Raw-egg based-foods consumption and food handling practices: a recipe for foodborne diseases among Romanian and Portuguese consumers

Octavian Augustin Mihalache, Paula Teixeira, Anca Ioana Nicolau*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Salmonellosis is the second most common zoonosis in humans after campylobacteriosis. Eggs and egg products are the foods most commonly associated with Salmonella outbreaks. Also, inadequate hygiene practices performed by consumers at home contribute to the prevalence of foodborne diseases. The elderly, children, and pregnant women are the most vulnerable individuals. Thus, the objective of this study was to analyse Romanian and Portuguese consumers' self-reported consumption of raw-egg based-foods, food and hand hygiene practices, and to check if vulnerable consumer groups mediate the relationship between consumption of raw-egg based-foods and hygiene practices since they have weak immune systems. Significant correlations were found between the number of foodborne events and the number of Romanian and Portuguese consumers who did not report proper raw-egg handling and hand hygiene practices. An ordinary regression model indicated an increased consumption frequency of raw-egg based-foods reported by Romanian and Portuguese men, consumers aged <55 years, and from the category of vulnerable consumers, families with pregnant women, and families with children thus exposing themselves to a higher risk of foodborne diseases when compared with Romanian and Portuguese women and consumers aged >55 years. Structural equation modelling (SEM) indicated that there is a negative link between consumption frequency of raw-egg based-foods and food and hand hygiene practices for both Romanian and Portuguese consumers. Vulnerable consumers mediate the relationship between consumption frequency and hygiene practices, suggesting that Romanian families with elderly members and families with children dampened the negative relationship between consumption of raw-egg based-foods and self-reported hygiene practices, the contrary being observed Portuguese families with children and families from both countries with pregnant women. Recommendations for multi-faceted approaches regarding educational campaigns are made in order to improve consumers’ knowledge and food handling practices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number109046
Number of pages10
JournalFood Control
Volume139
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022

Keywords

  • Foodborne disease
  • Hand hygiene
  • Raw-egg dish
  • Risky practice
  • Structural equation modelling
  • Vulnerable consumer

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