Structural modelling of food allergen knowledge, attitude and practices among consumers in Malaysia
Abstract The aim of this study was to assess food allergen knowledge, attitude and self-reported practices among consumers in Malaysia. An online survey was conducted and data were analysed using descriptive statistics and exploratory factor analysis. A model linking food allergen knowledge and attitude and their direct effects on practices were confirmed using structural equation modelling (SEM). Consumers demonstrated moderate food allergen knowledge in this study but scored highly in their attitude towards food allergens. Although participants scored moderately in food allergen knowledge, this does not necessarily translate into practices. There is a possibility that an increase in food allergen knowledge can increase optimistic bias or a sense of over-confidence to manage allergen risks. Consumers' attitude towards food allergens has a positive and significant influence on practices. A positive attitude represents personal beliefs and reflects the level of motivation and care required to manage food allergens effectively. There was insignificant relationship between food allergen knowledge and attitude. This demonstrates a need to tailor targeted risk communication and learning strategies to influence consumers' practices.