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NC researcher finds lax food safety in restaurants

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RALEIGH, N.C. -- Here's an unappetizing thought: A review of restaurant food safety practices found that a typical kitchen worker cross-contaminates food with potentially dangerous pathogens about once per hour.

A North Carolina State University researcher found risky behaviors like workers using aprons and other garments to dry hands, as well as using the same utensils and surfaces to prepare both raw and cooked foods.

Ben Chapman is an assistant professor and food safety specialist who used video cameras in eight restaurant kitchens to monitor worker food safety habits.

Chapman says the risky behaviors were most prevalent during busy periods. For example, some employees didn't attempt to wash their hands during lunch and breakfast rushes.

Chapman's findings were published in the June issue of the Journal of Food Protection.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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