The Safe Recipe Style Guide

The Safe Recipe Style Guide

December 11, 2019
Shari Steinbach

By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor

In March of this year, the Partnership for Food Safety Education (PFSE) launched a new tool that is expected to dramatically improve consumers’ food safety behaviors at home. The new Safe Recipe Style Guide is designed for use by anyone who writes and publishes recipes for distribution to the public. The guide provides specific recipe text that focuses on the four areas of most food safety issues in home kitchens: temperature, handwashing, cross contamination and produce handling.  The guide can be found online at The inspiration for the guide came from a study in the Journal of Food Protection¹ that shows significant improvement in food safety behavior in home kitchens when recipes contain food safety instructions written into the text. Recipes can actually serve as a food safely education tool. The PFSE decided the best way to get the simple instructions added to more recipes was to create a recipe writing style guide that would provide how-to instructions. It is intended to be used as a supplement to the AP Stylebook.

Since retail dietitians often provide recipes and food preparation instruction to shoppers, there can be several opportunities to use this guide to help consumers prevent foodborne illness and keep families safe and healthy. For example:

  • Include food safety instructions on take out containers of prepared foods, heat and eat products or meal kits. 
  • Add food safety talking points to recipe demos and include on any recipe card handouts.
  • Make food safety a focus of any cooking classes you conduct. Demonstrate the basics like hand washing, how to properly take food product temperatures, avoiding cross contamination and how to properly wash produce.
  • If you partner with CPG companies and utilize their recipes, make sure to ask about the inclusion of the food safety steps. 
  • Educate corporate chefs on the Safe Recipe Style Guide so they can incorporate messages to any recipes they develop for in-store use or private brands.
  • Integrate food safety messages into any meal and recipe promotional themes such as back-to-school and family meals month.
  • Use the topic of food safety to cross merchandise meat thermometers, cutting boards, hand washing soap and produce brushes when doing demos or classes.
  • Provide key food safety tips when conducting a media segment or Facebook live recipe demo

¹J Food Prot.2016 Aug;79(8):1436-9, Recipe Modification Improves Food Safety Practices during Cooking of Poultry. Maughan CGodwin SChambers DChambers E IV.