Comparison of listeriosis risk factors among three ‘at-risk’ consumer groups: pregnant women, older adults and chemotherapy patients
Evans, Ellen W.
International Association for Food Protection
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Introduction: Due to weakened immune function, listeriosis is particularly associated with ‘at-risk’ consumers, predominantly affecting pregnant-women, older-adults (aged ≥ 60 years) and people receiving chemotherapy. Sporadic incidence of listeriosis is frequently related to refrigerated ready-to-eat (RTE) food products stored/consumed in the domestic kitchen. Consequently, ‘at-risk’ consumers should implement safe food handling/storage practices, including time and temperature control of RTE-foods to reduce the risks associated with L. monocytogenes. Changes in UK epidemiology data indicate reduced pregnancy associated-cases and increased older-adult and chemotherapy associated-cases. Purpose: Determination and comparison of these ‘at-risk’ consumers’ food-safety reported behaviours and related cognitions may identify listeriosis risk factors and inform the development of targeted food-safety information. Such data is currently lacking in the UK. Methods: Quantitative survey methods (online/paper-based) ascertained food-safety knowledge, self-reported practices and attitudes towards domestic food handling/storage. The study involved pregnant/post-partum (≤12 months) women (n=40), older-adults (≥60 years) (n=100) and chemotherapy-patients/family-caregivers (n=172). Results: Awareness of recommended refrigeration temperatures were significantly more widespread(p<0.01)among chemotherapy-patients/family-caregivers (57%) than pregnant-women (25%) and older-adults (13%); attitudes towards recommended refrigeration temperatures were significantly more negative among older-adults (p<0.001). However, self-reported refrigeration practices were not significantly different (p>0.05), with the majority (58-65%) reporting temperatures would ‘never’ be checked. Older-adults were significantly less knowledgeable of ‘use-by’ dates, had more negative attitudes (p<0.001) towards ‘use-by’ dates and were more likely to report consumption of foods beyond the ‘use-by’ date (p<0.005). Although older-adults’ attitudes were significantly more negative towards consuming RTE foods within two days of opening, no significant differences in knowledge and self-reported practices were determined, with majority of all ‘at-risk’ consumers (82-89%) reporting consumption beyond recommendations. Failing to adhere to recommended food storage practices may increase the risks associated with listeriosis among these ‘at-risk’ consumers. Significance: Significant differences in knowledge, attitudes and self-reported practices between ‘at-risk’ consumers may indicate why reduced pregnancy associated-cases and increased older-adult and chemotherapy associated-cases are reported in the UK. Study findings may be utilised for the development of targeted food-safety education to reduce risks of listeriosis.
Journal of Food Protection;Supplement A, 2016 Volume 79
International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Annual Meeting;
Evans, E.W. & Redmond, E.C. (2016) 'Comparison of listeriosis risk factors among three ‘at-risk’ consumer groups: pregnant women, older adults and chemotherapy patients', International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Annual Conference Abstracts. Journal of Food Protection. Supp. A, Volume 79, Page 125
Cardiff Metropolitan University (Grant ID: Cardiff Metropolian (Internal))
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Older adult consumer knowledge, attitudes and self-reported storage practices of ready-to-eat food products and risks associated with listeriosis Evans, Ellen W.; Redmond, Elizabeth (International Association for Food Protection, 2016)Consumer implementation of recommended food safety practices, specifically relating to time and temperature control of ready-to-eat (RTE) food products associated with listeriosis are crucial. This is particularly the case ...
Behavioral risk factors associated with listeriosis in the home: a review of consumer food safety studies Evans, Ellen W.; Redmond, Elizabeth (International Association for Food Protection, 2014-03)Listeria monocytogenes causes human listeriosis, which is associated with the highest hospitalization and mortality rates of all foodborne illnesses. In recent years, the incidence of listeriosis has doubled in Europe, ...
Evans, Ellen W.; Redmond, Elizabeth (International Association for Food Protection,, 2016-05-12)Introduction: Chemotherapy patients have an increased risk of foodborne illnesses as a result of immunosuppression, and are reported to have a five-times greater risk of listeriosis. To enable chemotherapy patients/carers ...