Research – Survey of New Zealand poultry consumers handling of raw poultry and food safety awareness to provide insight into risk factors for campylobacteriosis

Journal of Food Protection

CDC Campy

New Zealand (NZ) has a high rate of reported campylobacteriosis cases. Cross-contamination in home kitchens during poultry handling is considered to be the main factor in campylobacteriosis transmission. The main aim of this study was to measure NZ consumers’ food safety awareness and self-reported food safety practices associated with handling raw poultry. This study will contribute to the existing knowledge to explain the reasons behind the increase of campylobacteriosis incidents. Findings can help inform future consumer education campaigns to help reduce the incidence of campylobacteriosis in NZ. A cross-sectional survey comprised of 31 multiple-choice questions was designed, piloted, and utilized to collect information about the last time consumers purchased and prepared raw poultry at home. A street-intercept survey in public places, such as supermarkets in the Canterbury region, was used to recruit respondents for this study. A descriptive and inferential data analysis was performed, including a one-way ANOVA test used to compare the mean scored responses between the respondents among different socio-demographics. Overall, 301 valid responses were obtained. Scores, representing reported safe food safety practices ranged between 2 and 19 (maximum 21) with a mean score of 9.83 (standard deviation 3.50 with a standard error of 0.20). There was some variation of correctly answered questions by the respondents for food hygiene (25%), cross-contamination prevention (55%), temperature control and storage practices (49%), and food safety (52%). Approximately 30% of the respondents reported symptoms of a foodborne disease experience once to four times during the past 12 months. The study identified low adherence to current recommended food safety practices, including safe food storage and temperature control. The findings can be used to inform a communication campaign regarding food safety needs to be designed urgently in NZ to reduce the rate of campylobacteriosis.

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