Handling and Storage Practices for Frankfurters, Deli Meats, and Deli Salads: Results of a Consumer Survey
Cates, S. C., Morales, R. A., Karns, S. A., Cowen, P., Jaykus, L. A., Teneyck, T., ... Yang, H. (2004, August). Handling and Storage Practices for Frankfurters, Deli Meats, and Deli Salads: Results of a Consumer Survey. Presented at International Association for Food Protection Annual Meeting, Phoenix, AZ.
Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) can cause listeriosis, an uncommon but potentially fatal disease. A quantitative assessment of the relative risk to public health from foodborne Lm among selected categories of ready-to-eat (RTE) foods showed that keeping refrigerated foods at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower and using perishable precooked or RTE foods as soon as possible can reduce the risk of illness from Lm by more than 50àThus, proper handling and storage of RTE foods by consumers can reduce the risk of listeriosis. To characterize consumers knowledge of Lm and their handling and storage practices for frankfurters, deli meats, and deli salads, a survey was conducted of 1,212 US adults randomly selected from a nationally representative Web-enabled panel. The survey findings suggest that consumers are not very knowledgeable about Lm. Less than half of consumers reported awareness of Lm (whereas more than 90 f consumers are aware of the pathogens E. coli and Salmonella) and nearly 40X:p> of those who had heard of Lm were unable to identify implicated food vehicles. Most consumers safely store frankfurters and deli salads; however, some consumers exhibit risky storage practices for deli meats—-34 tore freshly sliced deli meats and 42 tore opened packages of vacuum packed deli meats longer than recommended. Analysis is currently being conducted to identify the characteristics and attitudes of consumers who engage in high-risk practices. The findings from this research will be used to develop risk communication materials targeted to these consumers.