Occasionally, one can find stories about how dirty homes can be. Here is more evidence, this time regarding unclean kitchens:
The small study from California’s Los Angeles County found that only 61 percent of home kitchens would get an A or B if put through the rigors of a restaurant inspection. At least 14 percent would fail — not even getting a C.
In comparison, nearly all Los Angeles County restaurants — 98 percent — get A or B scores each year.
On its own, these are interesting results: restaurant kitchens are generally more clean than home kitchens. But there is more to this story: how exactly researchers found out about the kitchens.
The study, released Thursday, is believed to be one of the first to offer a sizable assessment of food safety in private homes. But the researchers admit the way it was done is hardly perfect.
The results are based not on actual inspections, but on an Internet quiz taken by about 13,000 adults .
So it’s hard to use it to compare the conditions in home kitchens to those in restaurants, which involve trained inspectors giving objective assessments of dirt, pests, and food storage and handling practices.
What’s more, experts don’t believe the study is representative of all households, because people who are more interested and conscientious about food safety are more likely to take the quiz.
A more comprehensive look would probably find that an even smaller percentage of home kitchens would do well in a restaurant inspection, he suggested.
On one hand, this sounds like innovative research that is the first to provide a broad overview of the cleanliness of American kitchens. On the other hand, the way the data was collected suggests one should be wary about making definitive conclusions.
The online quiz is also reliant on self-reporting.