Celebrity chefs score low on food safety practices: study

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Manhattan, KS – Celebrity chefs who showcase their recipes on televised broadcasts often fail to follow proper food safety practices, according to a study from Kansas State University.

Researchers watched 100 cooking shows featuring 24 celebrity chefs. Eighty-eight percent of chefs were not shown washing their hands after handling uncooked meat; 23 percent licked their fingers while cooking; and 20 percent touched their hair, dirty clothing or other items before touching food again, the researchers observed. Those behaviors, as well as other food safety hazards such as failing to use a meat thermometer to check if meat has been cooked to a proper temperature, could send the wrong impression to viewers, they cautioned.

“All celebrity chefs have to do is mention these things as they go along: ‘Remember to wash your hands,’ ‘Don’t forget to change out your cutting board’ or ‘I washed my hands here’ – which some chefs did do,” Edgar Chambers IV, a professor in Kansas State’s Department of Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health, said in a Dec. 14 press release. “They don’t have to show it on television but they should remind viewers that there are safety issues involved in food preparation.”

About 1 out of 6 Americans is exposed to foodborne illnesses every year, researchers said.

The study was published in April in the Journal of Public Health.

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