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Practice Food Safety at Home

Chris Brunner, July 1, 2014

Slicing raw chickenIt’s that time of the year when many of us fire up the grill and invite friends over for summer festivities. We hope our guests leave having enjoyed good company, delicious food and fine beverages.  We feel confident we’re not sending them home with a foodborne illness.  But maybe we’re a little too secure in our confidence of safely prepared food.

Risky Food Safety Practices

According to a recent study conducted by UC Davis, consumers are aware of food safety issues such as salmonella and the risk of foodborne illness, but many do not follow recommended food safety practices in preparing meals at home.  The study examined the preparation of raw poultry, and it found that most common risks stemmed from cross contamination and insufficient cooking.

The study analyzed video footage of 120 people preparing a self-selected chicken dish and salad in their own home kitchen.  The participants were experienced in chicken preparation.  As a matter of fact, 85 percent said they served chicken dishes in their home on a weekly basis. Eighty-four percent reported being knowledgeable about food safety, and 48 percent indicated they had received formal food safety training.

Cross Contamination

Cross contamination was a concern among the researchers.  The study found that 65 percent of the participants did not wash their hands before starting meal preparation and 38 percent did not wash their hands after touching raw chicken.

Half of the participants were seen washing their chicken in the sink prior to preparation.  This practice is not recommended as it leads to spreading bacteria over multiple surfaces in the kitchen.


Once the food was prepared for cooking, the concern turned to insufficient cooking. Only 29 percent of the participants knew the correct USDA recommended temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit for chicken and 40% of all the participants undercooked their chicken.  Only 48 percent of the participants reported owning a cooking thermometer.

UC Davis study identifies risky food safety practices at home.

In Conclusion

Wash your hands and don’t undercook the chicken.  Wash fruits and vegetables but not meat, poultry, or eggs.  Practice food safety in the kitchen and party on.