Cross-contamination events of Campylobacter spp. in domestic kitchens associated with consumer handling practices of raw poultry.Int J Food Microbiol. 2021 Jan 02; 338:108984.IJ
Contaminated poultry is the major vehicle for consumer's exposure to Campylobacter. This study aimed to perceive potential cross-contamination events during preparation of raw poultry that can contribute to the spread of Campylobacter spp. in domestic kitchen environments and to understand consumers' meanings and justifications on preparation of a poultry dish at home. A total of 18 households were visited to observe consumers preparing a recipe that included poultry. Poultry samples and swabs from the kitchen surfaces and utensils, such as kitchen cloth, hand towel, sponge, cutting boards and the sink, were collected before and after food preparation and tested for the presence of Campylobacter spp. Genotypic characterization of 72 Campylobacter spp. isolates was carried out through Pulse-Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE). Fourteen chicken samples were contaminated with Campylobacter spp. (77.8%). Twelve consumers (66.6%) washed the chicken meat under running tap water and eight (44.4%) used cutting boards. Also, only five consumers washed their hands properly prior to or during meal preparation. Cross-contamination events were detected in four kitchens, between the raw chicken and two cutting boards, two sinks and one kitchen cloth. The poultry samples presented different levels of contamination (< 4.0 × 101 CFU/g to 2.2 × 103 CFU/g), being some poultry with lower Campylobacter loads the origin of three cross-contamination events during food preparation. Both C. jejuni and C. coli were recovered. Molecular typing by PFGE showed a high diversity among the isolates. There were different explanations for the practice of cleaning and rinsing chicken, but, in general, it is an habit linked to what they have learned from their families. These results highlight the potential for the dissemination of Campylobacter strains in the domestic environment through the preparation of chicken meat and the need to raise awareness among consumers for an appropriate handling of raw poultry in order to decrease the risk of campylobacteriosis.