This research project will provide data on exposure assessment that can be used to identify optimum food handling strategies.
There will be three phases to this project.
<p>Phase 1: Raw products<ul>
<li>Determine the extent of contamination of raw chicken and associated packaging obtained from supermarkets and butchers' shops
<li>Enumeration of micro-organisms on the surface of chicken and the number transferred to hand contact surfaces within the kitchen for quantitative risk assessment </li></ul>
<p>Phase 2: Consumer and catering establishment meal preparation<ul>
<li>Recruitment of consumers to prepare chicken meals (stir-fry and BBQs); visits to catering establishments when preparing chicken meals to observe adequacy of cooking
<li>Observations of practices used during meal preparation
<li>Determine the extent of contamination of surfaces with pathogens
<li>Determine the extent of contamination of raw, cooked and ready-to-eat foods</li></ul>
<p>Phase 3: Exposure assessment
<li>Development of mathematical modelling techniques:
<li> Modelling contamination events using event trees
<li>Development of a predictive dose model using probabilistic modelling.</li></ul>
Poultry has been implicated as a major source of potential pathogens such as campylobacter and salmonella.
Thus poultry should always be cooked adequately and handled appropriately to minimise cross contamination. <p>Strategies to reduce food poisoning need to be developed based upon risk assessment.
Risk assessment is concerned with determining the risk associated with a hazard and can be based on either quantitative (numerical) or qualitative (values such as high, medium or low) data.
<p>Exposure assessment forms part of the risk assessment approach and requires information on how much of the pathogen is present in the raw food, circumstances under which the food is prepared and consumption patterns (e.g. portion size).
Exposure assessment estimates how likely it is that an individual or a population will be exposed to a hazard and what level of the pathogen is likely to be ingested.
<p>The credibility of this type of microbial risk assessment is based upon its ability to take into account the variability and uncertainty of each parameter implied in the estimation of final risk.
One of the greatest areas of variability and uncertainty relates to exposure assessment and varying hygiene practices in food service establishments and the home.
<p>The aim of this project was to provide data on exposure assessment that can be used to identify optimum food handling strategies.
<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="http://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/" target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.