Accessibility and Trustworthiness of Food Safety Information ...

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Food safety has become a major public health concern in Ghana as the country faces numerous food safety risks. This requires effective communication to ensure access to relevant and accurate information for the protection of public health. The objective of this study was to examine the different sources and channels from which the public obtains food safety information and assess their level of trust in these sources and channels. Focus group discussion followed by a survey was conducted among the public in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. Findings showed that, in order of popularity, more than half of the respondents got food safety information from radio, television, Internet, regulatory agencies, social media, newspaper, and family and friends. Information sources such as ministries, scientists/researchers, doctors/health professionals, farmers, and traders were among the least utilized. In terms of trust, repeated measures analysis of variance showed the public had the highest level of trust in four information sources; namely, scientists/researchers, doctors/health professionals, television, and regulators, with the level of trust being statistically the same. The next most trusted information sources were radio, newspaper, and family and friends, which were statistically the same. The least trusted sources of food safety information were the farmer, political spokesperson, Internet, social media, supermarkets, and traders. Clearly, the most frequently used information sources and channels are not necessarily the most trusted. Findings imply that highly trusted information sources such as scientists/researchers, doctors/health professionals, and regulators must use highly popular channels such as radio, television, Internet, social media, and newspaper to deliver food safety information to the public. This will ensure wide availability and access to credible food safety information, which is most likely to inform safe food choices and practices.