Study Looks at Food Handling and Preparation at Home

Study Looks at Food Handling and Preparation at Home

Happy Fourth of July — if you plan on doing some grilling today or later this weekend, a new study shows that most consumers need to improve food handling and preparation practices in their own kitchens, especially when it comes to chicken.


The study which was conducted by University of California Davis, emphasizes the need for increased food safety education for consumers and contains some results surprising to Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba.


Coba: “Forty-five percent of people wash their chicken. I have to put myself in that category because I was not aware you weren’t supposed to wash your chicken. Indeed, it’s better to not wash it. Just cook it thoroughly and it kills any food borne pathogens.” 


The study, which used a video camera to watch participants prepare a chicken dish in the home kitchen, found that 40 percent undercook chicken, most of the time hands are not washed properly, and food is not always stored at proper temperatures. It also shows that most people know about foodborne pathogens like Salmonella, but don’t always see a connection to their own kitchen.


Coba: “The study found that most people are very aware of food borne illnesses, but the vast majority of people believe the source of that illness is outside their home.”


Coba says the study documents several food safety mistakes made by consumers.


Coba: “Undercooked chicken, washing your chicken, hands are not washed thoroughly, food is not stored properly, and multiple opportunities for cross-contamination. All of these things, we need to pay attention to.” 

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