TV Cooking Shows Not Promoting Food Safety

Over the years, TV cooking shows have become ever more popular worldwide. Reaching audiences into the millions, there is often little to no highlighting of the most basic and simple rules for food safety in the kitchen.

Recent research in Germany showed some interesting results:

The study aimed to assess food safety practices in German TV cooking shows and to identify potential differences between professional and amateur chefs.

With the help of an observational sheet, three trained evaluators examined 100 episodes of eight popular TV cooking shows.

They were able to show that on average, there were 1.2 hygiene mistakes per minute or one hygiene lapse every 50 seconds.

The most common mistakes included:

  • The use of unwashed cutting boards
  • Adding ingredients with unwashed hands
  • Wiping dirty hands with tea towels.
  • A lack of hand-washing before beginning food preparation and after coughing, sneezing, wiping the nose or sweat or touching their hair, eyes, etc. was also frequently observed.

The results further showed that no significant differences between professional and amateur chefs were found for the overall frequency of food safety mistakes.

However professional chefs complied more often with specific personal hygiene measures.

The Findings suggest that little attention is paid to safe food handling practices in German TV cooking shows.

However, they may be particularly suited to convey safe food handling practices to a broad audience, not least because of their popularity. These shows have already encouraged many into the industry with misleading ideas of what it is to be a chef. One hopes that such research can encourage a better understanding of the food safety risks and its public awareness.

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