Physicians as food-safety educators: a practices and perceptions survey.Clin Infect Dis. 2004 Apr 15; 38 Suppl 3:S212-8.CI
An estimated 4 million bacterial foodborne illnesses occur in the United States annually. Many of these illnesses can be prevented by educating the public about food-safety practices. We investigated both the role of physicians as food-safety educators and the barriers to providing food-safety information. Participants were randomly selected physicians (n=3117) practicing within the surveillance area of the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network; 1100 were included in the study. Although only 331 (30%) of 1110 respondents provided food-safety information to their patients, 524 (68%) of 769 who did not provide information expressed interest in doing so. Physicians were more likely to provide food-safety information to patients if they perceived foodborne disease to be a serious problem, perceived food-safety education as their role, felt that patients perceived them as a valuable resource for food-safety advice, or felt comfortable making food-safety recommendations. A national physician education campaign that addresses barriers in food-safety education could improve food-safety education by physicians.