May 17, 2023

Food Safety Confidence Outpaces What People Really Know in the Kitchen

Only Half of Consumers Know the Correct Internal Temperature for Chicken
Washington D.C. – Research twice, cook once, when considering your next homecooked meal according to new National Restaurant Association data showing a large gap between consumer trust in food safety training and their actual knowledge of best practices.

The national online survey of 1,010 adults this month assessed practices and perceptions of safe food handling in the home and in restaurants.

When it comes to restaurant dining, 94% of consumers have confidence that the food prepared is safe, and 98% say all employees in a restaurant should be properly trained in food safety. This confidence carries over to take-out, with another 93% saying they are very (41%) or somewhat confident (52%) that the food is safe to eat.

“Food safety is paramount to the success of a restaurant, so it’s no surprise that consumers are confident that restaurants are properly training staff,” said Patrick Guzzle, VP of Food Science and Industry with the National Restaurant Association. “Foodservice workers are required to know tremendous amounts of information because, at the end of the day, they want to ensure the safety of their customers. For people at home, we hope this survey opens their eyes to important food safety practices.”

When asked about cooking at home, only 14% of consumers feel confident they know recommended practices for the safe handling and preparation of food. For example, while 78% of adults say they are very familiar with raw meat preparation, only 53% know the proper internal temperature for cooked chicken is 165 degrees falling to 32% for Gen Z adults.

Serving undercooked chicken can cause severe food poisoning or even death, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Restaurant chefs have checklists and kitchen managers help them ensure their kitchens are meeting food safety standards,” says Larry Lynch, SVP of Health, Safety & Regulatory Services with the National Restaurant Association. “Home cooks aren’t often reminded how important the basic steps of cleaning and cooking properly are to serving safe meals.”

Some Generations Know More Than Others

The data shows most (70%) people are confident they are familiar with the recommended food safety practices restaurants are required to follow. Millennials are the most confident that they are familiar with the practices (76%), while Boomers are the least confident (66%).

When it comes to allergens, nearly two-thirds of people (63%) say they are familiar with allergen considerations. Boomers have the lowest level of familiarity (54%) while millennials (72%) and Gen Z adults have the highest (71%).

Despite familiarity with allergen considerations, 86% of respondents feel peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are safe for children’s menus at restaurants. Yet few restaurants offer peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on kid’s menus because of allergen requirements.

About the National Restaurant Association

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises more than 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 15.5 million employees. Together with 52 State Associations, we are a network of professional organizations dedicated to serving every restaurant through advocacy, education, and food safety. We sponsor the industry's largest trade show (National Restaurant Association Show); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart). For more information, visit and find @WeRRestaurants on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.