Food Standards Agency
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Research published: domestic kitchen practices

The FSA has yesterday published the findings of its research into domestic kitchen practices. The findings of the study, called Kitchen Life, offers for the first time detailed insights into what people actually do and why in UK kitchens, and will help to develop our thinking about how to reduce the burden of foodborne disease.

Food safety in the home is a key focus of the Foodborne Disease Strategy for 2010–2015, which aims to reduce incidents of foodborne disease. In 2008 the Agency’s Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) and the Social Science Research Committee (SSRC) made a number of recommendations; one SSRC recommendation included carrying out a study to examine food-safety behaviours in the home, focusing on ‘actual’ rather than reported behaviours.

Kitchen Life is part of a package of research that has since been commissioned by the FSA. The study used a range of qualitative methods, which included a participant-led kitchen tour, observation, video observation and informal interviews, to investigate practices in the kitchens of 20 UK households.

The research provides a number of new insights into how people use their kitchen spaces, including the range of food and non-food activities carried out in domestic kitchens, some of which have the potential to influence the ability of consumers to achieve effective food safety in the home.

The full study and findings can be found at the link below.

Further information

In total, 20 UK households were recruited as case studies for this project to investigate the kitchen lives of people aged under-60 (including some women who were pregnant) and people aged 60 years and older. Age and pregnancy-status were the main selection criteria because of the Agency’s interest in groups known to be particularly vulnerable to foodborne illness.

The study was carried out by the University of Hertfordshire between November 2011 and early July 2013.

The findings from this study complement other work, namely the FSA’s Food and You survey and an evidence review on food safety practices in the home.

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