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Consumer practices and prevalence of Campylobacter, Salmonella and norovirus in kitchens from six European countries

About 40% of foodborne infections are acquired in the home. The aim of the present study was to trackcontamination of pathogens during domestic food preparation and link the contamination to preparation practices. Research participants from 87 households in six European countries were observed and interviewed during shopping and preparation of a chicken and vegetable meal. The presence of Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp.and norovirus on raw chicken, kitchen surfaces, cloths and sponges was determined.The prevalence of Campylobacter on raw chicken varied from 8.3% in Norway (NO) to 80% in France (FR) andPortugal (PT), with a mean prevalence of 57%. Campylobacter was found on half of the products that had beenfrozen and appeared to be less prevalent on chicken from supermarkets than other sources. Salmonella was foundin 8.6% of raw chicken samples, exclusively from Hungary (HU).A relationship between observed practices and spread of pathogens to kitchen surfaces was found only for theuse of cutting boards for chicken and/or vegetables. After food preparation, Campylobacter and Salmonella wereisolated from 23% (samples derived from HU, RO, UK) and 8.7% (HU), respectively of cutting boards. Researchparticipants in France and Portugal were more likely to buy products that fitted their recipe, with less need forusing cutting boards. Using the same board and knife for vegetables after using it for chicken and withoutwashing with detergent was common in Portugal and Romania, but not in the other countries. Contaminationwith Campylobacter to other kitchen surfaces or washing utensils were found in five households (UK, RO, PT).Rinsing chicken in sinks was common in three countries (PT, HU, RO), and washing vegetables in the same sinkwas also usual. Prevalence of Norovirus was low, with detection in one out of 451 samples. The participants’awareness of the risk posed by pathogens from raw chicken differed among the six countries, with higherawareness in Norway and the UK than the other countries studied.In conclusion, practices intended to avoid cross-contamination from chicken to kitchen surfaces and washingutensils are not established among consumers in all European countries. Nevertheless, cross-contaminationevents that disseminate infectious doses of pathogens seems to be rare, probably due to the relatively lowlevels of pathogens in food combined with food preferences. Food safety interventions must consider the nationalfood culture, preferences, practices and the prevalence and levels of pathogens in food. Emphasis should be on providing and promoting chicken products with lower risk (prevalence of pathogens, ready-to-cook) and safe use of cutting boards.
 
Møretrø T, Nguyen-The C, Didier P, Maître I, Izsó T, Kasza G, Skuland SE, Cardoso MJ, Ferreira VB, Teixeira P, Borda D. Consumer&;s practices and prevalence of Campylobacter, Salmonella and norovirus in kitchens from six European countries. International Journal of Food Microbiology. 2021 Mar 26:109172.

Author: Møretrø T, Nguyen-The C, Didier P, Maître I, Izsó T, Kasza G, Skuland SE, Cardoso MJ, Ferreira VB, Teixeira P, Borda D

Published: 13/04/2021

Publication Type: Journal article