4 Unsafe Food Mistakes Restaurant Chefs Might Be Making
You’ll want to cook your own stuff after reading this
By Christa Sgobba
Going to a high-star, award-winning restaurant is no guarantee you’re not going to leave with the heaves: Chefs and catering students at many restaurants frequently commit a bunch of unsafe food handling behaviours—and there’s no evidence that such habits are any less frequent at the more expensive places, research from the University of Manchester in the U.K. finds. In the study, researchers recruited 238 chefs and culinary students in the U.K. about their food-handling behaviours. They discovered that the people you trust to handle your food might actually be putting you at risk. Read on to find what they’re doing behind the kitchen doors.
UNSAFE FOOD BEHAVIOUR: NOT WASHING THEIR HANDS
Just over seven percent of the cooking pros admit that they don’t always immediately wash their hands after handling raw meat, poultry, or fish. And it was more prevalent in the ritzy places: Working in a fine-dining establishment upped the odds of not washing their hands by 18 percentage points, the study found. And skipping on soaping up is a problem: They can be spreading bacteria from the raw meat to other surfaces around the kitchen, or to ready-to-eat foods. And that, of course, can make you sick. It’s not just a problem in restaurants, either. People aren’t doing a great job of washing up in their home kitchens, either. The researchers also surveyed 926 home cooks, and found 14 percent of them admitted they didn’t wash their hands after touching raw meat.
UNSAFE FOOD BEHAVIOUR: SERVING SPOILING MEAT
A whopping one in three chefs and employed catering students report they’ve worked in a kitchen that served meat “on the turn,” a subjective measure of fresh or raw meat that indicates it’s spoiling, usually by smell or taste. That’s a concern for public health, since eating expired meat could make you sick. But it’s not new: “The practice is a long-established means of reducing costs in restaurants,” the researchers write. In many cases, they mask the meat with rich, heavy sauces.
UNSAFE FOOD BEHAVIOUR: RETURNING TO WORK TOO SOON AFTER SICKNESS
In the study, 32 percent of the chefs and students report working in a kitchen within 48 hours of experiencing diarrhea or vomiting. This might be because they’re afraid of losing their job, letting down their coworkers, or missing out on a shift’s pay. Chefs who worked in award-winning kitchens were more likely to return to work too soon after getting sick, too.
UNSAFE FOOD BEHAVIOUR: SERVING CHICKEN THAT MIGHT NOT BE COOKED
Nearly 16 percent of the chefs and students admit they have served chicken when they were not sure it was fully cooked. In fact, they were more likely than the general public cooking at home to serve chicken they weren’t sure was cooked.
Originally published on menshealth.com