Knowledge and Attitudes towards Handling Eggs in the Home: An Unexplored Food Safety Issue?
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Foodborne illness is a global public health issue, with food handling in the home identified as an underestimated source. In Australia, there has been a significant increase in the incidence of salmonellosis with the majority of outbreaks linked to eggs. This study investigated Australian eggs consumer attitudes, behaviours and risk perceptions associated with the handling of raw eggs in the home. It was identified that 67% of participants chose free range eggs, 11% kept poultry, 7% did not have any preference, 7% cage eggs, 4% barn eggs, 2% organic eggs and 1% pasteurized eggs. The majority of participants (91%) reported they stored eggs in the fridge. It was identified that there is an underestimation of “risky behaviour” associated with the consumption of raw eggs in the home, as 84% of participants indicated that they did not consume raw eggs, but subsequently 86% indicated that they had eaten mixture/batter containing raw eggs. Participants’ responses relating to food safety were also examined in relation to their profession and gender. Safer food handling practices were identified by Environmental Health Officers (EHO) and Food handlers compared to all other professions (p < 0.05). However, the gender of participants did not significantly affect (p > 0.05) their responses.