Public Release: 8-Nov-2016
Television cooking shows overlook safe food handling practices
Many programs miss the opportunity to model proper safety measures, according to a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Elsevier Health Sciences
Forty-eight million cases of foodborne illness are reported annually in the United States, including 3,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These illnesses can result from improper food safety practices in retail settings, but illness from food prepared at home is also a concern; yet, little is known about illness from consumer practice.
Adherence to food safety practices by consumers has declined in recent years. For example, fewer consumers reported washing hands before handling food, cooking to required temperatures, or separating meat and poultry from ready-to-eat foods in 2011 than in 2008 or 2010. Only 33% of consumers said they trusted the government for food safety information, whereas more than half trusted media. An overwhelming majority (73%) obtained food safety information from media, and 22% of those used cooking shows as their primary source of information. Likewise, in a poll of television viewers, 50% of respondents watched some television cooking shows, and 57% reported purchasing items based on those shows.
A panel of state regulators and food safety practitioners participated in the assessment, viewing 10 popular cooking shows, with two to six episodes per show watched for a total of 39 episodes.
"The majority of practices rated were out of compliance or conformance with recommendations in at least 70% of episodes and food safety practices were mentioned in only three episodes," said lead author Nancy L. Cohen, PhD, RD, LDN, FAND. "Only four practices were observed to be in compliance or conformance with recommendations in more than 50% of the episodes. For most behaviors observed, the percentage of shows in conformance with recommended practices was much lower than that seen in restaurant employees and consumers in general."