Background and Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore the food safety knowledge and behavior of housewives in the city of Tehran, Iran in 2015.
Materials and Methods: In this qualitative study 12 Focus Group Discussions by directed content analysis method (n= 96), were conducted among the women who were responsible for food handling in their households in 10 health centers. Each session was held with 7-10 participants, and their voices were recorded. The final transcripts were read to obtain categories until developing themes by using constant comparison method.
Results: Three categories in nine themes were emerged as follows: 1) Personal hygiene and poisoning (Washing hands as priority in personal hygiene); 2) Food safety, preparation and storage (Inadequate knowledge about proper time for boiling raw milk, Lack of awareness about temperature of refrigerator, Incorrect storage of food in the refrigerator, Storage of unwashed and unpacked eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator, Thawing frozen raw meat and chicken at room temperature, Incorrect separation and sanitization of cutting boards for fresh vegetables, raw meat, chicken, and Inappropriate washing of fresh leafy vegetables; and 3) Safety of cooked foods (Improper reheating of leftover foods).
Conclusions: The findings of this study illustrated that there was lack of knowledge about food safety. It was evident that the majority of the participants were not familiar with appropriate practices to prevent cross-contamination and food handling. Therefore, home food safety education should be conducted for housewives.
Keywords: Food safety, Women, Knowledge, Qualitative study, Focus group discussions, Iran