Shelf awareness

October 9, 2008

A study of fridges belonging to first-year undergraduates suggests that food safety is not a priority among new students. The study by Bournemouth University found evidence of over-packing in 92 per cent of fridges, with 88 per cent including uncovered, leftover canned food and open packs of meat. Sixteen per cent of the fridges studied included mouldy or rotten fruit, vegetables and cheese, and there was evidence of cross-contamination in 88 per cent. Some 83 per cent (248) of respondents operated a "shelf each" system to allocate refrigerator space in communal households, resulting in raw foods, including meat, being stored next to each other. Philippa Hudson, senior lecturer in food safety at the university's School of Services Management, said: "Space tends to be divided by allocating each member of the household a shelf in which to store all their food ... Unfortunately the risks are high with the 'shelf-each' allocation, but over-packing also increases the risks of cross-contamination."

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