Poor food–handling and hygiene practices in domestic kitchens are thought to be the
cause of a significant number of cases of foodborne illness. However, there is insufficient
information on how food is prepared in the home and how hygienic household kitchens
are. This pilot survey was commissioned by safefood in order to investigate the standards of hygiene observed in domestic kitchens across the island and to obtain information about the consumers’ knowledge of food safety issues. An extensive questionnaire was completed by 150 householders across the island of Ireland.
The project also assessed the impact of providing the household with information and
advice on the best ways to prepare, cook and store food. The project team made two visits to households, six to eight months apart, and compared the hygiene practices at each visit.
This study was a detailed qualitative rather than a quantitative study. The useful data that this study generated provided safefood with information to advance its communication strategy. The study confirmed the general impression of ignorance amongst householders about the relationship between food hygiene and illness, and it demonstrated that food–handling practices in the domestic kitchen could be improved by providing basic scientific information and reference guides.