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Gwyneth Paltrow’s Cookbook Could Give You Food Poisoning

In a review of 29 celebrity cookbooks, including the Goop founder’s, North Carolina State University found that many failed to give reliable food safety instructions.
Photo via Flickr user WEBN-TV

Gwyneth Paltrow isn't afraid of sharing dietary advice—the dodgier the better in some cases. The Goop founder has claimed that dropping the f-bomb can change the chemical structure of water (who wants to drink those bad vibes, man?), reportedly thinks octopus are "too smart" to be eaten, and touts a $185 smoothie made with moon dust. Unsurprisingly, many of these pearls of food wisdom have been called into question by nutrition experts.


And now, the genital-steaming queen of green juice has managed to fall foul of the food experts once again. This time, it concerns a certain roast chicken recipe.

A new study carried out by researchers at North Carolina State University reveals that many celebrity cookbooks from US-based authors like Paltrow, Rachael Ray, and Ina Garten give readers bad food safety advice and increase the risk of food poisoning. The report, which reviewed 1,497 recipes from 29 cookbooks on The New York Times bestseller list for food and diet, found widespread food safety failings with regard to handling raw ingredients and cooking temperatures.

Published earlier this week in the British Food Journal, the study showed that of the recipes analysed for food safety warnings, only 89 (just over half) gave reliable information on reducing the risk of foodborne illness. That roast chicken recipe from Paltrow's book, It's All Good, for example, instructs readers to wash and dry a chicken before cooking—something the Food Standards Agency strongly condemns as it can spread campylobacter, a potentially fatal bacteria.

The researchers also found that just 8 percent of recipes reviewed mentioned cooking dishes to a specific temperature and 99.7 percent gave subjective information on how to tell whether food was cooked properly ("When the juices run clear" for poultry or simply "cook until done," for example). Despite variables in oven efficiency and size of the dish being cooked, 44 percent of the recipes reviewed relied on cooking time as an effective way of ensuring food was cooked to a safe temperature.

Katrina Levine, lead author of the study and researcher at NC State's agricultural and human sciences department, said in a press release that judging cooked food by sight or cooking time alone isn't enough to prevent food poisoning. She said: "Cooking meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs to a safe internal temperature kills off pathogens that cause foodborne illness. These temperatures were established based on extensive research, targeting the most likely pathogens found in each food."

Levine and her team's research echoes findings released last year by the University of Massachusetts, which showed that many popular cookery programmes contained bad food safety practices and did not comply with basic government hygiene recommendations.

Just as well none of us actually follow recipes, eh?