Consumers’ raw poultry washing practices: A cross-sectional and observational study in eight Southeast Asian countries

Jan Mei Soon-Sinclair*, Thanh Mai Ha, Mark Raguindin Limon, Iwan Vanany, Pornthipa Ongkunaruk, Pisidh Voe, Sayvisene Boulom, Fue Yang, Ikarastika Rahayu Abdul Wahab, Ruhil Hayati Hamdan, Mohd Hafiz Jamaludin, Cong Duan Dao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Consumers are recommended not to wash raw poultry before cooking since this practice increases risks of cross contamination with foodborne pathogens. However previous studies had identified that consumers were unaware of this incorrect behaviour. This study aims to assess consumers' self-reported and observed raw poultry washing practices in Southeast Asian (SEA) countries. A mixed method design was employed, with data collected via a cross-sectional survey across eight SEA countries, observational studies and semi-structured interviews conducted in Indonesia and Malaysia. Ninety-six percent (n = 2009) of surveyed participants reported that they washed raw poultry at home. Participants from Laos and Philippines, older, married and low-income participants reported washing raw poultry more frequently. The main reasons for washing raw poultry were to remove dirt, slime, blood or feathers and the act of washing makes them feel safer. Participants from Cambodia (OR = 2.855, p < 0.001), Indonesia (OR = 3.208, p < 0.001), Laos (OR = 3.012, p < 0.05), Malaysia (OR = 2.003, p < 0.05) and Thailand (OR = 2.148, p < 0.001) were 2.00–3.21 times more confident about not washing raw poultry upon understanding the rationale that washing does not reduce microbial load. Participants who purchased from supermarkets (OR = 1.785, p < 0.05) were significantly more confident about not washing raw poultry compared to other sources of raw poultry. Our observation study identified various cross contamination pathways including lack of hand hygiene practices, inadequate cleaning and sanitation procedures, and cross contamination of raw poultry and washed water to surrounding areas. Semi-structured interviews revealed that participants preferred to wash raw poultry due to the lack of cleanliness of raw poultry purchased from traditional markets and the act is ingrained in their cultural practice. Due to consumers' preference for freshly slaughtered poultry and perceived cleanliness of raw poultry purchased from traditional markets, hand hygiene practices during and after handling raw poultry and cleaning of kitchen sinks and surrounding areas with soap should be emphasised. Targeted food safety messages and educational campaigns suited to local cultural differences should be conducted. This study presents the first empirical findings on consumers’ raw poultry washing practices in eight SEA countries. Practical implications and further recommendations are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110253
JournalFood Control
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


  • Cross contamination
  • Food safety
  • Hand hygiene
  • Raw poultry
  • Supermarket
  • Traditional market
  • wet market


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