Using tactile cold perceptions as an indicator of food safety-a hazardous choice

Daniela Borda, Octavian Augustin Mihalache, Anca Ioana Nicolau, Paula Teixeira, Solveig Langsrud, Loredana Dumitrascu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The safety of many foods is dependent on ensuring the cold chain until the time of consumption. A weak link is the consumer part of the chain as the temperatures of domestic refrigerators are often too high and the users have limited possibilities to monitor and adjust the temperatures. The aim of this work was to evaluate whether common consumer practices for monitoring that food is kept cold are valid. Consumers demonstrated limited ability to assess food and surface temperature by tactile sense with lower precision at 8 °C compared to 4 °C. Almost 20% of the consumers were able to detect the exact food and surface temperature kept at 4 °C, while at 8 °C only 13% detected the exact temperature. A web-based survey mapping consumer practices showed that more than 40% of consumers never checked the temperature in their refrigerators, 38% rely on food coldness to evaluate if the refrigerator is running at adequate temperature and 65% lack knowledge on how to correctly asses temperature in the fridge. Most of the comments emphasized the situations where consumers could be at risk due to misevaluation of refrigerated food and surfaces real temperature indicating the necessity for better monitorization of cold food chain at domestic level.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107069
JournalFood Control
Volume111
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

Keywords

  • Effusivity
  • Food safety
  • Refrigeration
  • Tactile sensation
  • Thermal conductivity

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