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ATHENS, Ga. -- University of Georgia researchers have found that Facebook can be used to teach college students about food safety.

UGA Professor Judy Harrison worked with Grady Health Systems registered dietician, and UGA alumnus Ashley Bramlett Mayer to conduct a study on the effectiveness of social media in education audiences about keeping foods safe.

According to UGA, the study evaluated over 700studentsthat were divided into three groups:those enrolledina traditional classroom lecture, those who only accessed the Facebook "Safe Eats" Facebook page, and students wholearnedthrougha classroom lectureand Facebook combination. 96.8% of the surveyed students had a Facebook profile.

Researchers said they found that students who spent more than fifteen minutes per week on the Facebook page watching videos and taking part in discussions showed a greater attitude towards food safety in their handling practices that the other groups of students.

"Many of these college students are cooking for themselves for the first time and need to learn safe food handling practices to reduce their risk of food poisoning or food-borne illness," Harrison said.

She believes the use of social media may keep young adults engaged in further health and safety issues.

Meyer said, "Facebook affords food safety educators an attractive means for communicating food safety messages to young adults, and social media may provide an inexpensive and effective method of reaching widespread audiences with public health messages."

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