Raising Awareness about the Risks of Food Contamination When Cooking with a Cellphone
People nowadays are heavily dependent on their gadget as a cooking aid, especially in instances when they need to look at a recipe, or convert measurements. However, have awareness that it can be quite risky to use personal electronic devices while cooking.
While many food bloggers are finding it more convenient to use surface pro alternatives as better kitchen companion in light of their versatility and affordability as a laptop that can be converted into a tablet, they should also have awareness about the risks of cross contamination while using their gadget in the kitchen.
Bloggers find it convenient to easily type and upload content in their platforms while in the kitchen, and after using it as a recipe book in its tablet form. Despite the flexibility afforded by the device, it’s of great importance to know how to avoid potential cross contamination.
FDA Performs Studies on Consumer Behaviors in Relation to Cellphone Use While Cooking
Earlier studies show that cellphones harbor microorganisms including bacterial pathogens. Recently, FDA researchers evaluated the findings of a 2016 Food Safety Survey and of how present day consumers and not only food bloggers, frequently use their smartphones and tablets when cooking.
At FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). Michael Bazaco Ph.D, a researcher at the Office of Analytics and Outreach discussed what they already know and what they are still trying to know. They already know that microorganisms thrive in smartphones, including pathogens that cause infectious diseases.
Although there is still no concrete evidence to support their claim that devices can cause foodborne illnesses, what the researchers want to find out are the actions taken by consumers to protect themselves in the meantime.
Current Studies on Potential Cellphone Cross Contamination as Cause of Foodborne Diseases
Studies regarding pathogen contamination on smartphones are taking long because information is limited; particularly on kitchens of consumer households. The goal is to determine if this needs to be addressed and how they should be addressed, after understanding the threats they pose as a home-cooking aid.
Dr. Bazaco explained that such studies can be done through targeted microbiological surveillance sampling of kitchen environments, of the device owners, and of the devices used. Potential risks could also be recognized and understood through investigations of a household, during a resulting foodborne outbreak, which requires assessing the survival of pathogens.
Consumers basically use their smart devices daily anywhere, it is only logical for researchers analyze consumer attitudes, knowledge and behavior regarding the safety of cellphones when in use during food preparations.
Study of Consumer Behaviors in the Use of Cellphones When Cooking
Amy Lando, MPP, one of Dr. Bazaco’s colleagues, mentioned that most of the respondents were not aware of the safety issue posed by smartphones. Yet respondents from both survey and focus groups reported that they were more inclined to wash their hands after handling food associated with bacteria.
Yet only thirty-seven percent of both groups claimed they washed their hands after touching their personal electronic gadgets. The figure is a lot lower when compared to those who wash hands after handling raw meat, chicken, fish or other sticky ingredients.
What Consumers Should Observe When Using Their Personal Gadgets While Handling and Cooking Food?
FDA’s Michael Bazaco and Amy Lando recommend that consumers should acknowledge that their device can be a potential contaminator. To minimize the risk of contamination while cooking, they have to lessen the frequency of having physical contact with their personal devices and to always wash hands after each contact.
Additionally, others have created ways to avoid device contact by utilizing their knuckles, elbows, pinkies if they need to touch their phone. Some others simply ask Siri or Alexa to avoid touching their device. However, those who use these methods usually do so to keep their devices free from cooking mess. In most cases, they just clean their devices with cloths, wipes, and screen cleaners.