New (sort of) research: Using a Training Video to Improve Agricultural Workers’ Knowledge of On-Farm Food Safety

There’s no shortage of materials created by food safety education/communication/training folks in English. There’s less of it created for audiences that speak other languages – and most of it isn’t evaluated for efficacy.

In 2003, fellow MSc student Lisa Mathiasen led a project to develop and evaluate the effects of two training videos for fresh produce harvesters/packers – an English version and a culturally-approproate Spanish-language version. She enlisted of a couple of creative video dudes (Christian and Azaybio) to make the script and film – and got input from me and Katija Morley on how to evaluate it. The videos have been archived and can be found here.

In this month’s issue of the Journal of Extension, the evaluation of the videos, after a few years, have finally been published.

Looking back on the paper, which was a few years in the process, the methods we decided on weren’t the greatest but Lisa’s approach to the video production is still relevant – be compelling and surprising, work directly with the target audience and use stories. The results show some knowledge improvement – but we didn’t go far enough in assessing behavior change.

Using a Training Video to Improve Agricultural Workers’ Knowledge of On-Farm Food Safety


Journal of Extension

Mathaisen, L., Morley, K., Chapman, B and Powell, D.

A training video was produced and evaluated to assess its impact on the food safety knowledge of agricultural workers. Increasing food safety knowledge on the farm may help to improve the safety of fresh produce. Surveys were used to measure workers’ food safety knowledge before and after viewing the video. Focus groups were used to determine workers’ views of the video and identify areas that could be improved. Results indicated a high level of food safety knowledge, but some significant improvements were observed. The project provides a framework for assessing videos as training tools and suggestions for further research.


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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.