of repeatedly heated cooking oil is detrimental to health. Despite that, most respondents (63.0%) admitted that they had used cooking oil repeatedly. Most (62.0%) of the cooking oil samples taken from the night market food outlets were considered fit for human consumption. In conclusion, the level of knowledge of night market food outlet operators in Kuala Lumpur regarding this issue needs to be improved in order to ensure the safety of fried food purchased from such establishments.
In recent years, paper-based point-of-care testing (POCT) has been widely used in medical diagnostics, food safety and environmental monitoring. However, a high-cost, time-consuming and equipment-dependent sample pretreatment technique is generally required for raw sample processing, which are impractical for low-resource and disease-endemic areas. Therefore, there is an escalating demand for a cost-effective, simple and portable pretreatment technique, to be coupled with the commonly used paper-based assay (e.g. lateral flow assay) in POCT. In this review, we focus on the importance of using paper as a platform for sample pretreatment. We firstly discuss the beneficial use of paper for sample pretreatment, including sample collection and storage, separation, extraction, and concentration. We highlight the working principle and fabrication of each sample pretreatment device, the existing challenges and the future perspectives for developing paper-based sample pretreatment technique.
Although the Halal concept has not been a major element among non-Muslim consumers living in an Islamic country, whether the non-Muslim consumers are aware of the underlying advantages that come with Halal food products or their viewpoints arising from their religious belief, are some intriguing questions that need to be answered. Thus the objective of the study explore the underlying determinants that are likely to influence non-Muslim consumers’ perceptions and attitudes towards Halal concept and Halal food products in Malaysia in lieu of new paradigm in emerging global issues on sustainability, environmental, food safety and animal welfare. A survey was conducted in the Klang Valley where 400 non-Muslim respondents were interviewed via structured questionnaires to gather information on their awareness and attitude towards Halal food products in the Malaysian food market. Descriptive statistic was used to identify the socio-economic/ demographic characteristics and attitudes of the respondents toward the Halal food principles. The logit model
was used to determine the extent to which selected socio-economic/demographic characteristics influenced
the respondents’ attitude and understanding on Halal principles and Halal food products. The results of this
study suggest that non-Muslim consumers are aware of the existence of Halal food, Halal principles and the
advantages of Halal way in slaughtering the animals. This can be shown by their significant awareness that
Halal is not only the way Muslim slaughter their animals but also relates to environmental, sustainability,
animal welfare and food safety. In general, various socio-economic/demographic factors such as education
level, older generation, those who are more religious and the urban dweller seem to more likely to be aware of the advantages of Halal principles.
The term ‘sustainable’ has become a buzz word in today’s business world. Consumption of green food is just one facet or ‘trip’ to the whole journey of sustainable development. This paper explores and synthesizes the findings of research on green food consumption in Malaysia. The already conducted studies in Malaysia have revealed various demographic and psychographic factors contributing to consumers’ intension to buy green food. This study revealed that majority of Malaysians consider food safety and health issue to be their prime reason for buying green food. To ensure the long term sustainability, the green food as well as the broad food industry in Malaysia must evidently understand the consumers’ buying motives of green food. Although mentionable limitation of the paper is the reliance on only published literature, this can be used as input for further large scale empirical research. The paper concludes with implications and suggestions for further research.
As Malaysian economies grow, Malaysian per capita income is likely to increase. From economics point of view, it is expected that better-off consumers will move to better quality of food attributes such as freshness, food safety, quality and healthfulness in their food intake. This study aimed to investigate the demand for eggs attributes by Malaysian consumers. The study considers the conjoint analysis technique as a method for acquiring insights into preferences for eggs product. The technique was applied to establish the trade-offs that Malaysian consumers make between size, colour, size of packaging, functional attribute and price in the purchasing of eggs for 202 respondents. Least squares regression was utilized to estimate the relative importance of attributes for eggs. The results revealed that the ideal characteristic of egg was one with large size (grade A), omega eggs, brown, and ten per packs. We also found that consumers were also willing to pay more for their preferred attributes. The results found in the study provide valuable inputs to producers or marketers to improve their marketing efforts as well as market positioning, in line with the demanded eggs attributes.
This cross sectional study aimed to explored the pattern of socio-demographic distribution, to assess the level of KAP of food safety; and the relationship with the level of premise cleanliness in the food courts at Putrajaya. Distribution of food handlers socio-demographic profile was Malaysian (62.0%), male (70.4%), working experienced in food industry (82.0%) and attended food handler training (85.0%). The mean age was 28.7 years and 85.4% having income not less than RM 1,500 monthly. 78.5% of the food handlers at educational level were found as primary/secondary school. 15.0% of the respondents had not attended the food sanitation training. The findings reveal that food handlers’ KAP were high with a mean percentage score more than 79.0%.The majority of the food courts in Putrajaya had consistently moderate level of cleanliness (63.5%) with the mean of 83.03%. Only 27.4% of the food courts were in the level of clean situation (>89% of premise cleanliness score) and 9.1% were not in the clean condition (
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), globally 600 million people suffer
from food-borne diseases (FBD), and 420,000 people die as a result. The European Food
Safety Authority (EFSA) has stated that FBD are linked to the food industry, with the
most common means of transmission being due to poor food handling and hygiene by
food handlers working in the food industry. The aim of this research was to investigate the
effectiveness of mandatory food handler training programmes (FHTP) to prevent FBD in
Malaysia and Ireland. To do this, the FHTP existing in Malaysia and Ireland were
analysed, in addition to the legislation they fall under in each respective country.
Effectiveness was determined by investigating the level of food safety knowledge (FSK)
and food safety practices (FSP) of food handlers in Malaysia and Ireland. A systematic
literature review (SLR) and a narrative literature review (NLR) were conducted for this
research. The SLR was based on the PRISMA diagram, using the Confidence in the
Evidence from Reviews of Qualitative research (CERQual) approach to evaluate the
studies used for this research. A total of 8 Malaysian studies and 1 Irish study were used to
determine the level of FSK and FSP of food handlers in each respective country, to
examine the effectiveness of FHTP. The results of the studies used for this research have
depicted overall good FSP and FSK of food handlers in Malaysia and Ireland; yet trends
continue to show that food handlers are one of the biggest contributors to FBD,
demonstrating that FHTP are not effective in preventing FBD. The findings from this
research highlights that although these trainings can be an effective tool to prevent FBD, if
they are not executed correctly, food handlers will continue to contribute to FBD.
Little is known on the biosafety level of Vibrio spp. in freshwater fish in Malaysia. The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence and concentration of Vibrio spp. and V. parahaemolyticus in
freshwater fish using the Most Probable Number-Polymerase Chain Reaction (MPN-PCR) method. The study was conducted on 150 samples from two types of freshwater fish commonly sold at hypermarkets, i.e. Pangasius hypophthalmus (catfish) and Oreochromis sp. (red tilapia). Sampling was done on the flesh, intestinal tract and gills of each fish. The prevalence of Vibrio spp. and V. parahaemolyticus was found to be 98.67% and 24% respectively with higher percentages detected in samples from the gills followed by the intestinal tract and flesh. Vibrio spp. was detected in almost all red tilapia and catfish samples. V. parahaemolyticus was detected in 25% of the catfish samples compared to 22.6% of red tilapia fish. The density of Vibrio spp. and V. parahaemolyticus in the samples ranged from 0 to 1.1x107 MPN/g. Although the maximum value was 1.1x107 MPN/g, most samples had microbial loads ranging from 0 to >104 MPN/g. The outcome on the biosafety assessment of Vibrio spp. and V. parahaemolyticus in freshwater fish indicates another potential source of food safety issues to consumers.
The growth of the Malaysian’s per capita income has generally empowered consumers to have more choices for food, more purchasing power, health consciousness and demand for more nutritional values of their food intake. Motivated by the changes in Malaysian consumer’s food choice, a conjoint analysis was performed to investigate Malaysian consumers’ demand for rice attributes and how much consumers are willing to pay for the demanded attribute. A conjoint analysis is a method used in identifying and understanding the combined effects of product attributes on preferences for a product or service. In conjoint analysis, utility is the conceptual basis for assessing the value of a product or service, where individuals make decisions between bundles of products based on their budget constraints. The findings suggested that the most important attribute for rice was food safety, followed by taste and size of grain. Consumers were also willing to pay premium prices for the demanded attributes. The findings would have positive implications for the agrifood industry if it responds effectively to translate into business opportunities to these changes.
Microplastic pollution is a global issue that has a detrimental impact on food safety. In marine environments, microplastics are a threat to marine organisms, as they are often the same size range as prey and are mistaken as food. Consumption of microplastics has led to the damage of digestive organs and a reduction in growth and reproductive output. In this study, microplastic pollution was assessed across three commercially available shrimp species that were obtained from the supermarkets of Singapore. A total of 93 individuals were studied from the Pacific white leg shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei, the Argentine red shrimp Pleoticus muelleri and the Indian white shrimp Fenneropenaeus indicus. Microplastic fibers, fragments, film and spheres were identified from the digestive tract of these organisms. Microplastic abundance ranged from 13.4 to 7050 items. F. indicus exhibited the highest number of microplastics. Microplastic film was the most abundant in L. vannamei individuals (93-97%) and spheres were the most abundant in P. muelleri (70%) and F. indicus (61%) individuals. This study demonstrates that microplastic contamination is evident in commonly consumed shrimp and highlights the role of shrimp in the trophic transfer and accumulation of microplastics in seafood. The consumption of microplastic-containing seafood is a route of exposure to humans and has implications on human health and food security. Capsule: Microplastics were examined in three shrimp species from the supermarkets of Singapore. Microplastics ranged from 13.4 to 7050 items of shrimp.
Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio cholerae and Vibrio vulnificus are the most significant aquatic pathogens of the genera Vibrio, account for most Vibrio-associated outbreaks worldwide. Rapid identification of these pathogens is of great importance for disease surveillance, outbreak investigations and food safety maintenance. Traditional culture dependent methods are time-consuming and labor-intensive whereas culture-independent polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based assays are reliable, consistent, rapid and reproducible. This review covers the recent development and applications of PCR based techniques, which have accelerated advances in the analysis of nucleic acids to identify three major pathogenic vibrios. Emphasis has been given to analytical approaches as well as advantages and limits of the available methods. Overall, this review article possesses the substantial merit to be used as a reference guide for the researchers to develop improved PCR based techniques for the differential detection and quantification of Vibrio species.
The agricultural industry has made a tremendous contribution to the foundations of civilization. Basic essentials such as food, beverages, clothes and domestic materials are enriched by the agricultural industry. However, the traditional method in agriculture cultivation is labor-intensive and inadequate to meet the accelerating nature of human demands. This scenario raises the need to explore state-of-the-art crop cultivation and harvesting technologies. In this regard, optics and photonics technologies have proven to be effective solutions. This paper aims to present a comprehensive review of three photonic techniques, namely imaging, spectroscopy and spectral imaging, in a comparative manner for agriculture applications. Essentially, the spectral imaging technique is a robust solution which combines the benefits of both imaging and spectroscopy but faces the risk of underutilization. This review also comprehends the practicality of all three techniques by presenting existing examples in agricultural applications. Furthermore, the potential of these techniques is reviewed and critiqued by looking into agricultural activities involving palm oil, rubber, and agro-food crops. All the possible issues and challenges in implementing the photonic techniques in agriculture are given prominence with a few selective recommendations. The highlighted insights in this review will hopefully lead to an increased effort in the development of photonics applications for the future agricultural industry.
This study aims to assess the effectiveness of a newly developed food safety education to improve the handwashing
practices of food handlers in school canteens. A community-based intervention study was carried out over a 2-year period.
Sixteen out of 98 primary schools were randomly selected and assigned into intervention and control groups using a
simple random sampling method. The study population included food handlers who worked in the canteens of the school
selected. The Food Safety Education Programme (FSEP) for the intervention group was developed based on the theory of
planned behaviour. The main outcome measures used were handwashing practices from the observations carried out at
baseline, 6-weeks (Post1) and 12-weeks (Post2) after the intervention. Out of 79 food handlers who participated in this
study, 33 (41.8%) were in the intervention group and 46 (58.2%) were in the control group. Prior to FSEP, handwashing
was not commonly practiced following critical events and the majority did not perform correctly. The time-effect of the
mixed design analysis of variance showed a significant increase (p=0.004) in the mean percentage of the total observed
handwashing practices from 29% at the baseline to 50.8% at Post1 (p=0.004). However, the intervention-effect of mixed
design ANOVA did not show any significant difference in the handwashing practices (p=0.210). The FSEP was effective in
improving the handwashing practices of the food handlers in the selected primary school canteens.
The recently emerged coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which has been characterised as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), is impacting all parts of human society including agriculture, manufacturing, and tertiary sectors involving all service provision industries. This paper aims to give an overview of potential host reservoirs that could cause pandemic outbreak caused by zoonotic transmission. Amongst all, continues surveillance in slaughterhouse for possible pathogens transmission is needed to prevent next pandemic outbreak. This paper also summarizes the potential threats of pandemic to agriculture and aquaculture sector that control almost the total food supply chain and market. The history lesson from the past, emerging and reemerging infectious disease including the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002, Influenza A H1N1 (swine flu) in 2009, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2012 and the recent COVID-19 should give us some clue to improve especially the governance to be more ready for next coming pandemic.
Disease outbreaks due to the consumption of contaminated food and feedstuff are a recurring problem worldwide. The major factor contributing to contamination are microorganisms, especially fungi, which produce low-molecular-weight compounds as secondary metabolites, with confirmed toxic properties referred to as mycotoxins. Several mycotoxins reported to date are cosmopolitan in distribution and incur severe health-associated risks (including cancer and neurological disorders). Hence, creating awareness among consumers, as well as developing new methods for detection and inactivation is of great importance for food safety. In this review, the focus is on the occurrence of various types of mycotoxins in food and feed associated with risks to humans and livestock, as well as legislation put forth by various authorities, and on presently practiced detoxification methods. Brief descriptions on recent developments in mycotoxin detection methodology are also inlcuded. This review is meant to be informative not only for health-conscious consumers but also for experts in the field to pave the way for future research to fill the existing gaps in our knowledge with regard to mycotoxins and food safety.
A developed colorimetric pH sensor film based on edible materials for real-time monitoring of food freshness is described. The mixed natural dyes from edible plants Clitoria sp and Brassica sp were extracted and incorporated into ι-carrageenan film as a colorimetric pH sensor film for monitoring food spoilage and its freshness. The color changes of the developed colorimetric sensor film were measured with chromametry and UV-vis spectroscopy, respectively. Experimental results show that colorimetric pH sensor film demonstrated statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) between CIE-L*a*b* coordinates color system indicated that the developed colorimetric sensor film was able to give a gradual change in color over a wide pH range. The color of the colorimetric sensor film also changes discretely and linearly with factors that contribute to food spoilage using shrimp and durian samples. Moreover, the developed colorimetric pH sensor film has the potential to be used as a safe, non-destructive testing and also a flexibly visual method for direct assessment of food freshness indicator during storage.