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Microbiological Risk Factors Associated with the Domestic Handling of Meat

Institutions
Campden BRI
Start date
2000
End date
2003
Objective
This research project aims to provide information on the risk associated with preparing raw meat in the domestic kitchen.

It is estimated that 11&#37 of general outbreaks of food poisoning are associated with food prepared in the home for extended family or community events. Poultry and red meat are known carriers of food poisoning bacteria and are associated with a large proportion of these outbreaks.

While these bacteria will be killed if the meat is cooked properly, there is concern that some kitchen practices, such as washing poultry and other meats, actually increase the likelihood of people inadvertently contaminating kitchen sinks and preparation areas. Thereby increasing the risk of direct or indirect cross-contamination to other foods.

It is particularly important to avoid cross-contamination from raw meat to foods, such as salads, which will not be cooked.

This project is seeking to provide information about the risks associated with preparing raw meat in the domestic kitchen.

It will consider the effects of washing and soaking on the removal of micro-organisms from the surface of meat, the spread of contamination from meat washing practices, and the persistence of organisms that may have been spread by meat preparation practices.

Interviews with consumers will help establish the extent to which people currently wash meat and what variations are used such as the length of soak time, water temperature and water additives, such as salt or vinegar.

This research will help to inform future advice to the public.

More information
Discussions on meat handling practices will be held with groups of consumers across the UK and these practices will be quantified by a consumer survey.

Following on from the survey a kitchen study will be carried out in which consumers will prepare various recipes involving raw meats. Whilst preparing and cooking foods, their actions will observed and the spread of bacteria around the kitchen will be monitored after cooking by microbiological testing.

Further laboratory studies will then be taken undertaken to assess how bacteria survives on typical kitchen surfaces.

Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the Food Standards Agency Research webpage.

Funding Source
Food Standards Agency
Project number
B02016
Categories
Bacterial Pathogens
Prevention and Control
Commodities
Meat, Poultry, Game