A Cross-Sectional Survey of Consumers’ Risk Perception and Hygiene of Retail Meat: A Nigerian Study
Consumers’ perception of food safety risk could influence their food consumption habits. This questionnaire-based (n = 327) cross-sectional study assessed consumers’ attitudes about and perception of retail meat risk. Also, the hygiene of meat display tables (n = 105) and retail meat (n = 107) sold to consumers was determined using total aerobic plate count and total coliform count. Most respondents were single (82.6%) and had tertiary educational status (89.3%). Most of the respondents preferred beef (60.9%) over other meat types and made purchases from retailers (71.3%). Overall, the risk perception score on retail meat safety reported by respondents was above average (56%, n = 83), although consumers (53.8%, n = 176) declared that meat consumption is worth the risk. Meat source (χ2 = 16.65, P = 0.034) and processed meat products (χ2 = 28.22, P = 0.005) were associated with food safety risk. Respondents opined that meat processors (weighted mean = 3.85%) could influence food safety. The freshness of meat (weighted mean = 2.54%) was the main criterion used by consumers to determine retail meat safety. Sampled meat and meat display tables had high total aerobic counts (>8 log) and total coliform counts (>5 log). These results are indicators of consumers’ risk perception and preferences; the observed microbial loads highlight the need for improved hygiene practices associated with meat sold to consumers in Nigeria.
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