Quantification of Campylobacter jejuni Cross-Contamination via Hands, Cutlery, and Cutting Board during Preparation of a Chicken Fruit Salad

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Using artificially contaminated chicken, the quantitative overall effect of Campylobacter jejuni cross-contamination, either via cutlery, cutting board, or hands, on the microbiological quality of a chicken salad was tested to identify the most critical transfer route. The end contamination level of salads prepared according to different scenarios, with or without cross-contamination, was compared. It was shown that the mean transfer rate calculated for all salads prepared allowing cross-contamination was 0.12% of the initial number of C. jejuni on the chicken fillet (8.8 ± 0.2 log CFU). The difference in calculated transfer rates for the tested cross-contamination routes was not significantly different (P > 0.05). The prevention of cross-contamination by replacing cutlery and cutting board after handling raw chicken and the prevention of hand contact resulted in considerably reduced end contamination levels (<2.4 log CFU) or noncontaminated end products. The results of this study emphasize the importance of preventing cross-contamination during food handling in reducing the risks of foodborne infections, and they provide useful data for quantitative microbiological risk assessment.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory for Zoonoses and Environmental Microbiology, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, P.O. Box 1, 3720 BA, Bilthoven, The Netherlands 2: Laboratory for Food Microbiology, Wageningen University and Research Centre, P.O. Box 8129, 6700 EV, Wageningen, The Netherlands

Publication date: May 1, 2008

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