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  1. Science & Research (Food)

Social and Behavioral Science Research (Food)

Social and behavioral scientists in FDA’s human foods program research perceptions and behaviors related to a range of topics, including food safety, nutrition, food labeling, food additives, food adverse events and recalls, biotechnology, dietary supplements, infant formula, and other food-related areas. The information gleaned from their studies helps FDA understand how consumers and other stakeholders perceive and react to food safety risks, health and nutrition related information, and FDA advice to consumers and industry. This type of information is important because improving food safety practices or the dietary choices consumers make involves expanding knowledge and changing attitudes and behavior. It also helps FDA better target its resources and increase the effectiveness of its educational materials and regulatory programs.

FDA’s multidisciplinary team of researchers hold graduate degrees in a variety of fields, including psychology, sociology, agricultural economics, nutritional sciences, public health, and public policy. To accomplish their work, they utilize a variety of well-established qualitative and quantitative research methods, including national probability surveys, experimental studies, focus groups, in-depth interviews, and social media listening. The specific method or methods they use may vary depending on the nature of the research question they are attempting to answer.

To learn about the findings of their work, please see the variety of topics presented in these pages.

Food Safety and Nutrition Survey

The Food Safety and Nutrition Survey (FSANS) is designed to assess consumers’ awareness, knowledge, understanding and reported behaviors relating to a variety of food safety and nutrition related topics. The survey combines previous topics from the Food Safety Survey and Health and Diet Survey. The findings are designed to help the FDA make better informed regulatory, policy, education and other risk-management decisions to promote and protect public health.

Food Safety Surveys

The Food Safety Survey (FSS) is a nationally representative survey of consumers’ self-reported behaviors, knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about food safety. The questionnaires are designed to measure trends in consumer food safety practices, such as hand and cutting board washing; preparing and consuming risky foods; and using food thermometers. Survey results help inform FDA’s efforts aimed at improving consumer food safety behaviors.

Health and Diet Surveys

The Health and Diet Survey (HDS) is a nationally representative survey of consumers' self-reported awareness, attitudes and practices related to health and diet issues. The questionnaires are designed to measure trends in consumer diet and health practices, such as awareness of the relationship between diet and disease; dietary management practices; and use of the nutrition facts label. Survey results help inform FDA's efforts aimed at improving consumer diet and nutrition-related knowledge and behaviors.

Other Surveys and Research

Related Programs

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