Who doesn’t love getting cooking tips from Ina, or barbecue secrets from Bobby? But viewer beware: You may emulate their sautéing skills, but don’t copy their food hygiene practices (or lack thereof). A recent study from Kansas State University which analyzed 100 random episodes of cooking shows aired on Food Network, The Cooking Channel, Amazon, Hulu, and more, found that the major of celebrity chefs don’t practice proper food safety on-screen.[related]
For example, chefs in only 12 episodes could be observed washing their hands after handling uncooked meat, and half of all televised chefs ate food with their hands while cooking; slightly more than one-fifth of them were seen licking their fingers while handling food. Only one chef (Alton Brown) wore protective gloves while handling raw or uncooked meat and poultry, and safe and hygienic cutting board use was only practiced by one-third of the chefs.
Were these chefs practicing proper hand-washing techniques off-screen and their actions cut for the sake of TV time constraints? Quite possibly, but reminding viewers of food safety techniques is imperative to their influence in the home chefs’ kitchens, and could help prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses.
"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," Edgar Chambers IV, professor and director of the Sensory Analysis Center at Kansas State University said in a statement. "They don't have to show it on television but they should remind viewers that there are safety issues involved in food preparation."