The International Food Information Council is reporting that Americans’ food safety habits are getting worse, not better, despite a slew of recent high-profile illness outbreaks.

The deterioration in food safety habits appears to be across the board.  According tot he IFIC study, fewer Americans are washing hands with soap and water; washing cutting boards with soap and water or bleach; cooking foods to the proper temperature; and storing raw meat and poultry separately from ready to eat products.

The Council’s CEO, David Schmidt has it right:  "It is impossible to overstate the importance of following proper food safety practices. Clearly Americans understand the need for these practices, but they still can do a better job of handling food properly at home, which potentially decreases the risk of foodborne illness.”

The study reported that another problem area was properly following microwave cooking instructions.  This is especially troubling in light of a recent New York Times article that indicated that coprorations were increasingly relying on consumers’ ability to do just that to prevent foodborne illness.