The "Perishable Refrigerated Products and Home Practices Survey" was a two-part survey developed to better understand consumers' perceptions and their current level of understanding regarding the proper handling and storage of perishable refrigerated foods. Past studies (e.g. Anonymous, 1997a; Anonymous, 1999a) have demonstrated a lack of consumer knowledge in such areas involving food safety practices. In recent years, there have been a number of large food recalls (i.e. Anonymous, 1997b; Anonymous, 1999b; CDC, 1999) due to the presence or possible presence of foodborne pathogens. Part of this study analyzed consumers' knowledge and attitudes towards the recalled products. A large number of foodborne outbreaks also occur in the household. After examining participant responses concerning food handling practices, (i.e. improper temperature control and lack of food rotation habits), the practices of many of the participants were not suitable to prevent possible foodborne contamination. Open dates and time-temperature integrators (TTI's), especially when used together, can assist consumers in purchasing fresh foods (Taoukis and Labuza, 1989a, b). However, numerous past studies have indicated consumer confusion regarding the meaning of open dates; and the results of this study confirm that the confusion continues. This may be due in part to the fact that there is no federally mandated, uniform open dating legislation in this country. TTI's are a fairly new device on the U.S. marketplace. While participants in this study were optimistic about the potential benefits of TTI's, 76% of consumers were unfamiliar with the device.


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