Reading, writing, arithmetic and...hand washing? Personal hygiene might seem like an odd addition to the academic canon, but a new study found that a significant portion of home cooks may not have mastered the basics of kitchen cleanliness. This can have some pretty serious impact on the health of the people they feed.
As we’ve noted many, many times before, if it seems like foodborne illness is on the rise, that’s because it is. About 48 million people contract some form of food poisoning each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and salmonella is often the culprit. The bacterial infection causes an estimated 1.3 million illnesses each year in the United States.
While the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service hopes to tackle that toll with the help of a “Salmonella Action Plan," only part of the effort is centered around creating best practices for food inspectors and farmers. The rest will be focused on teaching consumers about food safety.
For Dr. Christine Bruhn, a plan for public education can’t come quickly enough. As director of the Center for Consumer Research and a professor and researcher with the UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology, Bruhn has spent her career advocating for better public awareness of the risks consumers face from food, and the role they play in their own well-being.