Research suggests that consumers often mishandle food in the home based on survey and observation studies. There is a need for a standardized tool for researchers to objectively evaluate the prevalence and identify the nature of food safety risks in the domestic environment. An audit tool was developed to measure compliance with recommended sanitation, refrigeration and food storage conditions in the domestic kitchen. The tool was piloted by four researchers who independently completed the inspection in 22 homes. Audit tool questions were evaluated for reliability using the κ statistic. Questions that were not sufficiently reliable (κ < 0.5) or did not provide direct evidence of risk were revised or eliminated from the final tool. Piloting the audit tool found good reliability among 18 questions, 6 questions were revised and 28 eliminated, resulting in a final 24 question tool. The audit tool was able to identify potential food safety risks, including evidence of pest infestation (27%), incorrect refrigeration temperature (73%), and lack of hot water (>43 °C, 32%). The audit tool developed here provides an objective measure for researchers to observe and record the most prevalent food safety risks in consumer’s kitchens and potentially compare risks among consumers of different demographics.
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