Traditionally, food safety knowledge has been seen as a factor in improving food safety behaviour. However, the relationship between knowledge and behavior is complex. The aim of the present study was to investigate self-reported data from 408 university students regarding food safety background, knowledge, attitudes, and behaviour using Structural Equation Model (SEM) to examine the influence of different factors on food safety behaviour. The SEM was applied to four factors derived from the data: Background, Knowledge, Attitude and Behaviour. The novelty of this current investigation is the inclusion of the Background factor (genus; experience of cooking and handling different food items; experience of a food safety education course; the foremost sources of food safety knowledge). The factors were constructed from variables with sufficient factor loadings and set up in a predetermined structure confirmed to be valid in previous studies. The results, demonstrated as regression coefficients between factors, confirm that the Background factor strongly influenced Knowledge (0.842). The Knowledge factor, in turn, strongly affected Attitude (0.605), while it did not directly affect Behaviour (0.301) in the same way as Attitude. Attitude had a stronger influence on Behaviour (0.438) than Knowledge. Thus, the Attitude factor seemed to play a mediating role between Knowledge and Behaviour. This indicates that students´ attitudes towards the importance of food safety may have an impact on their food safety behavior, which should have implications for the development of food safety education. This warrants further investigation and practical development.

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