Kosa KM, Cates SC, Brophy J, Godwin S, Chambers D, Chambers E. Older adults and parents of young children have different handling practices for raw poultry. J Food Prot. 2019 Feb;82(2):200-6. doi: https://doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-18-323.


Salmonella and Campylobacter are among the most common causes of foodborne disease in the United States. Most illnesses are associated with eating raw or undercooked poultry or cross-contamination. Young children and older adults are more susceptible to contracting foodborne illness and have serious infections compared with other age groups. We conducted a Web-based survey of parents of young children (n = 1,957) and older adults (n = 1,980) to estimate adherence to recommended food safety practices for raw poultry and to identify differences in practices between the two groups. The findings present adherence rates for 20 practices. In both groups, less than 50% of respondents reported adherence to seven practices; thus, improvements are needed in these areas. Parent respondents were significantly more likely than older adult respondents to report following eight practices, with most related to avoiding cross-contamination and using a food thermometer. For example, parents (39%) were significantly more likely than older adults (31%) to report not rinsing or washing raw poultry (P < 0.001). Older adult respondents were significantly more likely than parent respondents to report following seven practices, with most related to chilling to proper temperatures and thawing. For example, older adults (87%) were significantly more likely than parents (69%) to report cooking, freezing, or discarding raw poultry within 1 to 2 days of purchase as recommended (P < 0.001). For the remaining five practices, no differences were found between groups. To motivate behavior change, food safety messages and materials must target specific at-risk populations as their practices are different. Additional research is needed to better understand how parents of young children and older adults like to receive food safety information and how to tailor the information to different generations.

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