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Food Safety Knowledge, Microbiology and
Refrigeration Temperatures in Domestic Kitchens on the Island of Ireland

Teagasc, The National Food Centre
University of Ulster
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End date
This project involved a survey of the incidence of a range of significant food poisoning bacteria, including Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp., Listeria monocytogenes., Aeromonas spp. and Escherichia coli 0157, in the domestic refrigerators of households throughout the island of Ireland. It also incorporated a questionnaire survey to ascertain consumer food safety practices and knowledge.

The survey found that certain food poisoning bacteria were commonly present in domestic refrigerators: E. coli (6%), Listeria monocytogenes (6%) and Staphlococcus aureus (41%). The questionnaire revealed that 78% of people did not know that the correct operating temperature for their fridge should be between 1–5°C.

The findings of this project were used to enhance safefood communication to support advertising campaigns on fridge hygiene and the use of fridge thermometers. The results of this survey are available as a report on the safefood website at

Funding Source
Project number
Escherichia coli
Bacterial Pathogens