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Deteminants of cross-contamination during home food preparation

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Purpose ‐ This paper aims to determine the potential for the spread of bacteria from raw meat and poultry during home food preparation to the surrounding kitchen environment, hands and prepared food due to unsafe handling practices, which are predicted by consumers' knowledge, behaviour and attitudes. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The potential for transfer of E.coli and C. jejuni was monitored in a simulated domestic kitchen environment while food preparation was filmed (n=60 respondents). A survey was also administered. Findings ‐ The results of the study show that transfer of bacteria around the kitchen environment and onto prepared meals are predicted by a lack of thoroughly washing contaminated hands, knives and chopping boards both during and after meal preparation. A higher level of perceived importance of correct food handling behaviour is associated with higher levels of educational attainment and age and food risk perceptions are positively associated with age. Practical implications ‐ The results highlight the importance of promoting preventative measures and the means of employing them specifically to the young and less educated public who do not frequently cook and prepare food. Originality/value ‐ This paper is the first to include a verifiable audit of consumer food safety behaviour, microbiological sampling of surfaces, food and hands as well as a consumer survey of knowledge, behaviour and attitudes.
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Keywords: Consumers; Contamination; Food safety; Individual behaviour

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-02-15

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