Many Fail Food Safety in the Kitchen — Do You?

Do you follow proper food-safety protocols in the kitchen? A new California study shows you may not be as safe as you think.

Even with the knowledge that they were under video surveillance, only 43 percent of home cooks washed their hands before preparing food for meals, researchers at the University of California at Davis found. And a full quarter of those who did wash their hands only did so for a couple of seconds instead of the recommended 20 seconds, MSNBC reported July 11.

“People aren’t perfect,” says Christine Bruhn, a UC Davis food-safety scientist who investigates consumer food-handling practices. “Sometimes, even those who know better because of habit or inattention can make an error.”

Other food-safety faux pas included not using a meat thermometer to check that meat was being cooked at a safe temperature (although seven out of 10 managed to cook the meat properly, regardless), and an average of 43 instances of cross-contamination between meat juices and other food and household items, the researchers say.

Ninety-three percent of cross-contamination came from the preparer’s hands.

“It’s really not hard to wash your hands and do these basic precautions,” Bruhn says.

The studies appear online in the Journal of Food Protection.