Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



Thesis Type

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Teresa Mares


Food Safety, Anthropology, Food and Culture


Foodborne illness represents a significant threat in the modern food system as an estimated 1 in 6 people in the United States get sick with a foodborne illness each year, resulting in approximately 3,000 deaths. These statistics seem to only confirm the fear among foodie-circles that the average person is too far removed from their own food and too much at the mercy of cooks and packaged foods. In the wake of the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011, hailed as the most important food reform since the 1970s, where do we find the gaps and discrepancies that continue to enable illness and outbreak? Is food simply inherently risky, and if so what do we do to mitigate those risks? The goal of this thesis is twofold: first, this thesis considers the current accepted system of food safety rules with an anthropological eye in order to better characterize these rules and understand the cultural significance behind them. Secondly, this thesis claims that cooks, both professional and informal, are generally not putting consumers at risk, ultimately suggesting that any major food safety discrepancies will be found in the broader levels of the industrial food system.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.