A warning label on the packaging of raw chicken products may result in improved kitchen hygiene among one quarter of the population. Most people already prepare chicken safely, irrespective of whether they read the label. Consumers consider labels to be important, useful and reassuring. This has been demonstrated by research carried out by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment ) in conjunction with the Voedingscentrum (Dutch Nutrition Centre).

Every year, 700,000 people in the Netherlands contract a food-borne infection; chicken is an important source. In most cases, this can be avoided with proper kitchen hygiene: the buying, preparing and storing of chicken. In order to promote this, since 2001 in the Netherlands chicken must be sold in a packaging with a warning label for consumers. In this research project, the effect of the warning label has been investigated for the first time. 

Survey

1,235 Dutch citizens were approached and asked to complete questionnaires; 514 people participated. The objective of the survey was to obtain insight into the knowledge and current kitchen hygiene of Dutch consumers. In addition, it was examined whether these consumers considered changing their behaviour after seeing the label.

Kitchen hygiene

On average, the respondents had good knowledge about kitchen hygiene and food-borne infections. In addition, 69.5% already ensured a proper kitchen hygiene. About 22% of the respondents indicated their intention to deal with raw chicken differently after reading the label.