A new study says that teenagers are more likely to cross-contaminate raw foods when preparing frozen foods.
Researchers from Kansas State University sought to determine actual food handling behaviour of both adults and adolescents and what could be done to enhance the safety of frozen foods.
Lead author Doug Powell, K-State associate professor of food safety, found that teenagers were also less likely than adults to wash their hands while cooking.
Casey Jacob, a food safety research assistant at K-State said: "While half of the adults we observed washed their hands after touching raw chicken, none of the adolescents did.
"The non-existent hand washing rate, combined with certain age-specific behaviors like hair flipping and scratching in a variety of areas, could lead directly to instances of cross-contamination compared to the adults."
In addition to Jacob and Powell, other authors who contributed to the study were Sarah DeDonder, K-State doctoral student in pathobiology; Brae Surgeoner, Powell's former graduate student; Benjamin Chapman, an assistant professor at North Carolina State University and Powell's former graduate student; and Randall Phebus, K-State professor of animal science and industry.
The research was published in the November 2009 issue of the British Food Journal.