Celebrity chefs can turn viewers into dirty and unsafe cooks as they pick up their bad habits, a study has found.
Viewers pick up basic hygiene errors including wiping hands on tea towels, not washing chopping boards between preparing different ingredients, using finger tips to sprinkle salt or pepper and not washing hands after coughing, sneezing, scratching or touching their hair.
Professor Andreas Hensel, who carried out the study for the German Federal Institute For Risk Assessment (BfR), said: “The results show that important hygiene measures are often neglected in cooking shows, with one hygiene error being observed every 50 seconds on average.
“If you always wash your hands thoroughly after touching eggs, raw vegetables or meat, for example, and if you clean chopping boards after every working step, you can protect yourself and others from foodborne diseases.”
The researchers analysed 100 episodes of popular cooking shows to see if any health rules were broken.
There were errors on average every 50 seconds, with the most common being dirty hands wiped on a tea towel and chopping boards being reused without first being cleaned.
They then tested two groups of participants making chicken salad with home-made mayonnaise based on a cooking video – one of which showed a chef who followed recommendations and another which showed a cook with poor hygiene.