Temperature status of domestic refrigerators and its effect on the risk of listeriosis from ready-to-eat (RTE) cooked meat products

A study provides insight into the temperature profiles of domestic refrigerators in the Netherlands and the impact on the number of listeriosis cases related to ready-to-eat (RTE) cooked meat products. A survey was conducted among Dutch consumers (n=1020) to assess their knowledge and behavior related to refrigerators. Out of the participants, 534 measured their refrigerator's temperature, revealing an average temperature of 5.7 °C (standard deviation (SD) of 2.2 °C) with a maximum of 17 °C. The 24-hour temperature profiles of an additional set of actively surveyed refrigerators (n = 50) showed that the temperature measured on the upper shelf was significantly higher (mean 7.7 °C, SD 2.7 °C) than the temperature measured on the bottom shelf (5.7 °C, SD 2.1 °C). Quantitative Microbiological Risk Assessment (QMRA) predicted that the primary factors contributing to the risk of listeriosis were the initial concentration and the time and temperature during household storage. Scenario analysis revealed that storing opened RTE cooked meat products at home for either <7 days or at temperatures <7 °C resulted in a significant reduction of over 80 % in predicted illness cases. Among all illness cases, the elderly represented nearly 90 %. When assessing the impact of the disease in terms of Years of Life Lost (YLL), the contribution of the elderly was 59 %. Targeted communication, particularly directed towards the elderly, on the importance of storing RTE cooked meat products at the recommended temperature on the bottom or middle shelf as well as consuming within two to three days after opening, holds the potential to significantly reduce the number of cases. @ https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168160523004336



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