How can two different countries come up with two different recommendations – yet equally cheesy videos – on the basics of hamburger food safety?
Value assumptions in risk assessments.
My guess would be the UK Food Standards Agency thinks consumers can’t handle thermometers so they provide misguided and meaningless risk messages. And when talking about steaks, they don’t talk about needle- or blade tenderized steaks, in which the outside is pushed into the inside.
Those bureaucrats at UK’s Food Standards Agency are really yukking it up, focused on stupid jokes rather than evidence-based communications.
FSA has long been in its own undersirable class when talking about food safety risks, and class is so very important to the Brits.
FSA is great is talking at people rather than talking with people (a huge difference, like educating versus providing information).
FSA’s idea of risk communication is to commission a meaningless survey – people lie, especially about food and drink – which found that despite 71% of people stating that they are concerned about food poisoning, over a third (36%) of Brits would eat a burger that isn’t fully cooked through. More than one in 10 said that they actually prefer burgers cooked this way. When cooking them at home 81% of those admit to undercooking them. So we at the FSA are encouraging all those who are getting their barbecues out this weekend to ensure they cook their burgers all the way through – until steaming hot throughout, there’s no pink meat in the middle and the juices run clear.
Those scientifically meanginless terms – steaming hot, no pink – have featured prominently in FSA foodsafetytalk for years, with steaming hot replacing piping hot.
Lead FSA policy thingy said something that is not worth repeating because it ignores the risks associated with needle-tenderized steaks.
Cantaloupes, marketed as “Rocky Ford,” were implicated in the U.S. multistate outbreak of listeriosis in 2011, which caused multiple fatalities. Listeria monocytogenes can survive on whole cantaloupes and can be transferred to the flesh of melons.
The growth of L. monocytogenes on fresh-cut “Athena” and “Rocky Ford” cantaloupe cultivars during refrigerated storage was evaluated. Fresh-cut cubes (16.4 cm3) from field-grown cantaloupes were each inoculated with 5 log10 CFU/mL of a multi-strain mixture of L. monocytogenes and stored at 4°C or 10°C. Inoculated fresh-cut cubes were also: (1) continuously stored at 4°C for 3 days; (2) temperature-abused (TA: 25°C for 4 h) on day 0; or (3) stored at 4°C for 24 h, exposed to TA on day 1, and subsequently stored at 4°C until day 3. L. monocytogenes populations on fresh-cut melons continuously stored at 4°C or 10°C were enumerated on selected days for up to 15 days and after each TA event. Brix values for each cantaloupe variety were determined. L. monocytogenes populations on fresh-cut cantaloupe cubes stored at 4°C increased by 1.0 and 3.0 log10 CFU/cube by day 7 and 15, respectively, whereas those stored at 10°C increased by 3.0 log10 CFU/cube by day 7.
Populations of L. monocytogenes on fresh-cut cantaloupes stored at 10°C were significantly (p < 0.05) greater than those stored at 4°C during the study. L. monocytogenes showed similar growth on fresh-cut “Athena” and “Rocky Ford” cubes, even though “Athena” cubes had significantly higher Brix values than the “Rocky Ford” fruit.
L. monocytogenes populations on fresh-cut cantaloupes exposed to TA on day 1 and then refrigerated were significantly greater (0.74 log10 CFU) than those stored continuously at 4°C for 3 days. Storage at 10°C or exposure to TA events promoted growth of L. monocytogenes on fresh-cut cantaloupe during refrigerated storage.
Survival and growth of Listeria monocytogenes on fresh-cut “Athena” and “Rocky Ford” cantaloupes during storage at 4°C and 10°C
Nyarko Esmond, Kniel Kalmia E., Reynnells Russell, East Cheryl, Handy Eric T., Luo Yaguang, Millner Patricia D., and Sharma Manan. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. August 2016, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/fpd.2016.2160.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local officials are investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A illnesses linked to raw scallops.
The FDA and CDC are supporting the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) in an investigation of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infections linked to scallops supplied by Sea Port Products Corp. On August 17, 2016, Hawaii Department of Health reported that 206 people have been confirmed to have become ill with hepatitis A in that state.
On August 17, 2016, the FDA, Hawaii DOH, CDC and state partners informed Sea Port Products Corp that epidemiological, laboratory and traceback information indicates their scallops are the likely source of illnesses.
On August 18, 2016, Sea Port Products Corp initiated a voluntary recall of frozen Bay Scallops produced on November 23, 2015 and 24, 2015. The products were distributed to California, Hawaii, and Nevada. The FDA is working with the recalling firm to ensure their recall is effective and that recalled product is removed from the market.
Restaurants and other retailers should not sell or serve the recalled Bay Scallops. The recalled products were not sold directly to consumers. FDA advises consumers not to eat the recalled Bay Scallops. Consumers should ask the restaurant or retailer where their scallops came from to make sure they do not eat recalled Bay Scallops from Sea Port Products Corp.
The FDA’s traceback investigation involved working with Hawaii DOH to trace the path of food eaten by those made ill back to a common source. The traceback investigation determined that Sea Port Products Corp imported the scallops that were later supplied to certain Genki Sushi locations in Hawaii, where ill people reported eating.
On August 17, 2016, FDA laboratory analysis of two scallop samples, which were collected on August 11, 2016, were confirmed positive for hepatitis A. These samples were imported by Sea Port Products Corp.
A friend of Amy’s from her PhD days at the I-was-there-when-Tom-Brady-was-there University of Michigan and her family came over last night for dinner.
They’d been on the road a long time, so I figured a U.S.-styled meal of steak and two veg would be welcomed.
After a day of cleaning and cooking – seriously, me and two other semi-house dads I hang with at the kid’s school should jump on the food porn train with all the shopping and cooking we do and the discussions we have about how to make a slow-cooked chicken curry while also talking about the shit guys say on mic’d up hockey – Amy went off with her friend and family and I got to write.
Yet only a couple of hours into the adventure, I get this from Amy:
We went to a place for lunch in Noosa. I was going to get a burger but read that “All our burgers are USDA certified organic and served medium-rare.”
Use a thermometer and stick it in.
Only way to tell if something is microbiologically safe.
Robert Herriman of Outbreak News Today reports the number of people infected with the parasitic disease, trichinosis, has grown to 20 people in the Irkutsk region of Siberia, Russia, according to a Sib.fm report (computer translated).
The public health investigation reveals that the hunters contracted the parasite in May after preparing smoked bear meat which was consumed. Shortly after consuming the not fully cooked meat, they complained of feeling bad and went to the hospital.
One inmate who was hospitalized has filed a notice of claim with the county, a prelude to a lawsuit.
“Suffolk County comes with an affirmative obligation to supply its criminals in prison all food that’s free of any unhealthy or dangerous substance,” stated Andrew Siben a Bay Shore attorney representing the inmate, Shawn Carpenter.
Joe Sevier of Epicurious had unknowingly done me a favor, telling his food porn audience it’s OK to eat pink chicken, if it is temped for safety.
Suck on that Food Standards Scotland.
We’ve been trained as a society to treat pink poultry like anathema. Some cooks even go so far as to overcook chicken on purpose. But what if I told you some pink poultry is safe to eat? Would you believe me?
Amazingly, it’s true. When I spoke to Dr. Greg Blonder, a physicist and co-author of Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling, he explained why some pinkness will never fade. And if no amount of checking the chicken’s temperature will assuage your squeamishness, he offered some tips to avoiding pink poultry before you even bring it home from the store.
What causes cooked meat to turn pink?
“The majority of chickens sold in stores today are between six to eight weeks old,” says Blonder. Young chickens have hollow bones that are thinner and more porous than their older brethren. When cooked, “the purple marrow—so colored due to the presence of myoglobin, a protein responsible for storing oxygen—leaks into the meat.” This reaction, in effect, stains the bone; the color of the meat adjacent to it will not fade regardless of the temperature to which it’s cooked.
What about pink flesh nearer the surface? Certain cooking techniques—especially ones that use lower cooking temperatures, such as smoking—exacerbate the pink meat reaction. That pink smoke ring that’s a telltale sign of good barbecue? Myoglobin again. In fact, you don’t even need smoke to achieve that smoke ring.
Why is my chicken bloody in the first place?
Actually, it’s not. Blonder notes, “all commercially-sold chickens are drained of their blood during processing.” The pink, watery liquid you’re seeing is just that: water. The moisture that seeps from the chicken while it’s waiting for you to buy it mixes with that old rascal myoglobin, causing the pink “juices” that you see pooling around the packaged bird—it’s called myowater, FYI.
That same substance is what gushes forth when you cut into a cooking chicken to see if the juices run clear. Unfortunately, that’s a long-held measure of doneness that can’t be trusted. The only way to know if your bird is cooked through: a good quality thermometer. (Here’s the Epi favorite.) To check the temperature, stick the probe into the meatiest part of the bird—checking both the breast and thigh is a good idea. You’re looking for a finished temperature of 160ºF to 165ºF. Accounting for carry-over cooking and the size of whatever it is you’re cooking, that could mean pulling the chicken off the heat anywhere from 150ºF to 155ºF.
Whatever, pink meat still freaks me out
There are a couple of things you can do to avoid pink meat altogether.
First, debone the meat before it’s cooked. Without a myoglobin-y bone around to stain it, your chicken breast will be as pristinely white as possible.
Second, change the pH. A lot of factors are at play here, notes Blonder, and even the way an animal is slaughtered can significantly change the pH level (i.e. acidity) of its meat. Higher pH—i.e. lower acidity—means higher myoglobin and higher myoglobin means pink had better be your new obsession. If you’re not Steven Tyler, opt instead to marinate your meat in a marinade with a lot of citrus or vinegar. Introducing the meat to a high-acid environment will lower the pH and reduce the risk of that anxiety-inducing rosy hue.
Scotland, your overpaid food safety communications types got some explaining to do. If you can’t even get cooking chicken right, how can anyone believe your so-called science-based approach to food safety issues?
And every generation will have its Aerosmith. They aren’t the Stones or Floyd.