Issuing Temperature Guidance to Consumers on the Cooking and Storage of Food

Date: 2004

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Background

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance information for agencies, such as health boards, district councils, consumer bodies and others, who produce consumer advice on cooking and storage of food. There is currently much advice and guidance to consumers on the storage and cooking of foods in order to prevent food poisoning. On reviewing this advice it becomes apparent that there are inconsistencies, particularly in relation to the temperature recommendations used for cooking. These inconsistencies may lead to confusion and should be avoided in order that clear messages aimed at modifying consumer behaviour in the home can be communicated.

To address this issue, safefood, the FoodSafety Promotion Board, convened a cross-agency working group to consider the mostappropriate general guidance that would be acceptable to agencies and professionals providing food safety advice. This report presents the advice agreed by the working group.

Terms of reference

To produce guidance for agencies, in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, who are providing advice to consumers on temperature control in relation to cooking and storage of food.

Scope

The document focuses on qualitative consumer recommendations supported by a scientific rationale. A qualitative approach was adopted given that, at the present time, very few consumers on the island actually use a temperature probe, thus making temperature recommendations of limited use. The document outlines the key safety issues related to each of the processes where temperature control is important for consumers. On the basis of these safety issues, a range of suitable consumer messages have been included which may be used in issuing advice to consumers. The messages produced in this document are simply examples of what can be used and the list is by no means exhaustive.