A Video Study of Australian Domestic Food-Handling Practices
Abstract:Poor food-handling and hygiene practices in domestic kitchens are thought to be the cause of a significant amount of foodborne illness. Food-handling practices were studied by video observation in 40 home kitchens in Melbourne, Australia. Participant households included those of single people, couples, and families from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds. The kitchens were continuously video monitored for 1 or 2 weeks during 1997 and 1998. Infrequent hand washing; poor hand-washing technique; lack of hand washing prior to food preparation; inadequate cleaning of kitchen surfaces; involvement of pets in the kitchen; touching of the face, mouth, nose, and/or hair during food preparation; and lack of separate hand and dish towels were the most common unhygienic practices observed. Prior to video surveillance, participant households answered a food-safety questionnaire that related to preparation and handling of food. These answers were contrasted with the actual practices observed in each household. There was a significant variance between stated (answers provided in response to the questionnaire) and observed (via video monitoring) food-handling and hygiene practices. The results of this study raise concerns about consumer food-handling and hygiene practices in Australian domestic kitchens. A continuous and increased effort in the education of the public in the area of hygienic food preparation is indicated.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Microtech Laboratories Pty Ltd., 20 King Street, Blackburn 3130, Australia
Publication date: November 1, 1999
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