Nicole McGeehan, a Penn State Extensiuon Educator discussed food borne illnesses and food borne outbreaks.  48 million people acquire a food borne illness.  The causes are failing to cook adequately, food is being served at incorrect temperatures, contaminated foods and food handlers having poor personal hygeine.   Last year, they published an article titled, Are You Handling Food Safely at Home?  We all know that we should wash our hands before preparing food or that we should check the temperatures of foods, especially meats, to be sure they are thoroughly cooked. However, a recent report from the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicates that consumers (that’s you and me) need to work on improving our food handling practices in the home.

North Carolina State University (NCSU) and RTI International were contracted by FSIS and USDA to conduct meal preparation studies in actual food preparation situations to better evaluate consumer food handling behaviors. In the first part of a 5 part study, researchers focused on consumer use of food thermometers when cooking ground turkey patties.

Six test kitchens were set up in both urban and rural areas of North Carolina. Before preparing a meal in the kitchen participants were randomized into the treatment or control group. A total of 383 people participated in the study, 201 in the control group and 182 in the treatment group. The treatment group watched a 3- minute USDA food safety video on using a food thermometer to check the internal temperatures of food when cooking while the control group received no information. Cameras in the kitchens observed participant activity, specifically looking at use of the thermometer to check temperatures, final cooking temperature of the turkey burger, potential points of cross contamination and handwashing practices.  

The full article can be viewed at https://extension.psu.edu/are-you-handling-food-safely-at-home