Consumers taking risks with food safety at home: study

Davis, CA – Many consumers do not practice food safety at home, although they are aware of food safety issues and the risk of foodborne illness, according to recent research from the University of California, Davis.

Studying video footage of 120 participants preparing chicken and salad in their home kitchens, researchers observed cross-contamination and insufficient cooking.

Sixty-five percent of participants did not wash their hands before meal preparation, and 38 percent did not wash their hands after touching raw chicken. Only 10 percent washed their hands for the recommended 20 seconds, and about one-third of those did not use soap. Nearly 50 percent washed their chicken in the sink, a practice not recommended because it leads to bacteria spreading over multiple surfaces.

These poor practices occurred even though 85 percent of participants serve chicken in their homes weekly, 84 percent said they are knowledgeable about food safety and 48 percent reported they received formal food safety training.

The study is scheduled to be published in the September/October issue of Food Protection Trends, the membership publication of the International Association for Food Protection. Poultry company Foster Farms funded the study.