Why kitchen hygiene is not only important in canteens and restaurants but also at home

February 7, 2018, BfR Federal Institute for Risk Assessment
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Kitchen hygiene is not only about avoiding relatively minor gastrointestinal illnesses like self-limiting diarrhoea. Among high-risk groups including small children, expectant mothers, very old people or people with weakened immune systems, a food-borne infection can cause lasting damage and even prove fatal under certain circumstances. The improvement of kitchen hygiene is therefore a matter of vital importance for the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR).

To reduce the number of food-borne infections, information is required on the foods involved in food-borne outbreaks and on their production and treatment. The Member States of the EU submit data on food-borne outbreaks every year to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The 2016 EFSA report on zoonoses and food-borne outbreaks in Europe shows that the majority of the 521 strong-evidence outbreaks was caused by the consumption of food in private households (205 outbreaks), followed by outbreaks caused by the consumption of food in restaurants (133) and communal catering facilities, such as canteens in kindergartens and schools, nursing homes and hospitals (87).

Improper handling of food can favour the outbreak of disease. According to the outbreak investigations, the major sources are meat and meat products, and in particular, poultry meat (126 outbreaks), as well as mixed food and buffet meals (85 outbreaks), eggs and egg products (72 outbreaks), fish and fisheries (70 outbreaks) and milk and milk products (45 outbreaks). Although vegetables, fruits, cereals, sprouted seeds, herbs and spices and their products made a much less significant contribution to the situation with a total of 34 outbreaks, they should not be disregarded.

However, the 14,504 cases of food-borne disease in strong-evidence outbreaks recorded in Europe only partly reflect the food-borne infection situation in

Above all, salmonella was the dominating causative agent of strong-evidence outbreaks reported by the EU Member States, whereas outbreaks caused by Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes and other food-borne pathogens are in the minority. However, regarding the individual cases of disease caused by reported to the public health authorities in Germany (approx. 100,000) and the European Union (approx. 360,000) in 2016, a completely different picture results: Campylobacter was the main cause of the reported cases of illness in Germany (approx. 74,000 cases) as well as in the EU (approx. 250,000 cases).

The risk of food-borne infections can be minimised through consistent compliance with the rules of good kitchen hygiene in both professional environments and private households.

The BfR has published related leaflets with general tips for avoiding food-borne infections in private households as well as information on individual pathogens. These are supplemented by flyers for professional applications available in several languages.

Explore further: Salmonella cases no longer falling in the EU

Related Stories

Salmonella cases no longer falling in the EU

December 12, 2017
The declining trend of salmonellosis cases in the European Union (EU) has levelled off according to the annual report on zoonotic diseases published today.

Increase in foodborne disease outbreaks tied to imported food

February 20, 2017
(HealthDay)—There has been an increase in the number and proportion of foodborne disease outbreaks associated with imported food, according to research published in the March issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control ...

Kitchen hygiene in the spotlight: Do TV cooking shows influence our hygiene behavior?

February 5, 2018
TV shows dealing with all aspects of cooking are popular. They not only convey knowledge and tasty recipes, they also have a high entertainment value. A research project at the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) ...

Campylobacter and listeria infections still rising in the EU

December 17, 2015
Human cases of listeriosis and campylobacteriosis rose once again in 2014, continuing an upward trend that began in 2008. Salmonellosis cases increased slightly for the first time since 2008. These are the main findings of ...

Outbreaks linked to drinking water mainly due to Legionella

November 14, 2017
(HealthDay)—Most drinking water-associated waterborne disease outbreaks and waterborne disease outbreaks associated with environmental or undetermined exposure to water are due to Legionella, according to two studies published ...

World prone to food-borne disease outbreaks: WHO

October 13, 2011
The world has become more vulnerable to outbreaks of disease caused by contaminated food because of growing global trade, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday.

Recommended for you

How long is an Ebola survivor contagious? One case is causing scientists to rethink the answer.

August 14, 2018
Surviving Ebola isn't like getting over the flu.

Why do women get more migraines?

August 14, 2018
Research published today reveals a potential mechanism for migraine causation which could explain why women get more migraines than men. The study, in Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences, suggests that sex hormones affect ...

Link between common 'harmless' virus and cardiovascular damage

August 13, 2018
Researchers from Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) have found an unexpectedly close link between a herpes virus and the occurrence of immune cells damaging cardiovascular tissue.

Rotavirus vaccine cuts infant diarrhoea deaths by a third in Malawi

August 11, 2018
A major new study has shown that rotavirus vaccination reduced infant diarrhoea deaths by 34% in rural Malawi, a region with high levels of child deaths.

Experts highlight Ebola vaccine progress and suggest next steps

August 11, 2018
Despite promising advances, important scientific questions remain unanswered in the effort to develop a safe and effective Ebola vaccine, according to members of an international Ebola research consortium. In a Viewpoint ...

Ebola virus experts discover powerful, new approach for future therapeutics

August 9, 2018
A one-two punch of powerful antibodies may be the best way to stop Ebola virus, reports an international team of scientists in the journal Cell. Their findings suggest new therapies should disable Ebola virus's infection ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.