Half of UK fridges would fail a food hygiene inspection

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One in ten UK residents can’t remember the last time they cleaned their fridge

The UK’s fridge’s are dirty, poorly maintained and half of them could be at the wrong temperature, according to national study* of 1,000 UK adults by appliance repair company Go-Assist.co.uk.

If domestic kitchens were subject to the same basic food hygiene standards as businesses, 49 percent would fail immediately due to our shockingly poor knowledge of how fridges work. Eight percent surveyed had zero knowledge of how to operate their own fridge.

The Food Standards Agency, the government body responsible for issuing food hygiene ratings for businesses, states that to pass a hygiene inspection people must be able to measure and adjust the air temperature of their fridge**. 

Dirty fridge capital of the UK

According to the research*, the average British fridge hasn’t been properly cleaned for 87 days. That’s more than three times longer than the recommended length of time between cleans.

Shockingly, almost one in ten Britons can’t even remember the last time they cleaned their fridge.  

Brighton is the UK’s dirty fridge capital with the most dirty fridges. 17 percent of the city’s residents can’t remember the last time they cleaned their fridge and among those who do remember, the average time since the last clean is 138 days. Five times longer than recommended.

Glasgow has the dirtiest fridges, with more residents than anywhere else in the UK leaving their fridge untouched for more than a year. 

Liverpool residents displayed the worst understanding of food safety, with one in ten (11 percent) believing that fridges are sterile, 18 percent admitting they didn’t know the correct temperature at which to store food and 57 percent failing to display sufficient knowledge to pass a basic food hygiene inspection. 

Where not to go for dinner

City

Percentage of kitchens that would fail a food hygiene inspection

Glasgow

70%

Bristol

58%

Liverpool

 57%

Belfast

54%

Cardiff

54%

Young vs old

Young people have a significantly poorer understanding of fridge hygiene than the over-55s.  

28 percent of 18-24 year olds think fridges don’t need regular cleaning. Alarmingly, four percent of that age group said they believed fridges were sterile and required no cleaning at all. 

These attitudes contrast with those of the over-55 age group, the majority of whom (85 percent) correctly understood that fridges required regular cleaning. Fewer than one percent of over-55s believed fridges were sterile.  

Young people were surprisingly inept when it came to fridge maintenance too. 63 percent are unable to measure and control the temperature in their own fridge, effectively meaning they’re unable to store food at a safe temperature. 

Go-Assist.co.uk looked at workplace fridges as part of the study too. 

Four in ten (38 percent) respondents who regularly kept their lunch in an office fridge said they had no idea when the fridge was last cleaned out. 

James Holden, spokesperson for Go-Assist.co.uk, believes misconceptions about how fridges actually work are behind the problem:

“According to our research, a worrying amount of people wrongly believe they don’t need to regularly clean their fridge. But even in a cool environment, food can go off and bacteria can rapidly contaminate other items. It’s really important for hygiene and maintenance reasons to regularly clean your fridge.  

“We recommend doing a deep clean of your fridge every four weeks. To make life a little bit easier, schedule your next clean for the day before you do your food shopping. This way, there will be fewer items to remove from the fridge before cleaning.”

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