If you struggle in the kitchen and are trying to learn from what you see on TV, listen up: A recent review of 100 cooking shows with 24 of the most popular chefs found their food safety habits weren’t all that palatable.
“Twenty-three percent of chefs licked their fingers; that’s terrible,” said Edgar Chambers IV, professor and director of the Sensory Analysis Center at Kansas State University, in a statement. “Twenty percent touched their hair or dirty clothing or things, and then touched food again.”
The most common food safety hazards included a lack of hand-washing, not changing or washing cutting boards between raw meat and vegetables, and not using a meat thermometer on meat after it’s cooked.
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“We hear about safety issues from unclean food or when something has gotten through the food system,” Chambers said. “It can be detrimental to young children and the elderly — but many times when people think they have the 24-hour stomach flu, it’s often from poor food preparation practices.”
Cutting boards can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Plastic is often the go-to for home chefs, often for raw meat. Wooden boards, though, generally kill bacteria faster. The best way to prevent illness is to make sure you wash your clean chopping boards thoroughly with hot water and soap before prepping food.
“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,” Chambers said. “They don’t have to show it on television, but they should remind viewers that there are safety issues involved in food preparation.”