Why You Should Worry About Germs in the Kitchen

How conscious are consumers about germs in the kitchen? “Not nearly enough,” says researcher Janet Anderson of Utah State University.

Anderson and her colleagues videotaped 100 volunteers as they prepared a chicken, fish, or meatloaf entrée and a salad at home. The participants were told that they were taking part in a market research study to see how people prepared their food. But the researchers were really observing the volunteers’ kitchen hygiene.

“When we go into the kitchen to cook, most of us fall into old habits,” says Anderson, who is an associate professor of nutrition and food sciences. “We’re thinking about work or the kids or something else, and not about the possibility of food poisoning.”