Monday, June 30, 2014

Americans need “cooking for dummies’” advice

Americans break a lot of rules when it comes to cooking chicken, according to a study by the University of California at Davis.

About 65 per cent of the cooks didn’t wash their hands with soap and water before and after handling raw chicken and turkeys.

That means they’re likely to spread harmful bacteria which, according to other studies, are on a majority of birds bought at supermarkets.

Those who did wash didn’t do it long or thoroughly enough. Only 10 per cent who did wash kept it up for the recommended 20 seconds; a third didn’t use soap.

About half washed their raw chickens and turkeys in the sink, which is a no-no.

“The most surprising aspect of these findings to me was the prevalence of undercooking,” said the report’s author, Christine Bruhn, director of the Center for Consumer research at the university.

Forty percent failed to cook their poultry enough, regardless of preparation method; only 29 percent knew the correct temperature of 75 degrees Celsius (165 Fahrenheit) recommended by the United States Depsrtment of Agriculture.

Few used a thermometer; only 48 per cent owned one.

Most eye-balled results. Nobody calibrated their thermometers to ensure accuracy. 

Based on the study’s findings, a coalition of agriculture and food safety partners, is launching an educational campaign to increase consumer knowledge about safe food preparation practices in the home.

Partners include the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the University of California at Davis, the California Poultry Federation, the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the Washington State Department of Agriculture, the Northwest Chicken Council, Partnership for Food Safety Education and Foster Farms.