Meat thermometers and consumers
Publication date: February 2021
This project investigated current perceptions and trends in the use of meat thermometers by consumers on the island of Ireland. It assessed consumer attitudes towards meat thermometers and their reported usage behaviour, identified the barriers and facilitators towards their use and, developed recommendations for overcoming these barriers. The global burden of food borne diseases can impact on the morbidity and mortality rates of a country with an estimated 600 million cases of food borne illness being reported and 420,000 deaths in 2010 worldwide. Meat has been identified a common source of foodborne disease and a public health concern. Harmful bacteria from animal sources are known to contribute to the cause of foodborne illness, especially when meat is undercooked. However, a number of studies have shown that consumers rely on inadequate methods, for example, visually checking the colour of meat, to ascertain the acceptability of the meat for consumption. Global advice from the World Health Organisation recommends that consumers cook food thoroughly and “ideally use a thermometer” to ensure food is safe for consumption. Current advice from safefood shows consumers how to judge whether meat is properly cooked. The correct use of meat thermometers can encourage consumers to exhibit safe cooking practices in turn, ensuring safe diets.