Date of Award

Summer 2020

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Food and Nutrition Sciences

Advisor

Jennifer J. Perry

Second Committee Member

Jason Bolton

Third Committee Member

Kathleen Savoie

Abstract

Home canning has been used as a method of food preservation for hundreds of years. The United States has a regulatory agency known as the National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP), which gives guidelines on canning safely to decrease the risk of foodborne illness. The NCHFP provides tips for fruit jams and jellies; however, savory jam is rising in popularity. Savory jam includes jams with a savory main ingredient, such as tomatoes, bacon, onion, or chili peppers. There are currently no guidelines for safe preparation of savory jams. Research is needed to see if recipes for savory jam are safe, particularly in the YouTube space, as the quality of food safety messaging on this platform has not been investigated. YouTube allows creators with a variety of expertise levels in food and safety to upload recipes for home canners. Analysis of safety messages in these cooking videos will help determine the level of risk associated with this emerging platform. Additionally, a survey was conducted to assess whether home canners are following the same "safe" and "unsafe" practices observed in YouTube videos. Finally, home canners followed a YouTube video to prepare jam. The jam then underwent physical, chemical, and microbial analysis to assess its suitability for safe water bath canning. ii In the evaluation of YouTube savory jam recipe videos we found that the expertise level of the content creator significantly impacted the quality and prevalence of food safety messages. Amateur creators received lower scores than those of expert level creators. Recipes for canned jams (as opposed to those stored under refrigeration) demonstrated a higher percentage of correct guidance, however, these videos still failed to include all the necessary information for safe canning. This analysis demonstrated that there is continued research and education needed for both producers and consumers of such content to keep home canners safe. When savory jam was made according to the instructions of amateur level videos found on YouTube, pH was the only factor analyzed for which all samples met the current recommendation for fruit-based jams of 4.6 and below. Both Brix and water activity had values below recommended levels which created a product that is potentially unsuitable for water bath canning. Using this method of processing for such a recipe could contribute to increased risk of illness and spoilage. When home canner habits were surveyed it revealed that older participants in the survey were more likely to follow safe standard procedures for canning. However, this is concerning for newer home canners that are of younger age who are less likely to follow these procedures to keep them safe. As newer forms of recipe sourcing rise, and recipes we’ve never seen before become trending, this interaction of food and safety needs to be further explored to ensure safety at home. The responsibility to create safe content and affect dissemination of information lies on the governing bodies, the content creator, and the viewer to consider these safety considerations when using new media forms.

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