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Food shows may teach bad food hygiene

Sept. 11, 2008 at 1:09 AM

LUBBOCK, Texas, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Texas Tech University researchers say some cable Food Network shows may inadvertently be teaching the wrong lessons.

The researchers analyzed food-safety practices used on some of the Food Networks' most popular shows: "30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray," "The Essence of Emeril," "Everyday Italian," "Paula's Home Cooking" and "Semi Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee."

The researchers analyzed 49 shows that aired over a two-week period and used 17 coded categories: six positive and 11 negative. Positive categories included hand washing, cleaning equipment, washing fruits and vegetables, adequate refrigeration, use of a thermometer or other positives.

Negative behaviors included: food from unsafe sources, failure to use a thermometer, use of food from the floor, failure to refrigerate perishables, failure to wash fruits or vegetables, inadequately washing equipment, sampling food or licking fingers, cross-contamination of ready-to-eat or raw foods, touching the face and failing to wash hands.

The results weren't exactly savory: 118 positive food-safety measures and 460 poor food handling incidents. Among the most noticeable bad behaviors were: not washing fruits, vegetables and herbs properly, as well as a lack of hand washing in general.

"These are important behaviors because if they're not followed you can become ill," Mindy Brashears said in a statement.

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