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Evaluation of the impact of a hygiene warning label on the packaging of poultry

Antonise-Kamp, Laura, Friesema, Ingrid H.M., van der Vossen-Wijmenga, Wieke P., Beaujean, Desirée J.M.A.
Food control 2018 v.92 pp. 86-91
Internet, adults, chickens, e-mail, food handling, foodborne illness, households, hygiene, males, packaging, poultry meat, questionnaires, raw meat, risk perception, surveys, Netherlands
Poultry meat is an important source of foodborne infections. Safe food-handling could lower the number of infections. Since 2001, a label containing safe food-handling instructions is required on the retail packages of raw poultry in the Netherlands. The aim was to determine the impact of this label on risk perception and food-handling behavior.A random sample of 1235 adults from a representative Internet panel received an e-mail linking to the study questionnaire. Information was gathered about knowledge of safe food-handling regarding poultry, their current food-handling behavior and intention to change after reading the label, and influencing factors.Median age of the 514 respondents was 51 years (18–87 years), and 53.9% was male. Seventy-nine respondents (15.4%) had never read the label. Respondents of households with person(s) aged 65 years or older, with safe food-handling practices, and who judge foodborne infections as severe were more prone to have read the label; respondents who find it a pity to throw away chicken after the expiration date were less likely to have read the label. After reading the label during the survey, the intention to change behavior did not differ between the readers and previous non-readers.A label is a relatively easy and reasonable way of informing and educating consumers about safe food-handling. The majority of the respondents had read the label on poultry meat and scored it as important, usefull and reassuring. Therefore, investigating the feasibility and possible benefits of a similar label on other meat products could be worthwile.