Food safety in the domestic kitchen: Linking human and microbiological behaviour.

Project: PhD

Project Details


Foodborne illnesses have been known for centuries as a serious health risk. In the domestic environment, the kitchen is particularly important in the spread of foodborne diseases. This thesis investigates how food safety risks in the domestic environment are influenced by human and microbiological behaviour. Insight is gained into the perception of consumers and experts of food-related risks in the field of health, food safety and new technologies. How people perceive risks underlies their attitude, intention and risk behaviour. Consumer behaviour is both a core problem and a solution because the actions taken by the consumer can increase of reduce the chances of acquiring a foodborne infection. Therefore more insight on consumer behaviour will be provided by conducting a consumer survey among 2000 Dutch consumers. The most relevant risks associated with this behaviour are ranked by performing a risk assessment (risk = probability * severity). Two routes will be explored in more detail, namely cross-contamination of Campylobacter jejuni from poultry meat, and growth of Listeria monocytogenes in the consumer refrigerator, because consumer behaviour and microbial behaviour are expected to largely affect the food safety risk associated with these pathogens. Quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) is used to estimate and compare the impact of the transmission routes on public health (burden of disease). The QMRA will be performed for both the general population and vulnerable groups, such as the increasing population of elderly people, to evaluate whether more targeted communication strategies will reduce the disease burden. One communication intervention (implementation of a new hygiene warning label on poultry meat) will be examined in more detail to determine the effect of this intervention on the risk perception, knowledge, and behaviour of consumers. This holistic approach that covers the consumers’ and microbiological perspective towards food safety in the domestic kitchen can make consumer advice more effective and more impactful.
Effective start/end date1/03/21 → …


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