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Shell Egg Handling and Preparation Practices in Food Service Establishments in Finland

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Foodborne outbreaks are often reported to be acquired at food service establishments. As a part of a quantitative risk assessment on the consumer risk of contracting Salmonella infection via shell eggs, we studied how small, medium, and large restaurants, institutional kitchens, and staff canteens (n = 171) purchase, store, and use shell eggs. In addition, we estimated the fraction of raw and undercooked risky egg dishes among all egg dishes served in food service establishments of different sizes and types. The majority of establishments used shell eggs (78%), purchased eggs once per week (39%), and stored eggs at cool temperatures (82%). The size of the food service establishment had a less significant effect on shell egg preparation and handling practices than the type of the establishment. In particular, restaurants and institutional kitchens differed from each other. Restaurants purchased shell eggs more frequently, were more likely to store them at room temperature, stored shell eggs for a shorter period, and were more likely to prepare undercooked egg dishes than institutional kitchens. It was predicted that 6 to 20% of all different egg dishes prepared in a single randomly chosen food service establishment would be risky egg dishes with a 95% Bayesian credible interval of 0 to 96%, showing uncertainty because of the variability between kitchens and uncertainty in kitchen type–specific parameters. The results indicate that although most Finnish food service establishments had safe egg handling practices, a substantial minority expressed risky behavior. Compared with the egg consumption patterns in private Finnish households, however, practices in food service establishments did not prove to be more prone to risk.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Risk Assessment Unit, Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira, Mustialankatu 3, FI-00790 Helsinki, Finland 2: Risk Assessment Unit, Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira, Mustialankatu 3, FI-00790 Helsinki, Finland;, Tel: +358-9-02077 24024, Fax: +358-9-02077 25025, Email: 3: Risk Assessment Unit and Department of Food and Veterinary Control, Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira, Mustialankatu 3, FI-00790 Helsinki, Finland

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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