Estimation of Safety and Quality Losses of Foods Stored in Residential Refrigerators
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© 2019, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.This article overviews the technological evolution of residential refrigerators, key national and international regulations covering them, and summarizes the information available to estimate the quality and safety deterioration in foods and beverages stored in them. At present, the national and international government standardized performance tests used to assess residential refrigerators focus on energy consumption. Efforts by refrigerator manufacturers to consider the impact of temperature fluctuation, temperature recovery, extreme ambient temperature, door openings, and other factors affecting temperature control and, thus, food safety and quality need to be harmonized, validated, and implemented as official standardized tests. Published predictive models here summarized, and describing microbial growth and other product degradation mechanisms, could be combined with energy efficiency evaluations in future science-based regulations seeking a balance between energy consumption and food preservation. While numerous mathematical models are available, this review identified a serious lack of model parameter values to allow a combined assessment of energy consumption and food preservation in residential refrigerators. Much of past research has focused on temperature abuse effects and, thus, not applicable to estimating food preservation under the prevailing temperatures in residential refrigerators. Particularly urgent is the data on the microorganisms¿ response at multiple temperature levels, allowing the development of secondary models to assess the temperature effect on the safety and quality of a diverse but representative pool of products. New standardized testing procedures could then be developed to guide the design of new residential refrigerators minimizing food waste and the frequency of foodborne diseases while meeting energy consumption requirements.