Cross-contamination during food preparation has been identified as an important factor associated with foodborne illnesses. Handling practices used during preparation of broiler chickens in 31 fast-food restaurants and 86 semisettled street stands (street vendors) were assessed by use of a standard checklist. These establishments used wood, plastic, or metal cutting surfaces during the preparation of broiler chickens. The survival of Campylobacter spp. on kitchen cutting surfaces was determined by inoculating approximately 106 CFU of Campylobacter jejuni onto sterile plastic, wooden, and metal cutting boards. The concentrations of the organisms were then assessed in triplicate on each type of cutting board over a 3-h period using standard microbiological methods for thermophilic Campylobacter spp. In 87% of food establishments, the same work area was used for preparation of raw and cooked chicken, and in 68% of these establishments the same cutting boards were used for raw and cooked chicken. None of the establishments applied disinfectants or sanitizers when washing contact surfaces. Campylobacter spp. survived on wooden and plastic but not on metal cutting boards after 3 h of exposure. The handling practices in food preparation areas, therefore, provide an opportunity for cross-contamination of Campylobacter spp. to ready-to-eat foods.

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