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Food Consumer Behavior and Salmonella Exposure Self‐Perception in the Central Region of Mexico

Godínez‐Oviedo, Angélica, Sampedro Parra, Fernando, Machuca Vergara, Jessica J., Gutiérrez González, Porfirio, Hernández Iturriaga, Montserrat
Journal of food science 2019 v.84 no.10 pp. 2907-2915
Salmonella, consumer behavior, cutting boards, dairy products, eating habits, educational status, exposure assessment, food contamination, food groups, food handling, food storage, fruits, gastrointestinal diseases, government agencies, hands, men, processed meat, public health, raw meat, refrigeration, salmonellosis, seafoods, self-perception, surveys, vegetables, washing, Mexico
In Mexico, there is limited information regarding food consumer behaviors at home. The knowledge of food consumption and food handling practices can help to determine more realistically the exposure to different hazards, such as Salmonella spp. on the population. The main goal of this study was to characterize the food consumption habits of five food groups (fruits and vegetables, fresh meat, dairy products, processed meat products, and seafood), food handling practices, and Salmonella exposure self‐perception of the population of the central region of Mexico using an online survey. A total of 1,199 surveys were analyzed. The group of fruits and vegetables is the most consumed and one of the most related to the consumer self‐perception of suffering from salmonellosis. Mexican consumers regularly use refrigeration as the principal food storage method for the five food groups (42.2% to 90.8%), and generally, they store the products between 2 and 3 days (26.5% to 38.1%). A total of 86.4% of consumers reported that they always wash their hands prior to food preparation. A total of 16.9% and 13.0% use the same cutting board and knife, respectively, to cut more than one product without applying sanitization. Men, people between 20 and 24 years, and people between 60 and 64 years, had the highest risk food handling practices at home. Finally, age (P < 0.0001), education level (P = 0.0004), and suffering from gastrointestinal diseases (P = 0.0005) showed significant effects with self‐perception of having salmonellosis. PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Data presented in this study could be used in future risk and exposure assessment research to evaluate the public health risk from the consumption of contaminated food. In addition, it could be used by government agencies to design education campaigns in food safety area.