Safefood has previously conducted research on temperature abuse both in the home
and in catering establishments. This project is designed to supplement this work by
examining temperature abuse at retail level. Temperature abuse in conjunction with
poor operational practices are the dominant factors in the mishandling of chilled food
which often results in foodborne disease outbreaks. As the food service industry handling of perishable foods continues to grow significantly, compliance and safety of temperature–critical practices, namely chill storage, is essential in ensuring a safe food. The equipment scaling, maintenance and day–to–day operation are important factors to be controlled if microbial risks are to be minimised.
The key areas which this project will target are the control and abuse of refrigeration and
freezing in retail premises to include: fitness of equipment for the purpose and volume,
defects in equipment and suitability of its position, maintenance and cleaning programmes, temperature monitoring, loading and stock rotation, staff responsibilities and training.<P>
The project will involve a survey and risk assessment and work closely with Environmental Health Officers in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. Information gained will be used to drive safefood safe storage campaign at retail level and assist the environmental health service in discerning risks and targeting inspections at retail level.