A model of hygiene practices and consumption patterns in the consumer phase.Risk Anal. 2005 Feb; 25(1):49-60.RA
A mathematical model is presented, which addresses individual hygiene practices during food preparation and consumption patterns in private homes. Further, the model links food preparers and consumers based on their relationship to household types. For different age and gender groups, the model estimates (i) the probability of ingesting a meal where precautions have not been taken to avoid the transfer of microorganisms from raw food to final meal (a risk meal), exemplified by the event that the cutting board was not washed during food preparation, and (ii) the probability of ingesting a risk meal in a private home, where chicken was the prepared food item (a chicken risk meal). Chicken was included in the model, as chickens are believed to be the major source of human exposure to the foodborne pathogen Campylobacter. Monte Carlo simulations showed that the probability of ingesting a risk meal was highest for young males (aged 18-29 years) and lowest for the elderly above 60 years of age. Children aged 0-4 years had a higher probability of ingesting a risk meal than children aged 5-17 years. This difference between age and gender groups was ascribed to the variations in the hygiene levels of food preparers. By including the probability of ingesting a chicken meal at home, simulations revealed that all age groups, except the group above 60 years of age, had approximately the same probability of ingesting a chicken risk meal, the probability of females being slightly higher than that of males. The simulated results show that the probability of ingesting a chicken risk meal at home does not only depend on the hygiene practices of the persons preparing the food, but also on the consumption patterns of consumers, and the relationship between people preparing and ingesting food. This finding supports the need of including information on consumer behavior and preparation hygiene in the consumer phase of exposure assessments.