Demographic/socio-economic factors and dietary habits determining consumer exposure to foodborne bacterial hazards in Turkey through the consumption of meat
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- Omurtag, I., Paulsen, P., Hilbert, F. et al. Food Sec. (2013) 5: 103. doi:10.1007/s12571-012-0231-y
Meat is considered a major source of foodborne bacterial pathogens. Assessing the risks for public health of meat consumption is achieved by “Risk Analysis”- a concept firmly established on a global level - so as to ensure the level of consumer protection as stipulated by international trade agreements. Risk analysis identifies and characterizes potential hazards, which allows estimating the associated risks, provided reliable data on consumer exposure are available. The latter varies by geographical region and associated differences in culture and socio-economic position of the consumer. This paper is dedicated to assessing the exposure of the Turkish population to bacterial hazards resulting from consumption of typical traditional meat dishes. It reviews current data on meat consumption in different regions of Turkey, on the basis of which seven typical preparations and consumption scenarios are identified. Major demographic and socio-economic differences along Turkey`s east–west axis were identified, such as the degree of urbanization, consumers’ age, household size, preferred meat animal species, frequency and volumes of meat consumption, and preparation techniques. Considering all these variables allowed a differentiated and reliable assessment of consumers’ exposure to biological hazards. This information is essential for greater accuracy in estimating the public health risks associated with various meat-borne hazards in this country.