Evaluation of risk impact of consumers' behaviour in terms of exposure to Listeria monocytogenes in lettuce

Authors

  • Eva Doménech,

    Corresponding author
    1. Departamento de Tecnologia de los alimentos, Instituto de Ingeniería de Alimentos para el Desarrollo, Universitat Politécnica de Valencia, PO Box 46022, Valencia, Spain
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  • Andrea Conchado,

    1. Departamento de Estadística e Investigación Operativa Aplicadas y Calidad, Centro de Gestión de la Calidad y del Cambio, Universitat  Politécnica de Valencia, Valencia, Spain
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  • Isabel Escriche

    1. Departamento de Tecnologia de los alimentos, Instituto de Ingeniería de Alimentos para el Desarrollo, Universitat Politécnica de Valencia, PO Box 46022, Valencia, Spain
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Summary

The influence that consumers have on the exposure assessment due to the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in lettuce was studied. Four stages of the food chain were considered: transport home, storage, handling and washing. A survey provided information about family behaviour classified as: one adult living alone (n = 77), one adult with children (n = 21), two adults (n = 75), two adults with children (n = 139) and seniors (n = 157). Multiple correspondence analyses revealed only slight differences between one adult living alone (with or without children) and the other groups. The simulation results highlighted that in all groups, ‘transportation’ and ‘storage at home’ did not increase contamination. In the ‘handling’ stage, Listeria was able to increase an average of 1 log CFU g−1, and in ‘washing’, consumers were able to reduce it to the values at retail. Finally, sensitivity analysis demonstrated that washing and surface contamination were the practices that had most influence on the risk.

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