Knowledge, Perception, and Consumption of Food Additives among Female Lecturers in Zaria, Nigeria
Background: Food additives are being utilized for both small‑ and large‑scale food production but often find more applicability in mass food production. Food additive consumption over a long period could pose adverse health outcomes. The study determined knowledge, perception, and consumption of food additives among female lecturers in Zaria.
Methodology: It was a cross‑sectional study conducted among 180 full‑time female lecturers of the three tertiary institutions, selected through a multistage sampling technique. Data were collected using a pretested self‑administered questionnaire. The data were entered into IBM SPSS Statistics 20 and analyzed. Univariate analysis for categorical variables was done using simple proportions.
Results: A total of 167 female lecturers responded giving a response rate of 92.8%. Their mean age was 42.7 ± 8.2 years. Majority (109, 65.3%) had good knowledge of food additives, less than half (77, 46.3%) had a good perception of them, and the overall consumption rate for food additives was 97.1%. Majority (77.8%) felt that the risks associated with food additives must never be ignored, about half (47.3%) felt that foods consumed by Nigerians were now generally more harmful. However, only about one‑fifth felt that most fast foods do contain food additives (28.1%). Consumption rates were high for both natural and synthetic food additives (61.7%–92.2%), except for Ajinomoto and Vedan which were consumed by only 38 (22.8%).
Conclusion: Knowledge of food additives was good, but their perception was poor and consumption was high. Stakeholders must begin to organize and sustain periodic sensitization campaigns on risks associated with the consumption of food additives. Futures studies should identify the reasons for poor perception and high level of consumption despite good knowledge among the study population.
Keywords: Consumption, female lecturers, food additives, Zaria