Will Food Network Shows Be Shuttered For Unsanitary Practices?

Let’s hope the Texas Tech administration was sitting upon a surplus when they approved a grant for this latest study.

Titled The International Center for Food Industry Excellence, the study is intended to “conduct systematic development and evaluation of food products from farm to table and to address the food-related concerns of the society.” Earlier this week researchers presented their findings:  Paula Dean licks her fingers.

As Super Chef reported yesterday, part of the study included a two-week evaluation concerning 49 of your favorite Food Network programs, such as 30 Minute Meals with Rachael RayThe Essence of EmerilEveryday Italian,Paula’s Home Cooking, and Semi Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee.

The findings were disconcerting:

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, and touching the face.

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

Unfortunately for Paula Dean and her home cooking, her show ranked the lowest – she just couldn’t resist putting her fingers into her mouth – while her colleagues Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee, were noted for more desirable hygienic practices.

Cindy Akers, associate professor and director of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Student Services Center defended the study “We realize these are time-limited entertainment programs and not documentaries, but some food safety behaviors could be better incorporated.”

With a reported 85 million households tuned into Food Network programs proponents advocate it is a vital source in encouraging positive and negative habits.

In either case, the study is still more tolerant than the New York City DOH. 

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