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Food Consumption and Handling Survey for Quantitative Microbiological Consumer Phase Risk Assessments

JURGEN CHARDON* and ARNO SWART

National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Centre for Infectious Disease Control, Antonie van Leeuwenhoeklaan 9, 3721 MA Bilthoven, The Netherlands

* Author for correspondence. Tel: +31 30 2742433; Fax: +31 30 2744434; E-mail: jurgen.chardon@rivm.nl.

 ABSTRACT

In the consumer phase of a typical quantitative microbiological risk assessment (QMRA), mathematical equations identify data gaps. To acquire useful data we designed a food consumption and food handling survey (2,226 respondents) for QMRA applications that is especially aimed at obtaining quantitative data. For a broad spectrum of food products, the survey covered the following topics: processing status at retail, consumer storage, preparation, and consumption. Questions were designed to facilitate distribution fitting. In the statistical analysis, special attention was given to the selection of the most adequate distribution to describe the data. Bootstrap procedures were used to describe uncertainty. The final result was a coherent quantitative consumer phase food survey and parameter estimates for food handling and consumption practices in The Netherlands, including variation over individuals and uncertainty estimates.

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