FDSN Seminar Series: ‘Human Factor in Food Safety Research: Decode the Decision-Making in Food Handling’

Betty Feng headshotThe Department of Food Science and Nutrition presents its spring 2024 seminar series featuring guest speaker Betty Feng, associate professor and extension specialist at Purdue University, who will give a presentation on “Human Factor in Food Safety Research: Decode the Decision-Making in Food Handling.” This seminar will take place on Thursday, April 4, from 12:45–1:45 p.m. in room 111 of the Pritzker Science Center.


Why do people not follow the food safety that they were told to? How can we help change their behaviors in food handling? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year, foodborne diseases cause illness in one in six Americans. The estimated annual cost of foodborne illness in the United States is between $51.0 billion to $77.7 billion. From farm to fork, human handling and food safety management compliance have been implicated in foodborne illness cases. Purdue Food Safety Human Factor Lab develops research and extension programs to gain a deeper understanding of how human factor impact food safety and to identify strategies to change food handlers’ perceptions and behaviors in the food supply chain.  In this seminar, Betty will show examples of how her group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies and programs from farm to fork; and how they investigate behaviors and create interventions aimed at the gatekeepers of safe food, consumers, farmers, and organizational decision-makers.


Betty Feng is an associate professor and extension specialist at Purdue University. She is striving to reduce foodborne illness cases and enhance food safety by effective risk assessment, messaging, and communication. Feng’s research program explores cultural, social, and environmental factors that affect food safety behaviors using a socioecological approach. The goal of the research program is to identify barriers to understanding food safety issues and evaluate strategies that empower stakeholders to make science-based decisions. By using both qualitative and quantitative research methods and working with farmers, food workers, and consumers, Feng’s work can increase the knowledge of different sectors of the food supply chain, from consumers, food processors, retailers to the policymakers.