Are you learning unsafe food handling from popular cooking shows on TV?
Have you ever stopped and thought if the food shows that you're watching really show the proper way of preparing and handling food?
According to the Journal of Nutritional Education and Behaviour, most television shows overlook safe food-handling processes.
22% got their information from watching television
Based on a research done by the University of Massachusetts Amherst, very few consumers reported that they washed their hands before handling food, cooked their food to the right temperature, or separated meat and poultry from foods that are ready-to-eat.
They then asked the respondents where they got their food safety information, and they found that 73% get it from media, and 22% get it from watching television.
A lot of them didn't measure up to the standards of hygiene
A panel of state regulators as well as food safety practitioners then rated 10 of the most popular cooking shows based on their hygiene practices. Surprisingly, a lot of them didn't measure up to the proper standards of hygiene.
The study's lead author, Nancy L. Cohen shares, "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."
She adds that the percentage of shows that give good examples of proper food hygiene were "much lower than that seen in restaurant employees and consumers in general."
"There are many opportunities on cooking shows to educate the public regarding safe food handling practices and help reduce the incidence of foodborne illness; similarly, nutrition and food safety educators could work with the media to produce shows that demonstrate positive food safety behaviors and educate consumers about food safety practices as they adopt recipes."
How do we make sure that the food we eat is safe?
Of course, it's very important to make sure that the food we cook for our family is always clean and safe. It's not always enough to just make sure that the food is well cooked, we also have to wash the food before cooking and make sure to keep our hands clean, and also make sure to keep our utensils and cooking implements clean.
The WHO recommends the following tips to make sure that the food we eat is always safe:
- Cleanliness is a top priority. Make sure to always wash your hands as well as your food before cooking. Cleanliness should always be maintained at every step of the cooking process.
- Make sure to separate cooked food from raw food. Avoid cross contamination by using different utensils when handling cooked and raw food. That's because the juices from raw food might contaminate your cooked food.
- Cook your food thoroughly. Food such as meat, eggs, and seafood should be cooked thoroughly. Make sure that food isn't pink once you've cooked meat.
- Monitor your food's temperature. Make sure to not keep food out for long periods of time as this can severely shorten their shelf life. You shouldn't store food too long even if you put it inside the refrigerator. When thawing frozen food, you should also make sure not to thaw it at room temperature.
- Be picky when it comes to your ingredients. You don't need to buy the most expensive ingredients. You just have to make sure that the food you buy is safe, clean, and fresh. The water you use is also very important as water can harbour a lot of microorganisms that are harmful.
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