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Consumer Knowledge, Storage, and Handling Practices Regarding Listeria in Frankfurters and Deli Meats: Results of a Web-Based Survey

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Proper storage and handling of refrigerated ready-to-eat foods can help reduce the risk of listeriosis. A national Web-based survey was conducted to measure consumer awareness and knowledge of Listeria and to estimate the prevalence of the U.S. Department of Agriculture–recommended consumer storage and handling practices for frankfurters and deli meats. The demographic characteristics of consumers who are unaware of Listeria and who do not follow the recommended storage guidelines were also assessed. In addition, predictive models were developed to determine which consumers engage in risky storage practices. Less than half of the consumers surveyed were aware of Listeria, and most of those aware were unable to identify associated food vehicles. Awareness was lower among adults 60 years of age and older, an at-risk population for listeriosis, and individuals with relatively less education and lower incomes. Most households safely stored and prepared frankfurters. Most households stored unopened packages of vacuum-packed deli meats in the refrigerator within the U.S. Department of Agriculture–recommended storage guidelines (≤14 days); however, many stored opened packages of vacuumpacked deli meats and freshly sliced deli meats for longer than the recommended time (≥5 days). Men, more-educated individuals, and individuals living in metropolitan areas were more likely to engage in risky storage practices. This study identified the need to develop targeted educational initiatives on listeriosis prevention.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: RTI International, 3040 Cornwallis Road, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709 2: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, 920 Main Campus Drive, Suite 200, Raleigh, North Carolina 27606 3: North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695 4: Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824

Publication date: July 1, 2006

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