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A Quantitative Analysis of Cross-Contamination of Salmonella and Campylobacter spp. Via Domestic Kitchen Surfaces

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Abstract:

Epidemiological data indicate that cross-contamination during food preparation in the home contributes noticeably to the occurrence of foodborne diseases. To help prevent such occurrences, the inclusion of a cross-contamination model in exposure assessments would aid in the development and evaluation of interventions used to control the spread of pathogenic bacteria. A quantitative analysis was carried out to estimate the probability of contamination and the levels of Salmonella and Campylobacter spp. on salads as a result of cross-contamination from contaminated chicken carcasses via kitchen surfaces. Data on the prevalence and numbers of these bacteria on retail chicken carcasses and the use of unwashed surfaces to prepare foods were collected from scientific literature. The rates of bacterial transfer were collected from laboratory experiments and literature. A deterministic approach and Monte Carlo simulations that incorporated input parameter distributions were used to estimate the contamination of the product. The results have shown that the probability of Campylobacter spp. contamination on salads is higher than that of Salmonella spp., since both the prevalence and levels of Campylobacter spp. on chicken carcasses are higher than those of Salmonella spp. It is realistic to expect that a fraction of the human exposure to Campylobacter spp., in particular, originates from cross-contamination in private kitchens during food handling. The number of human campylobacteriosis cases could be reduced either by reducing the degree of Campylobacter spp. contamination on chicken carcasses or by improving the hygiene in private kitchens. To eliminate the cross-contamination route, it is important to use separate surfaces or to properly wash the surfaces during the preparation of raw and cooked foods or ready-to-eat foods.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Laboratory of Food Microbiology, Department of Agrotechnology and Food Sciences, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8129, 6700 EV Wageningen, The Netherlands

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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