Individual differences in domestic food handling practices

A.R.H. Fischer, L.J. Frewer, M.J. Nauta

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterProfessional


As consumers are the final link in the chain from production (farm) to consumption (fork), knowledge about domestic food handling practices is essential for microbial risk assessment, and the identification of potentials for risk mitigation by risk communication to consumers. A nationally representative survey was conducted in the Netherlands to determine which practices are likely to be conducted by what consumers. Participants reported behavior on 55 different food handling practices. The different food handling practices could all be mapped onto a single dimension, implying an underlying motivation to prepare safe food. The Rasch modeling technique was applied to determine the difficulty of each behavior and the likelihood of each consumer performing a particular behavior. Some potentially safe practices (e.g. use of meat thermometers) were found to be very difficult, while other safe practices were conducted more frequently (e.g. washing of fresh fruit and vegetables). Five segments of consumers were identified, of which highly educated younger single males were those who performed least safe, while low educated older women performed best. Practices likely to be conducted by elderly women, may thus not be likely to be conducted by young males. When experiments and modeling quantify the microbial impact of the different consumer behaviors, consumer groups can be targeted through application of graduated risk communication. In such risk communication this approach can give an estimate which practices might successfully be communicated as they are not too much beyond the current level of the targeted group, the approach can also show which information need not be communicated to whom, because that practice is already likely conducted correctly
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2005
EventSRA meeting 2005 -
Duration: 4 Dec 20057 Dec 2005


ConferenceSRA meeting 2005


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