Risk perception of food safety and behavioral intentions to read food safety labels

Date
2014-01-01
Authors
Miao, Weiwei
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Suman Lee
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Altmetrics
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Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication
Abstract

Food safety incidents occur frequently in China. Chinese people's health is at risk due to the variety of Chinese food safety problems. The Chinese government has enacted many programs and policies to address this issue. The purpose of this study was to understand how Chinese college students perceive these food safety risks and what motivates them to take preventative measures toward reducing their risk. To better understand Chinese college students' perception and their behavioral intention related to food safety, this study tested the relationships between threat appraisal (severity and vulnerability) of food safety and behavioral intention to read food-safety labels and buy food with food safety labels, coping appraisal (response efficacy and self-efficacy) and behavioral intention to read food-safety labels and buy food with food safety labels in Protection Motivation Theory. Chinese students in a large Midwestern university were recruited via an email invitation to take an online survey asking about their perception of food safety in China and their intentions to read food-safety labels and buy food with food safety labels. Data were analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) 22.0. Positive relationships were detected between severity, vulnerability, response efficacy, self-efficacy and behavioral intention. Severity was the strongest factor (β= .365, p< .01) that influenced behavioral intention in this study after controlling for knowledge and mass media dependence. These outcomes suggested that Chinese college students' intentions to read food-safety labels and buy food with food safety labels were increasing as their perception about food safety went up. Meanwhile, they were more likely to follow the recommendations to read food-safety labels and buy food with food safety labels when severity of food safety was stressed.

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