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The media is filled with stories that include the phrase “young adults are engaging in risky behaviors,” and they usually involve sex and/or drugs.

But not the newest edition of Food, Nutrition & Science from The Lempert Report, which contains the following sentence: “Young adults are engaging in risky behaviors like eating raw or undercooked foods of animal origin…”

But this is no joking matter. FNS reports that a recent study by the American Dietetic Association suggests that while “young adults are often overlooked as a population to be concerned with because they are typically not considered to be at risk for foodborne illness,” the strong belief is that “symptoms of foodborne illness are often mistaken for flu symptoms. In conducting this survey, researchers found that young adults aged 18 to 29 – and with education beyond high school – are in fact more likely to engage in risky eating behaviors than individuals in other groups.”

And, there is more alarming news: “Of the 4,548 students surveyed, 53% consumed raw, homemade cookie dough, 33% consumed fried eggs with runny or soft yolks, 29% consumed sushi, 29% consumed raw sprouts, 11% consumed raw oysters, clams or mussels, and 7% consumed raw hamburger. Men ate significantly more risky foods than women. White participants engaged in significantly more risky eating behaviors than non-white participants.

“Interestingly, the majority of young adults surveyed had little exposure to food safety education. Sixty percent of them had never held a job serving food; 76% had never held a job preparing food. Seventy-seven percent had never completed a course in nutrition, and 88% had never completed a course in food science.”

The new edition of FWS has some suggestions for how best to address this situation, along with numerous other science-related food industry stories…including an update on the tomato/salmonella situation.

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