Ninja Kitchen to the rescue: Evaluation of a food safety education game for middle school youth

Virginia Quick, Kirsten W. Corda, Barbara Chamberlin, Donald W. Schaffner, Carol Byrd-Bredbenner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to assess the effect of Ninja Kitchen, a food safety educational video game, on middle school students' food safety knowledge, psychographic characteristics, and usual and intended behaviors. Design/methodology/approach: The experimental group (n=903) completed the following activities about one week apart from each other: pretest, played the game, posttest, and follow-up test. The control group (n=365) completed the same activities at similar intervals but did not have access to the game until after the follow-up test. Findings: Linear mixed-effects models, controlling for gender, grade, and geographic location revealed significant time by group effects for knowledge of safe cooking temperatures for animal proteins and danger zone hazard prevention, and usual produce washing behaviors. Pairwise comparisons, adjusted for multiple comparisons, indicated that after playing the game, the experimental group felt more susceptible to foodborne illness, had stronger attitudes toward the importance of handling food safely and handwashing, had greater confidence in their ability to practice safe food handling, and had greater intentions to practice handwashing and safe food handling. Teachers and students found the game highly acceptable. Originality/value: The game has the potential to promote positive food safety behaviors among youth, in a fun and educational format.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)686-699
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Food Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)


  • Attitudes
  • Cooking
  • Food safety
  • Hygiene
  • Individual behaviour
  • Intentions
  • Kitchen
  • Middle schools
  • Self-efficacy
  • Serious games
  • Video games


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