Lessons Learned: Using Television Cooking Shows to Teach about Food Safety

Turn on your television at any time during the day, and you are bound to find a cooking show on one of the channels. Whether it's a show dedicated to offering up helpful hints and recipes or a cooking competition, it is clear the concept of food is something that draws viewers in.

Yet, in between all the slicing and dicing and sautéing, are the chefs and professionals on your favorite shows following the best food safety practices?

A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that many of these programs miss the opportunity to model proper safety measures. Yes, this can be seen as a challenge to many, but researchers also took their learnings as an opportunity to identify steps toward improvements these shows should take. These included: food safety training, safe food handling practices and using food safety as a judging criteria. 

While this study may pertain to the home cook, there are some valuable takeaways that you can apply to your restaurant. These include:

  1. Ensure a food safety training course is in place. Also, offer follow-up training to answer any questions and to make sure that food safety best practices are being followed.
  2. Demonstrate and educate on safe food handling practices. This includes following proper cooking instructions and implementing processes to avoid cross contamination.
  3. Follow up with employees and make sure they are following proper hand hygiene practices and washing hands at key moments.

Food safety is critical to the success of your restaurant. Use these tips to enhance your food safety program so your restaurant can set the standard for food safety.