October 20, 2019

Safe Recipe Style Guide Launched To Improve Cookbooks

A new tool for cookbook authors that is intended to improve  consumers’ food safety behaviors at home has been launched. Safe Recipe Style Guide was issued by the Partnership for Food Safety Education. It will be used for any recipe writer and provides specific recipe text to address food safety issues in home kitchens.

Safe Recipe Style Guide

The Safe Recipe Style Guide addresses the four major areas of food safety violations that occur in home kitchens, including temperature, handwashing, cross-contamination, and produce handling. Studies have shown that when consumers follow recipes that incorporate these basic instructions, they increase food safety behaviors.

For instance, when a recipe writer wants to address doneness tests, they could write, “Cook until internal temperature reaches XX (fill in the blank and include chart with specific foods) on food thermometer.” Or, when addressing cooking with raw meats, poultry, seafood and eggs, writers could use these phrases: “Do not reuse marinades used on raw foods,” and “Do not rinse raw poultry or meat.”

The Guide was inspired by a study in the Journal of Food Protection. Researchers showed that when recipes contain food safety instructions that are deliberately included in the text, there is significant improvement in food safety behavior at home.

Dr. Sandra Goodwin, from Tennessee State University, said, “We were thrilled to observe that study participants who received recipes with food safety instructions demonstrated significantly improved food safety preparation behaviors compared to those who did not have instructions in the recipes. This told us that the recipes themselves might be one of our best food safety tools.”

Shelley Feist, executive director for the Partnership for Food Safety Education, added, “Our challenge was to figure out how to get these simple instructions incorporated into more recipes. That’s when we came up with the idea to provide food editors with a recipe writing style guide – just like the AP Stylebook – only this guide would provide easy ways to incorporate food safety instructions.”

Research has shown that consumers do not wash their hands after handling potentially contaminated foods, and most do not use a food thermometer when checking for doneness of foods such as meatloaf or grilled chicken. Reaching safe cooking temperatures will kill bacteria commonly found in foods, and make the food safe to eat. These common food safety mistakes sicken thousands of people every year in the U.S.

Partnership for Food Safety Education is planning to take a year to roll out the Safe Recipe Style Guide to help educate the media and food industry. The agency also has a team in place that can review and update existing recipes to make sure they comply with new food safety guidelines.

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