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Operational Practices Associated with Foodborne Disease Outbreaks in the Catering Industry in England and Wales

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Catering businesses continue to be the most common setting for foodborne disease outbreaks. In a study of catering businesses in England and Wales, operational practices relating to the supply, preparation, and service of food in 88 businesses associated with outbreaks were compared with those practices at 88 control businesses. Operational practices did not differ significantly between case and control businesses but larger small medium-size enterprise (SME) businesses were more likely to be associated with foodborne disease outbreaks than were micro-SME businesses. Businesses associated with outbreaks of Salmonella infection were less likely to use local or national suppliers but instead used regional suppliers, especially for eggs. This practice was the only significantly independent operational practice associated with outbreaks of Salmonella infection. Regional egg suppliers also were more likely to be used by businesses associated with outbreaks attributed to food vehicles containing eggs. Businesses associated with egg-associated outbreaks were less likely to use eggs produced under an approved quality assurance scheme, suggesting that the underlying risk associated with using regional suppliers may relate to the use of contaminated eggs.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Centre for Health Science Research, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Neuadd Meirionnydd, Heath Park, Cardiff, Wales CF14 4YS, UK 2: Department of Health Sciences and Epidemiology, University of Manchester, Clinical Sciences Building, Hope Hospital, Salford, England M6 8HD, UK

Publication date: August 1, 2008

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