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Domestic refrigeration practices with emphasis on hygiene: analysis of a survey and consumer recommendations.

A Web-enabled survey was conducted to improve knowledge of home refrigeration practices of French consumers (n = 809), with an emphasis on hygiene. The survey targeted a convenience sample of working people. Analysis of the survey responses revealed that efforts should be directed toward improvement of microbiological control measures. Only 37% of respondents made sure the temperature in their refrigerator was 4 degrees C or below. Only 37% of respondents reported that they systematically wrapped food. Sponges, known to be frequently highly contaminated, were used by 89% of the respondents to clean their refrigerator, which indicates the need to recommend disinfection of sponges before they are used for cleaning. Twenty-seven percent of respondents used sodium hypochlorite, but it was applied without previous cleaning (21% of the users) or in the commercial concentrated form (7% of the users). The permanent presence of water condensation on the shelves was noted by 2% of respondents, suggesting imperfect closure of the door, with a consequence of higher energy consumption and water available for microbial circulation and growth. Seventy percent of the respondents declared that they never put warm or hot food in the refrigerator. However, many people, when orally questioned, acknowledged that they leave dishes at ambient temperature overnight before putting them in the refrigerator. J Food Prot. 2008;71(9):1898-904.

Author: Lagendijk E, Assere A, Derens E, Carpentier B

Published: 01/01/2008

Publication Type: Journal article

Publisher: Journal of Food Protection