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Cross-Contamination During Food Preparation: A Mechanistic Model Applied to Chicken-Borne Campylobacter

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We develop a model for bacterial cross-contamination during food preparation in the domestic kitchen and apply this to the case of Campylobacter-contaminated chicken breast. Building blocks of the model are the routines performed during food preparation, with their associated probabilities of bacterial transfer between food items and kitchen utensils. The model is used in a quantitative microbiological risk assessment (QMRA) of Campylobacter in the Netherlands. Using parameter values from the literature and performing elementary sensitivity analyses, we show that cross-contamination can contribute significantly to the risk of Campylobacter infection and find that cleaning frequency of kitchen utensils and thoroughness of rinsing of raw food items after preparation has more impact on cross-contamination than previously emphasized. Furthermore, we argue that especially more behavioral data on hygiene during food preparation is needed for a comprehensive Campylobacter risk assessment.

Keywords: Campylobacter; QMRA; cross-contamination; food-borne pathogens; microbial risk; model; quantitative microbiological risk assessment

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment), Laboratory for Zoonoses and Environmental Microbiology, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.

Publication date: August 1, 2007


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