Food safety behaviors observed in celebrity chefs across a variety of programs.

Research paper by Curtis C Maughan, Edgar E Chambers, Sandria S Godwin

Indexed on: 14 Apr '16Published on: 14 Apr '16Published in: Journal of public health (Oxford, England)


Consumers obtain information about foodborne illness prevention from many sources, including television media. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a variety of cooking shows with celebrity chefs to understand their modeling of food safety behaviors.Cooking shows (100 episodes) were watched from 24 celebrity chefs preparing meat dishes. A tabulation of food safety behaviors was made for each show using a checklist.Proper modeling of food safety behaviors was limited, with many incidences of errors. For example, although all chefs washed their hands at the beginning of cooking at least one dish, 88% did not wash (or were not shown washing) their hands after handling uncooked meat. This was compounded with many chefs who added food with their hands (79%) or ate while cooking (50%). Other poor behaviors included not using a thermometer (75%), using the same cutting board to prepare ready-to-eat items and uncooked meat (25%), and other hygiene issues such as touching hair (21%) or licking fingers (21%).This study suggests that there is a need for improvement in demonstrated and communicated food safety behaviors among professional chefs. It also suggests that public health professionals must work to mitigate the impact of poorly modeled behaviors.