A study of domestic fridges on the island of Ireland
Almost every household on the island of Ireland has a domestic fridge, yet a number of studies have shown that many consumers may not be using their fridge safely. safefood (2005, 2012) have reported a lack of awareness of safe practices in relation to food storage in the refrigerator amongst householders, such as the importance of correct refrigeration temperatures (0-5°C). International studies (Laguerre et al., 2002 and NZFSA, 2010) have reported comparable results.
Many more consumers (65-66%) associate foodborne illnesses and inadequate food safety practice with food prepared outside of the home (i.e. in restaurants/food manufacture), than with domestic food preparation (16-17%) (Fein et al., 1995 and Williamson, 1992).
A number of studies have associated higher risk food preparation practices with younger males (<45 years old), and those with higher levels of educational attainment (Kennedy et al., 2005; McCarthy et al., 2007). These studies have also suggested that overconfidence, and a lack of interest in fridge safety behaviours, along with lifestyle and environmental factors (lack of facilities and time) contribute to failure to follow good food safety practice (Bolton et al., 2005; Brennan et al., 2007 and McCarthy et al., 2007).
The development and delivery of a number of domestic food safety campaigns, and the introduction of new fridge designs and technologies, make it timely to carry out a new survey to update previous findings and gain new insights into consumer knowledge, behaviours and perceptions relating to fridge safety using a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach.