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Identification of critical points during domestic food preparation: an observational study


Purpose The International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene’s (IFH) approach to infectious disease prevention is “targeted hygiene”, which means identifying the routes of transmission of infection in the home and community, and targeting hygiene measures at “critical points” (CPs) to break the chain of transmission. This paper aims to identify and prioritise CPs in the home kitchen environment during food preparation in order to inform food safety campaigns. Design/methodology/approach This study involved: filming participants (n ¼ 60) while they prepared a meal according to a specified recipe (30 beef/salad burgers and 30 chicken salads); swabbing key potential contamination sites in the participant’s kitchen for microbiological testing; sampling the meat and salad components of the cooked meal for microbiological testing; visual inspection and temperature check of the meat after cooking; and administering a survey of knowledge, attitudes and demographic factors. Findings This study has identified the critical points (CPs) during domestic food preparation as: CP1: correct cooking practices; CP2: prevention of cross-contamination; and CP3: correct food storage practices. Statistically significant links were found between food safety knowledge and behaviour as well as between food safety attitudes and demographic factors. Originality/value This is the first study to link all aspects of observed consumer food safety practices in the home to food safety knowledge, attitudes, perceptions, psychosocial and demographic factors to identify these CPs.

Author: Kennedy J, Gibney S, Nolan A, O’Brien S, McMahon MAS, McDowell D, Fanning S, Wall PG

Citation: British Food Journal Vol. 113 No. 6, 2011 pp. 766-83.

Published: 01/01/2011

Publication Type: Journal article

Publisher: British Food Journal