Consumer Poultry Handling Behavior in the Grocery Store and In-Home Storage
Considerable work on consumers' food safety habits has highlighted issues associated with home food preparation. However, consumer handling of foods, such as poultry, during shopping and storage has not been noted. The objective of this study was to determine consumer behaviors during purchasing and initial storage of raw poultry to determine potential crosscontamination issues. A shop-along observational study was conducted to determine actual shopping, transportation, and storage behavior of consumers who purchase raw poultry products. Neither hand sanitizer nor wipes were observed in 71% of grocery store meat sections of stores visited. Plastic bags could be found in the meat section 85% of the time, but only 25% of shoppers used the bag for their raw poultry purchases. During checkout, the poultry was bagged separately from other products 71% of the time. A majority of shoppers stored raw poultry in the original package without an additional container or overwrap. Overall, there needs to be an increase in food safety education on the handling of poultry during purchasing, transportation, and storage.