Admit it. As much as you love eating out, there is nothing quite like home cooking. Even in our hyper age of connectivity, nothing beats that old family recipe that brings everyone together.
Believe it or not, the cookbook is more popular today than ever, and I bet everyone reading this right now has at least one somewhere in the kitchen. From millennials to baby boomers, no matter what your tastes are there is a great cookbook out there with the perfect recipe for you. By the way, if you are following that recipe on your smart phone or tablet, you need to keep your electronics out of the kitchen. If you want to learn more about this cross contamination food safety issue, please check out this recent article.
When it comes to good old fashion cookbooks, it turns out that one essential ingredient is often missing in the recipes – food safety. According to a new study, the majority of recipes found in popular cookbooks provide very little information about food safety and the important issue of cross contamination. The study’s researchers noted that cookbooks tell people how to cook, but not really in a way that could help reduce the risk foodborne illness.
Cross-Contamination and Foodborne Illness
In the U.S., it is estimated that 3.5 million cases of foodborne illness annually are associated with the inadequate cooking of animal foods or cross-contamination from foods. According to the study’s researchers, food-handling practices can be risk factors for foodborne illness.
As part of the study, more than 1,500 recipes from The New York Times best sellers were reviewed. Specifically, researchers examined recipes for cooking meat, poultry, seafood and eggs and looked for content that would promote food safety best practice. Food safety myths were also reviewed, such as washing raw chicken in the sink, which is not a good idea by the way. Germs are easily spread to the sink and other surfaces such as the counter top.
Very few of the recipes included recommendations to avoid cross-contamination, which occurs when germs from one of the foods in the recipe are transferred to something else, according to the study. For example, only 12 of the more than 1,500 recipes reviewed recommended that people should wash their hands after touching raw meats such as poultry. Additionally, less than 2% of the recipes recommended separate cutting boards, dishes, and utensils for raw meats.
The bottom line according to the researchers is that correct food safety guidance in cookbooks may increase the potential for reducing the risk of foodborne illness. The researchers concluded that “Popular cookbooks are an underutilized avenue for communicating safe food handling practices and currently cookbook authors are risk amplifiers.”
Protect Yourself from Foodborne Illness
The CDC says that anyone can get sick from eating contaminated food, and it recommends the following four simple food safety steps to help protect against foodborne illness.
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