Food Safety–Related Refrigeration and Freezer Practices and Attitudes of Consumers in Peoria and Surrounding Counties

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Government agencies have recently emphasized the importance of food safety. Reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses within the home requires American consumers to put government refrigeration and freezer recommendations into practice; however, little research has been conducted regarding the use of proper refrigeration and freezer storage practices by consumers. A random sample survey was conducted to examine attitudes and practices of proper refrigeration and storage techniques of consumers in Peoria County, Illinois, and to determine whether gender, age, education, and income level have an effect on these variables. Eighty-one of 500 random sample surveys mailed were returned between 10 January and 15 February 2005. The majority of the participants were female (56, 69.1%), were 50 to 59 years old (18, 22.2%), had a bachelor's degree (33, 40.7%), and had a reported total household income of $60,000 or greater (39, 91.4%). Average attitudinal scores indicated that participants thought it was important to take proper steps to prevent foodborne illnesses in the home; however, 68.8% of participants scored poorly on the practice portion of the survey. Only 12.3% of participants stated that they had a thermometer in their freezer, and 24.7% had one in their refrigerator. Eighty-four percent of respondents did not store eggs correctly in the refrigerator. No significant relationships (P < 0.05) were found within this sample population. These results suggest that further evaluation of consumer practices and attitudes is needed to better understand consumers so that they can be effectively educated about the prevention of foodborne illnesses at home.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois 61790-5060, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2006

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection® is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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