Take a close look at the recipes in your favorite cookbooks. Can you tell what is missing from most of the recipes? If you said safe food handling directions, then you are correct! In a study that reviewed 1,497 recipes that included a raw animal ingredient from 29 popular cookbooks, only 8% listed the final cooking temperature for the food and of these 28% gave an unsafe final temperature. Overall, positive food safety messages were given in only 5% of the recipes.
When it comes to food safety, everyone has an important role to play in handling food safely to prevent foodborne illness. In early 2019, the Partnership for Food Safety Education released a new Safe Recipe Style Guide that will help any recipe writer easily include basic directions when writing recipes to address the most common food safety mistakes in home kitchens: temperature, handwashing, cross-contamination and produce handling.
You might be saying to yourself: “I already handle food safely or no one has ever gotten sick from the food I prepare.” That is fantastic; however, between 2009 and 2010 about 21% of foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States were attributed to food consumed in the home. Studies have shown poor handwashing practices, failure to use a thermometer to check final cooking temperatures and practices that promote cross-contamination among consumers in the home as the major issues.
Since having safe handling instructions helps to improve food safety behavior, the Partnership for Food Safety Education developed simple, concise language focusing on four key aspects of safe food handling to include in recipes:
Incorporating a few basic safe food handling instructions in recipe directions helps to improve food safety practices in the home, reducing the risk for a foodborne illness.