A food TikToker's tip for peeling potatoes faster has sparked an intense online debate about kitchen safety

A food TikToker's tip for peeling potatoes faster has sparked an intense online debate about kitchen safety
Several users on TikTok filmed themselves trying the technique at home.Screenshots from TikTok.
  • A food content creator shared her technique for peeling potatoes faster on TikTok.
  • She showed viewers that they can use the peeler's swiveling blade to move forwards and backward.

A food content creator shared a tip for peeling potatoes on TikTok and sparked a huge debate on the app as many users branded the advice unsafe.

On April 3, Jennifer Abernathy, who has 141,000 followers on TikTok, shared a video about a method for peeling potatoes in which she moved the peeler back and forth continuously.

"Did you know the reason why potato peelers swivel back and forth is so that you can not only go down but forward when you're peeling so that you can peel the entire thing super fast without having to actually lift the peeler off of the vegetable," she said in the video while demonstrating the technique.

Her video blew up, receiving 8.4 million views, compared to most of her posts, which receive thousands of views each.

@jenniabs3 Did you know? #kitchengadgets ♬ original sound - Dinner Recipes | Kitchen Tools

Abernathy, who typically posts recipes and cooking tips on TikTok, asked viewers to comment, stating how they prefer to peel their potatoes at home. Instead, some comments and stitches expressed shock when they realized they could move the peeler forwards and backwards.


But many commenters had a negative response to her video, saying they thought it looked unsafe to move the peeler towards her hand while peeling potatoes, and suggesting it could increase the risk of a person cutting themselves.

Arguments also broke out in the comments section as viewers disputed Abernathy's claim that some peelers swivel in order for them to be used in this way, saying it was actually to accommodate both left-handed and right-handed people. (Multiple retailers of swivel peelers list the latter as a benefit to the design.)

@livlaflove79 #stitch with @jenniabs3 what the heck! LOL! I literally feel dumb right now #tiktoklessons #learnedsomethingnew #imspeechless #potatopeeler #kitchengadgets #momsoftiktok #nokidding #stitch ♬ original sound - livlaflove79

Abernathy told Insider over email that she stands by her initial advice, saying that she believes people are wary about peeling towards their body because they "were taught that as kids and it just stuck with them into adulthood," adding that she has seen many chefs on television peeling produce towards their hands and bodies.

A 2016 study in the Journal of Public Health, which analyzed 100 celebrity chef television show episodes, concluded that these chefs broadly demonstrated "limited" use of proper food safety measures related to hygiene and food safety. When it comes to the handling of sharp objects, The Washington Post reported in 2018 that home cooks do not need to mimick the actions performed by celebrity chefs to achieve the same results when chopping produce, as there are safer alternatives.

The content creator responded to negative feedback on her video by posting an additional demonstration on her potato peeling method on April 5, saying she feels safe while implementing the method because she never lifts her blade off the potato to reduce the risk of cutting her skin. She has since been sharing other tips on peeling and cutting food on her TikTok page.

@jenniabs3 Replying to @ouhhoh_ @jenniabs3 ♬ original sound - Dinner Recipes | Kitchen Tools

While there is some debate about the ideal way to use a potato peeler on online cooking websites, and the issue is sometimes seen as a matter of personal preference and responsibility, it is broadly thought that the safest way to use the instrument is by peeling away from the body.

The Association of UK Dietitians recommends placing the vegetable on a chopping board and peeling away from your hand towards the board. Meanwhile, an article published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in the US notes that there is a risk of potato peelers slipping in a user's hand and causing injury, and recommends handling the instrument with clean and dry hands to mitigate this risk.

Advice, life hacks, and trends that have potentially dangerous implications often go viral on TikTok, typically sparking debate among viewers and creators about whether they should be promoted on the app.

According to TikTok's community guidelines, the platform does not permit the promotion of dangerous activities by its creators, which includes "content that shows the potentially inappropriate use of dangerous tools or objects." Representatives for TikTok did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

For more stories like this, check out coverage from Insider's Digital Culture team here.