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Assessment of the critical control points during domestic food preparation on the island of Ireland

Project Reference: 08-2007

Status: Completed

Commencement Date: January, 2008

Project Duration: 15 months


Poor food-handling and hygiene practices in domestic kitchens are thought to be the cause of a significant amount of foodborne illness. In this study, the critical control points during food preparation were assessed via:

  1. video observation of consumers in their own homes and in test kitchens
  2. microbiological swabbing of key areas in all kitchens before and after food preparation
  3. an audit checklist for each participant which will be developed and validated in the test kitchens for use during the domestic food preparation.

Households of single people, couples, families, males and females from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds were represented in this study. The participants who prepared food in their own homes were given a shopping list and asked to purchase their own ingredients. They were also given a temperature logger which they were asked to attach to the packaging of the meat/poultry products as soon as they were placed into the shopping basket. 

The final outcomes identified and assessed the critical control points in domestic food preparation in terms of cross-contamination risk and microbial loading, cooking practices and temperature control (and data relating to cleaning activities). The study also identified discrepancies between food safety practice and reported behaviour.

Principal Contractor(s):

Prof Patrick Wall, University College Dublin


Prof David McDowell, University of Ulster, Jordanstown




Peer Reviews:

Kennedy, J., Nolan, A., Gibney, S., O'Brien, S,. McMahon, M. A., McKenzie, K., Healy, B., McDowell, D., Fanning, S., Wall, P. G. “Identification of Critical Points during Domestic Food Preparation” – An Observational Study (2011) British Food Journal. Vol. 113 No. 6.

Kennedy, J., Nolan, A., Gibney, S., O'Brien, S., McMahon, M. A., McKenzie, K., McDowell, D., Wall, P. G. (2011) “Identification of Critical Control Points during Domestic Food Preparation”. British Food Journal. Vol. 113 No. 2.


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