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Refrigerated food survey From October 2010 newsletter

Refrigerated food survey

We have recently completed a study of how consumers treat refrigerated foods in the home, as part of a project for WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) investigating losses through spoilage. In particular we looked at the effects on temperature of transporting refrigerated food from the supermarket to the home and storage in the domestic fridge. We concluded that there is scope to improve temperature control in the domestic chill chain. Key is improving consumer understanding of the importance of good temperature control and ensuring that tools such as fridge thermometers are used effectively. Regularly monitoring fridge temperature in a range of locations and storing the most temperature sensitive foods in the coldest part of the fridge could deliver significant benefits.

Amongst recommendations in the report are that food manufacturers should simplify the labelling of products with respect to storage conditions on–pack, aiming for a common approach, and choose to label with a choice of two phrases relating to temperature: i.e. either "Keep Refrigerated" or "Store at 5°C maximum". It was also felt that the use of reclosable packaging should be extended, particularly for products like cheese and cooked meat. There are several recommendations for food retailers, such as increasing the availability and visibility of fridge thermometers and 'cool–bags' in–store, and for the manufacturers and retailers of fridges and temperature measuring devices.

Research is now ongoing on temperature control from manufacture to point of sale.

Contact: Martin George
+44(0)1386 842037