Health professionals play an important role in educating the public about food safety risks. However, the ways this important group of educators remains up-to-date on these topics are not well defined. In this study, a national sample of dietitians employed in direct teaching of patients (n
= 327) were recruited to complete a web-delivered survey designed to develop a model of factors that promote information processing and teaching in practice about food safety related to fresh vegetables. The resulting mental model demonstrates that dietitians teach fresh vegetable safety using systematic information processing to intellectually understand new information, but this is also associated with a gap in the dietitian’s knowledge of food safety. The juxtaposition of an information processing model with a behavioral model provides valuable new insights about how dietitians seek, acquire and translate/transfer important information to move patients toward a higher goal of food safety. The study also informs food safety educators as they formulate teaching strategies that are more effective than other approaches at promoting behavior change.
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