Too clean or not clean enough: the hygiene hypothesis myth

Date: Tuesday 4 July, 2017

Time: 9.00am – 2.30pm

Venue: Orion Suite, Spencer Hotel, Excise Walk, Dublin 1

Who should attend?

The event would be of particular interest to those working in food safety, public health and science communication, such as public health doctors, epidemiologists, environmental health officers, laboratory staff, science writers and journalists. It will also be of interest to regulators, policy makers and those working in academia.

Programme overview

Over the last few decades the use of the term "hygiene hypothesis" has led to varying interpretations with many consumers believing that excessive cleanliness is responsible for increased risk of developing allergies. However, most scientific experts agree that the hygiene hypothesis is a misleading term and the use of the term continues to undermine attitudes to hygiene. It also hampers progress in understanding how to tackle serious public health issues, at a critical time when antibiotic resistance threatens our ability to treat infectious disease.

This safefood Knowledge Network event will bring together experts in allergies, human and microbe interaction, environmental health and home hygiene to discuss the most recent research and thinking in the area and explore how to explain these messages to consumers.


Time Theme Speaker
09:00 Registration (tea / coffee)
09:30 Introduction Ms Jenny Morris (Chair)
09:45 safefood’s work

Dr Linda Gordon


10:00 The March of the Allergens

Dr Audrey Dunn Galvin 

University College Cork

10:30 The vital role of the microbiome in human health –abandoning hygiene is not the way to a healthy microbiome

Prof Colin Hill

University College Cork


The Hygiene Hypothesis misnomer and inflammatory diseases - and implications for hygeine

Prof Sally Bloomfield

International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene

11:30 The approaches to hygiene in developing countries and the infectious disease risks associated with poor hygiene

Mr Niall Roche

University College Dublin

12:00 Lunch
12:45 Why is hygiene so important – developing a risk based approach to hygiene in home and everyday life

Prof Sally Bloomfield

International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene

Restoring confidence in hygiene and hygiene understanding, barriers to behaviour change and suggestions for action

Dr Lisa Ackerley

University of Salford

13:45 Discussion Session

Prof Sally Bloomfield &

Dr Lisa Ackerley

14:30 Close




Please note: Photography and video recording may take place at the event and these images may be used in safefood promotional materials, publications and website content. By attending the event, you are giving your consent for your image to be used on any safefood materials.