1. Microbiology & Food Hygiene

Temperature abuse in retail outlets

Project Reference:




Commencement Date:

April, 2005

Project Duration:

24 months


safefood has previously conducted research on temperature abuse both in the home and in catering establishments. This project was designed to supplement this work by examining temperature abuse at retail level. Temperature abuse in conjunction with poor operational practices are the dominant factors in the mishandling of chilled food which often results in foodborne outbreaks. As the food service industry handling of perishable foods continues to grow significantly, compliance and safety of temperature-critical practices namely chill storage is essential in ensuring a safe food.

The equipment scaling, maintenance and day-to-day operation are important factors to be controlled if microbial risks are to be minimised. The key areas which this project has targeted are the control and abuse of refrigeration and freezing in retail premises to include: fitness of equipment for the purpose and volume, defects in equipment and suitability of its position, maintenance and cleaning programmes, temperature monitoring, loading and stock rotation, staff responsibilities and training.

The project involved a survey and risk assessment and work closely with Environment Health Officers in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. safefood funded this project collaboratively with the Food Institutional Research Measure (FIRM) programme under the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAF).

Principal Contractor(s):

Dr Nissreen Abu-Ghannam, Dublin Institute of Technology


Single supplier



The MSc thesis is available on request and can be accessed through Dublin Institute of Technology