Why TV Cooking Shows Could Be Bad For Your Health: Study Shows Programs Fail To Display Food Safety Measures

Are you excited for VH1’s forthcoming cooking show Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party? So are we — but a new study has revealed that television cooking shows could actually be harming our health.

These shows have a rich history of teaching home cooking in the United States, but the study reported that this programming could lead to poor food safety practices among consumers if they follow cues on the TV instead of recommended safety standards. 

dishes Are television cooking shows modeling proper food safety standards? Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Researchers reached this conclusion after developing a 19-question survey which measured hygienic food practices, use of utensils and gloves, protection from contamination, as well as cooking time and temperature control. From there, a panel of state regulators and food safety practitioners watched 10 popular cooking shows and participated in the assessment. Each person watched two to six episodes per show, totaling 39 episodes.

"There are many opportunities on cooking shows to educate the public regarding safe food handling practices and help reduce the incidence of foodborne illness," lead author Nancy L. Cohen said, according to a statement. "Similarly, nutrition and food safety educators could work with the media to produce shows that demonstrate positive food safety behaviors and educate consumers about food safety practices as they adopt recipes."

Cooking shows have taken some heat from other recent research. A 2015 study from the University of Vermont suggested that television cooking shows might be making viewers gain weight. Medical Daily previously reported that researchers discovered women who watched food television and frequently cooked from scratch scored higher on the body mass index (BMI) than those who relied on friends and family, print publications, and cooking classes for recipes.

Source: Cohen NL, Olson RB. Compliance With Recommended Food Safety Practices in Television Cooking Shows. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 2016.

Read more:

Cooking Shows May Negatively Affect Women's BMI: Why TV Chefs Should Cook Healthier Food

Cook At Home To Stay Healthy: How Dining In Protects You From Chronic Diseases

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