Use a thermometer: Coles BS guide to how to know if steak is done

Coles is one of the two major supermarkets in Australia.

coles.thermometerThey recruit celebrity chefs like Heston-norovirus Blumenthal and Curtis-aren’t-I-handsome Stone, while Woolworth’s goes for Jamie-watch-all-the-food-safety-mistakes-I-make Oliver.

The new sales go on sale on Wednesday, just like it was 1978.

The Coles electronic flyer has this: No hormones, no thermometers, total BS.

Although Amy did find this at a local Coles, MasterChef branded food-porn crap thermometers reduced to clear.


Is Juicy Lucy a safe burger? Use a thermometer

The Food Network with their BS recipes is another gift that keeps on giving.

juicy.lucyUse a tip-sensitive digital meat thermometer  and make sure it gets to 165F.

Forget the fluff below.

Lightly mix 6 ounces ground beef chuck with a big pinch of kosher salt. Form into two equal balls, and then shape into two flat patties. Lay two slices American cheese between them and form the meat around the cheese; make an indentation in the center of the patty. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat; sprinkle the skillet with salt. Cook the burger 4 to 5 minutes per side. Serve on a soft bun.

Happy food safe BD, BFF

I was going to put a candle in the sesame-seared tuna, but failed. have a way of distracting things.

For birthday lunch we went to our favourite fish monger, and then I went back to collect some scallops and tuna for Amy’s birthday dinner.

I overcooked some of the scallops (145F is sufficient) but they were still delicious.

The tuna was great.

Even the frozen green beans (I’m a big fan of the frozen food, growing up in Canada where fresh is available about six weeks) turned out well.

Seafood, champagne, computer, thermometer: it’s how we live.


Use a thermometer: Top food safety tips for BBQs

How hard can this be: use a thermometer.

barfblog.Stick It InSafefood Ireland, I don’t know when you published this BS, because there’s no date, but it showed up in in my feedly, uh, feed today.

The big issue when barbequing is making sure your food has been cooked thoroughly, all the way through. This is particularly important when cooking poultry, pork, minced and skewered meats, such as burgers, sausages and kebabs on the barbecue – while the outside may look cooked (and in some cases burnt), the inside can still be raw.

We recommend these meats should always be cooked until they are piping hot all the way through, with no pink meat remaining and the juices run clear. If you’ve got lots of people visiting your barbecue and want to ensure that meat is thoroughly cooked, you can pre-cook meat in your kitchen oven just before you put it on the barbeque for flavor.

How to know it’s cooked

When cooking foods on the barbeque, make sure to turn them regularly and move them around the grill to ensure they area cooked evenly on all sides – then remove them from the heat and place them on a clean plate. For meats that need to be cooked all the way through be sure to cut into the centre of them to check that:

They are piping hot all the way through

There is no pink meat left and

The juices run clear

Food safety BS (and taxpayer funded).

Use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer.

Stick it in.


Food Safety Talk 77: Sous vide is French for under vacuum

Food Safety Talk, a bi-weekly podcast for food safety nerds, by food safety nerds. The podcast is hosted by Ben Chapman and barfblog contributor Don Schaffner, Extension Specialist in Food Science and Professor at Rutgers University. Every two weeks or so, Ben and Don get together virtually and talk for about an hour.  They talk about what’s on their minds or in the news regarding food safety, and popular culture. They strive to be relevant, funny and informative — sometimes they succeed. You can download the audio recordings right from the website, or subscribe using iTunes.large_89552732661

Ben and Don start by catching up about technology. Ben is quite excited about Google fiber coming to Raleigh, NC, Don, already subscribed to Verizon fios says that the fiber is great. Ben then leads a discussion about his new obsession, the Wake Forest Community discussion board on Facebook. The page is a forum for pretty much anything from tooth abscesses, to snakes, to local business ratings. The guys delve into the community forum concept and explore the intersection with food safety (sale of goods, transportation from out of state). Don mentions that he has been volunteering with the innovation committee in Freehold borough who also is looking at a community forum.  Ben introduces the concept of lip dubbing and Don provides his favorite, a NFL video about reading of lips incorrectly.

The real food safety portion of the podcast starts by Don talking about Better Process Control School. Don talked about some feedback he was giving to a couple of small companies about aseptic processing, challenge studies and jacketed kettles, and expressed some frustration with FDA because sometimes their interpretation of science isn’t clear.

The discussion goes into regulatory hurdles, retail food safety, variances and HACCP plans. Ben talked about an individual that is interested in food sustainability who is looking to divert food waste from restaurants to pantries, using reduced oxygen packaging for storage and transport. The guys talk about regulating food even that is given away (but not it all states) and the variance process.

NC Senator Thom Tillis garnered headlines for suggesting that restaurants be allowed to opt out of handwashing regulations as long as they post a disclosure or advisory – or  replacing one regulation with another. The podcast ends with a discussion of a possible norovirus outbreak at NC State.

Chicago wins, I lose, TV chefs still suck

Now that the Chicago Blackhawks have entered dynasty town with three Stanley Cup wins in six years (Toronto is hopeless) and the wife is gloating because her team won and she got tenure, I’m at a loss for what I’ll watch as background while writing and cooking.

colbert.soccerThere’s TV chefs, but they’re dull.

One gloating Illinois reader suggested I watch soccer.


But only a PR flunky could come up with this headline: America’s favorite chef warns of food poisoning epidemic.

America’s favorite chef, Chef Remi has thrown a word of caution to the public of a food poisoning epidemic during the warm season.

He’s got the usual tips but at least recommends a thermometer “such as the Chef Remi Cooking Thermometer.”

I look forward to the verification data.

Cooking instructions on Aussie meat pie suck

Sometimes, I go for comfort food.

Occasionally, when the women are at their respective schools and there’s a National Hockey League final game on (at 10:20 a.m here) I’ll indulge in a frozen meat pie – a staple in Australia.

It cost $0.75 because I always buy things on clearance.

And I always use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer because I don’t trust the instructions and I don’t trust my microwave.

In 2007, ConAgra pot pies – the equivalent of an Australian meat pie — sickened at least 272 people in 35 U.S. states.

The company was told to change the cooking instructions and recommend that consumers use thermometers to verify.

meat.pie.label.15Maybe Australians haven’t heard about that one: sometimes the news takes awhile by steamship.

I followed the instructions in my man-cave this morning, and after resting, the temperature was 120F (49C) in the middle and 175F (79C) on the edges.

I heated some more.

Microwaves are good for reheating, terrible for uniform cooking.

And who knows if any verification has been done on these cooking instructions.

Food Network gets it right: Adds temps for grilled steak

OMG. There’s actually temperatures.

bobby.flay.steakBobby Flay writes: Heat your grill to high. Brush the steaks on both sides with oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Place the steaks on the grill and cook until golden brown and slightly charred, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the steaks over and continue to grill 3 to 5 minutes for medium-rare (an internal temperature of 135 degrees F), 5 to 7 minutes for medium (140 degrees F) or 8 to 10 minutes for medium-well (150 degrees F).

Transfer the steaks to a cutting board or platter, tent loosely with foil and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Science nonsense: No mention of thermometers for UK chicken

How can a supposed science-based organization be taken seriously when it won’t incorporate science-based recommendations into its taxpayer-payer funded advice?

chicken.thermMaybe the Brits think they above such pedantic notions.

According to the UK Food Standards Authority, chicken is safe as long as consumers follow good kitchen practice including, ake sure chicken is steaming hot all the way through before serving. Cut in to the thickest part of the meat and check that it is steaming hot with no pink meat and that the juices run clear.


FSA has just published results from its year-long survey of campylobacter on fresh chickens. Campylobacter is a food bug mainly found on raw poultry and is the biggest cause of food poisoning in the UK.

Cumulative results for samples taken between February 2014 and February 2015[1] have now been published as official statistics, including results presented by major retailer. The report can been found via the link further down this page.

The results for the full year show:

  • 19% of chickens tested positive for campylobacter within the highest band of contamination*
  • 73% of chickens tested positive for the presence of campylobacter
  • 1% (five samples) of packaging tested positive at the highest band of contamination
  • 7% of packaging tested positive for the presence of campylobacter

*More than 1,000 colony forming units per gram (>1,000 cfu/g). These units indicate the degree of contamination on each sample.

More than 4,000 samples of fresh whole chilled chickens and packaging have been tested. The chickens were bought from large UK retail outlets and smaller independent stores and butchers. The data shows variations between the retailers, but none has met the target for reducing campylobacter (see table below). A full analysis of the survey results, including the publication of the raw data and the full year results for smaller supermarkets and shops, is being carried out by the FSA and will be published later in the summer.

Further details of the ongoing testing of chickens for campylobacter were also confirmed by the FSA. A new survey will start this summer and once again sample fresh whole chickens from all types of shops. Continued testing will help the FSA to measure the impact of the interventions now being introduced by the industry to tackle campylobacter.

The FSA has welcomed the publication today of case studies by Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, the Co-op and Waitrose  showing the results of their recently implemented campylobacter reduction plans. The data show significant decreases in the incidence of campylobacter on their raw whole chickens. The tests were carried out on more recent samples than those taken from the FSA survey samples, with some targeted to demonstrate the effect of particular interventions.

Hamburgers and Memorial Day

As I devoured a 160F tip-sensitive thermometer verified hamburger this morning while watching Tampa beat New York in hockey playoffs, I was reminded that NY Times foodie Sam Sifton took 1,600 words last year to describe how to cook the ‘perfect burger’ and no mention of thermometers.

The Times wonders why it’s losing readers (and please, stop sending me the daily offers to resubscribe for almost nothing, it’s embarrassing).

Food porn always trumps food safety, until someone gets sick.

Bask in Memorial Day, my fellow U.S. citizens, remember those who gave and continue to give, and try not to make anyone barf.

hamburger-safe and unsafe-thumb-450x138-175