An In-Home Video Study and Questionnaire Survey of Food Preparation, Kitchen Sanitation, and Hand Washing Practices

By Scott, Elizabeth; Herbold, Nancie | Journal of Environmental Health, June 2010 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

An In-Home Video Study and Questionnaire Survey of Food Preparation, Kitchen Sanitation, and Hand Washing Practices

Scott, Elizabeth, Herbold, Nancie, Journal of Environmental Health



Foodborne illnesses can pose a problem to all individuals but are especially significant for infants, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that little progress has been made in controlling foodborne illness in the U.S. since 2004 and that enhanced measures are required to educate consumers about infection risks and prevention measures (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2008). It is estimated that an average of 15,000 reported cases of foodborne illness occur in the U.S. annually (CDC, 1996). When unreported cases are considered, an estimated 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths occur in the U.S. yearly (Mead et al., 1999). The annual economic cost of illness due to foodborne illnesses is estimated to reach over $3 billion each year. In addition, the cost of lost productivity is estimated at between $10 billion and $83 billion each year (U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA], 2009). Approximately $1 billion is spent annually on medical costs and lost wages due to salmonellosis alone (CDC, 2005). In 2003, costs for E. coli O157 were estimated at $405 million, including $370 million for premature deaths, $30 million for medical care, and $5 million in lost productivity (Frenzen, Drake, Angulo, & the Emerging Infections Program FOODNET Working Group, 2005).

A new interest has arisen in household practices as a result of the understanding that a link exists between contaminated inanimate surfaces and disease transmission and acquisition within settings such as the home (Cozad & Jones, 2003). Domestic sanitation practices, especially those employing wet sponges, cloths, and mops, have been found to further disseminate bacteria to other inanimate surfaces and directly to the hands, leading to cross-contamination with bacteria and the potential for bacteria to reach foodstuffs and the mouth (Scott, 1999).

Consumers need information about how cross-contamination occurs. Pathogens are continuously introduced into the home environment, especially via people, food, and pets (Kramer, Schwebke, &, Kampf, 2006). In addition, inanimate surfaces, and especially hand and food contact surfaces, are a main route of pathogen transmission (Kramer et al., 2006). A number of bacteria such as E. coli, Clostridium difficile, and Shigella species can survive for months on dry surfaces, and longer on wet surfaces (Beumer et al., 2002; Lin, Guthrie, & Frazao, 1999).

While it is widely accepted by food experts that many cases of foodborne illness occur as a result of improper food handling and preparation by consumers in their own kitchens (Scott, 1999), consumers themselves are still largely unaware of this fact. A recent study conducted by the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition reported that respondents named restaurants (56%) as the most likely site for food poisoning problems to occur while only 14% of the respondents cited home as a likely site for problems (FDA, 2006).

The purpose of our study was to collect data on practices relating to home food preparation, personal hygiene, and kitchen sanitation in order to examine the relationship between consumer knowledge and practice.

Materials and Methods

Our study is a descriptive study involving a convenience sample of 30 households recruited from the Boston metro area. A researcher and/or a research assistant traveled to the homes of study participants to videotape a standard food preparation procedure preceded by floor mopping. The video method was selected to allow us to analyze kitchen sanitation and food hygiene practices in freeze frame.

A food safety and sanitation practices questionnaire was administered by mail two weeks prior to the home videotaping. On the day of the in-home visit, subjects were instructed to mop the kitchen floor in their normal fashion and then to prepare a given hamburger sandwich recipe using ground beef while being videotaped.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

An In-Home Video Study and Questionnaire Survey of Food Preparation, Kitchen Sanitation, and Hand Washing Practices


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?