1. Microbiology & Food Hygiene

Food safety knowledge, microbiology and refrigeration temperatures in domestic kitchens on the island of Ireland

Project Reference:

00-RESR-102

Status:

Completed

Commencement Date:

June 2001

Project Duration:

36 months

Abstract:

This project involved a survey of the incidence of a range of significant food poisoning bacteria, including Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp., Listeria monocytogenes. Aeromonas spp. and Escherichia coli O157:H7 in domestic refrigerators of households throughout the island of Ireland. 

It also incorporated a questionnaire survey to ascertain consumer food safety practices and knowledge. The survey found that certain food poisoning bacteria were common in domestic refrigerators including E. coli (6%), Listeria monocytogenes (6%) and Staphylococcus aureus (41%). 

The questionnaire revealed that 78% of survey respondents did not know that the correct operating temperature for their fridge should be between 1 and 5oC. The findings of this project were used to enhance safefood communications to support advertising campaigns on fridge hygiene and the use of fridge thermometers.

Principal Contractor(s):

Dr Declan J. Bolton, Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown, Dublin

Collaborator(s):

Dr Ian Blair, University of Ulster, Jordanstown

Outputs:

Report:

Fridge hygiene

Peer review:

J. Kennedy, V. Jackson, I.S. Blair and D.A. McDowell, C. Cowan and D. J. Bolton. (2004) “Consumer Food Safety Knowledge and the Microbiological and Temperature Status of their Refrigerators”. Journal of Food Protection 68 (97), 1421-1430.

J. Kennedy, I.S. Blair and D.A. McDowell, C. Cowan and D. J. Bolton 2004. “The Microbiological Status of Food Contact Surfaces in Domestic Kitchens and the Growth/Persistence of Staphylococcus aureus in Domestic Refrigerators”. Trends in Food Protection 25 (12).

J. Kennedy, V. Jackson, I.S. Blair and D.A. McDowell, C. Cowan and D. J. Bolton 2005. “Consumer Food Safety Knowledge: Segmentation of Irish Food Preparers Based on Food Safety Knowledge and Practice”. British Food Journal 107 (7) 441-452.

J. Kennedy, I.S. Blair and D.A. McDowell, C. Cowan and D. J. Bolton 2005. “An investigation of the thermal inactivation of Staphylococcus aureus and the potential for increased thermo tolerance as a result of chilled storage”. Journal of Applied Microbiology 99 (5):1229-35.