The Missing Ingredient: Food Safety Messages on Popular Recipe Blogs

Emily Morrison, Ian Young Biblographic citation: Food Protection Trends, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 28-39, Jan 2019 Volume 39, Issue 1: Pages 28–39

Recipe bloggers are social media influencers who have the potential to spread food safety messages to large audiences. Recipes from 50 popular recipe blogs were evaluated, using a structured, pre-tested coding form to determine whether food safety messages on blogs aligned with current government recommendations. Of the 784 recipes that met the selection criteria, 479 included as ingredients meats for which specific endpoint temperatures are suggested by national health authorities. The use of a thermometer to ensure adequate cooking was suggested in 16.9% (n = 81) of recipes, a recommendation that was more likely for certain types of meat than others (P < 0.001). Where endpoint temperatures were provided (n = 79), 60.8% were correct (n = 48). Endpoint temperatures were often paired with incorrect subjective doneness indicators. Among recipes containing fresh produce (n = 304), 3.3% (n = 10) suggested washing produce to be consumed raw. Instructions on storing leftovers were provided for 4.0% of recipes (n = 31), 55% of which (n = 17) correctly corresponded to government guidelines. The lack of food safety messages on popular recipe blogs shows that efforts are needed to encourage bloggers to promote safe food handling to consumers.

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