When’s the last time you saw a celebrity chef wash their hands? Or use a meat thermometer? Or not dip their filthy fingers into some bubbling sauce? According to Insurance Journal, a recent study conducted by food safety experts from Kansas State University and Tennessee State University sought to answer those questions and determine the state of food safety among celebrity chefs. They surveyed 100 cooking shows with 24 different chefs. The results? Not great, Bob.
“Twenty-three percent of chefs licked their fingers; that’s terrible,” said Edgar Chambers IV, one of the experts behind the study. “Twenty percent touched their hair or dirty clothing or things and then touched food again.” Whose hair? Guy Fieri or Anne Burrell? According to the study, TV chefs rarely wash their hands, swap out cutting boards, or check the temperature of their meat. Chambers and his fellow researchers aren’t advocating for an hour of safety tips, but rather a running awareness that can serve as a good example for home cooks. The hope is a reduction in foodborne illnesses, which the study says affect 1 in 6 Americans each year.
Chambers elaborates: “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. They don’t have to show it on television but they should remind viewers that there are safety issues involved in food preparation.” Maybe FlavorTown U.S.A.’s newest resident will be a health inspector.