Survey says the celebrity chef doesn’t always practice food safety

Enjoy those delicious recipes your favorite celebrity chef prepares, but follow food safety guidelines when preparing them.

Many of us have a favorite celebrity chef who creates wonderful food items we want to make ourselves. We watch them on television, and do not expect them to make food safety mistakes because they are the experts, right? We are assuming with their professional training, they know all about food safety, so what they do and say is exactly what we can do.

This might not be true. The University of Massachusetts Amherst conducted a study, indicating there might be room for improvement with our favorite chefs. This study involved a group of state regulators and food practitioners completing a 19-question survey, which measured safe food practices, use of utensils and gloves, protection from contamination, and time and temperature control. The panel completed the survey while watching 10 popular cooking shows. Lead author Dr. Nancy L. Cohen stated, “The majority of practices rated were out of compliance or conformance with recommendations in at least 70 percent of episodes and food safety practices were mentioned in only three episodes.”

This study highlighted a number of safe food handling behaviors that TV chefs were not doing, which could lead to a foodborne illness and make someone sick. Areas for improvement included wearing clean clothing, using a hair restraint, handling raw food safely and washing hands. Additionally, fruits and vegetables are leading sources of foodborne illness in the United States, yet less than 10 percent of the shows demonstrated proper washing of produce.

Michigan State University Extension urges you not be a “TV chef” at home; always make sure you are following safe food handling practices. Utilizing these simple steps: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill.

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