Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify thermometer usage behaviors through different means of data collection.
Methods: A food safety lesson on minimum internal temperature and correct thermometer usage was taught in high school family and consumer sciences classes before Thanksgiving break. As homework students inputted data into a web-based form on thermometer usage and endpoint temperatures. Students were asked for picture evidence of the turkey. If a photo was not provided, they were asked how they knew it was done. Results were coded, interpreted, and compared to a broader population from the International Food Information Council’s (IFIC) 2016 Food and Health Survey.
Results: Forty-five of 57 (79%) of respondents used a thermometer for their turkey. Four types of thermometers were used: dial (n=21), pop-up (n=13), digital (n=11), liquid (n=1), and some were undetermined (n=2.) Of respondents, 31% (n=18) had a minimal internal temperature of 165°F, 7% (n=4) were below 165°F, 21% (n=12) between 165 to 180°F, and 21% (n=12) were undetermined. Respondents provided pictures to show different thermometer placements for measuring, where 30% (n=17) placed it in the breast, 21% (n=12) in the thigh, and 5% (n=3) were undetermined.
Significance: There is a high usage of thermometers compared to IFIC’s data on use. The data suggests the viability of citizen science in classrooms as an intervention method and a way to collect data, effectively, using pictures by providing interactions for participants with food safety information and using a primary source of information rather than self-reported data, respectively.