‘Some pink or no pink?’ Hamburger safety BS

My latest from Texas A&M’s Center for Food Safety:

HomePage_BURGERThe UK Food Standards Agency, created in the aftermath of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) mess, has sunk to new science-based lows and should be abolished.

This is not an evidence-based agency, but rather a lapdog for British arrogance.

For years I have criticized the FSA for their endorsement of piping hot as a safe cooking standard.

It is a regulators job to promote policies based on the best scientific evidence, not to appeal to cooking-show inspired public opinion.

For all the taxpayer-supplied millions provided to FSA the best they can do is appeal to the lowest common denominator.

FSA has published details of a proposed new approach to the preparation and service of rare (pink) burgers in food outlets.

The increased popularity of burgers served rare has prompted the FSA to look at how businesses can meet this consumer demand while ensuring public health remains protected.

hamburger.thermometerThe FSA’s long-standing advice has been that burgers should be cooked thoroughly until they are steaming hot throughout, the juices run clear and there is no pink meat left inside.

This long-standing advice is stupid, because hamburgers can appear pink yet safely cooked, or brown and undercooked. It has to do with myoglobin in the animal at the age it was slaughtered.

This research was published by Melvin Hunt of Kansas State University in 1998.

But FSA knows better.

They say controls should be in place throughout the supply chain and businesses will need to demonstrate to their local authority officer that the food safety procedures which they implement are appropriate. Examples of some of these controls are:

  • sourcing the meat only from establishments which have specific controls in place to minimise the risk of contamination of meat intended to be eaten raw or lightly cooked;
  • ensuring that the supplier carries out appropriate testing of raw meat to check that their procedures for minimising contamination are working;
  • strict temperature control to prevent growth of any bugs and appropriate preparation and cooking procedures; and,
  • providing consumer advice on menus regarding the additional risk from burgers which aren’t thoroughly cooked.

Maybe British inspectors have special bacteria-vision goggles.

Professor Guy Poppy, Chief Scientific Adviser for the Food Standards Agency, said: ‘We are clear that the best way of ensuring burgers are safe to eat is to cook them thoroughly but we acknowledge that some people choose to eat them rare. The proposals we will be discussing with the FSA board in September strike a balance between protecting public health and maintaining consumer choice.’

Not once was a thermometer mentioned. And that’s standard procedure in the U.S., Canada and Australia.

It didn’t take the Daily Mail long to point out that under the proposal, people can eat burgers that are cooked rare and pink in the middle in restaurants, but not at home or on the barbecue.

barfblog.Stick It InThe move follows pressure from some gourmet burger, pub and restaurant chains who argue that the meat tastes better if it is still pink in the middle.

The proposal, which will have to be approved by the FSA board next month, will also lift the risk of prosecution of food outlets by council environmental health officers.

Officials at the FSA say consumers should be allowed to take an adult decision when eating out whether they want to eat a burger that is pink in the middle.
But it is also arguing that people cannot take this same adult decision when cooking burgers at home.

‘The FSA’s long-standing advice has been that burgers should be cooked thoroughly until they are steaming hot throughout, the juices run clear and there is no pink meat left inside.

These piping hot morons should not be taken seriously by any scientist and should be turfed.

Color sucks. Stick it in and use a thermometer.

 Dr. Douglas Powell is a former professor of food safety who shops, cooks and ferments from his home in Brisbane, Australia.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the original creator and do not necessarily represent that of the Texas A&M Center for Food Safety or Texas A&M University.

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152 sick with Salmonella from whole pigs: Kapowsin Meats expands recall of pork product

This release is being reissued to expand the August 13, 2015 recall to include additional products. Details of this release were also updated to reflect a change in poundage, epidemiological informational and distribution area.

pig.roast.appleKapowsin Meats, a Graham, Wash. establishment, is recalling approximately 523,380 pounds of pork products that may be contaminated with Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:-, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

FSIS has been conducting intensified sampling at Kapowsin Meats while this establishment took steps to address sanitary conditions at their facility after the original recall on August 13, 2015. Sampling revealed positive results for Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- on Whole Hogs for Barbeque, associated pork products and throughout the establishment. FSIS has deemed sanitary improvement efforts made by the Kapowsin Meats insufficient, and the scope of this recall has been expanded to include all products associated with contaminated source material. The establishment has voluntarily suspended operations.

The whole hogs and associated items were produced on various dates between April 18, 2015 and August 26, 2015. The following products are subject to recall:

Varying weights of boxed/bagged Whole Hogs for Barbeque

Varying weights of boxed/bagged fabricated pork products including various pork offal products, pork blood and pork trim. 

The product subject to recall bears the establishment number “Est. 1628” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The product was shipped to various individuals, retail locations, institutions, and distributors in Alaska, Oregon and Washington.        

On July 15, 2015, the Washington State Department of Health notified FSIS of an investigation of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- illnesses. Working in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), FSIS determined that there is a link between whole hogs for barbeque and pork products from Kapowsin Meats and these illnesses. Traceback investigation has identified 36 case-patients who consumed whole hogs for barbeque or pork products from this establishment prior to illness onset. These illnesses are part of a larger illness investigation. Based on epidemiological evidence, 152 case-patients have been identified in Washington with illness onset dates ranging from April 25, 2015 to August 12, 2015. FSIS continues to work with our public health partners on this ongoing investigation.                        

pig.sexConsumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated product. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment. In some persons, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider.

FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them, and should throw them away or return the products to the place of purchase.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

 FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume pork and whole hogs for barbeque that have been cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145° F with a three minute rest time. The only way to confirm that whole hogs for barbeque are cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature, http://1.usa.gov/1cDxcDQ. For whole hogs for barbeque make sure to check the internal temperature with a food thermometer in several places. Check the temperature frequently and replenish wood or coals to make sure the fire stays hot. Remove only enough meat from the carcass as you can serve within 1-2 hours.

Media and consumers with questions regarding the recall can contact John Anderson, Owner, at (253) 847-1777.

Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.

UK national burger day: Idiocy on how to prepare and serve burgers safely

The Brits are forever complicating things.

barfblog.Stick It InAnd they’re supposed to be science-based, when they’re just rhetoric-based (with that charming but difficult to understand British accent; don’t get me started on Wales).

For National Burger Day, Big Hospitality provides 750 words of advice on what controls can be put in place to ensure that diners are not put at risk from the serving of pink or rare burgers.

It’s hard to blame this restaurant rag when the science-based UK government authority barfs out the same advice.

Color is a lousy indicator.

Stick it in: use a thermometer.

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134 sick with Salmonella: Whole hog recall

Kapowsin Meats, a Graham, Wash. establishment, is recalling approximately 116,262 pounds of whole hogs that may be contaminated with Salmonella I 4, [5],12:i:-, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced.

670px-Cook-a-Whole-Pig-Step-3The whole hogs for barbeque item were produced on various dates between April 18, 2015 and July 27, 2015. The following products are subject to recall:

Varying weights of Whole Hogs for Barbeque

The product subject to recall bears the establishment number “Est. 1628” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The product was shipped to various individuals, retail locations, institutions, and distributors in Alaska and Washington.

On July 15, 2015, the Washington State Department of Health notified FSIS of an investigation of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- illnesses. Working in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), FSIS determined that there is a link between whole hogs for barbeque from Kapowsin Meats and these illnesses. Traceback investigation has identified 32 case-patients who consumed whole hogs for barbeque from this establishment prior to illness onset. These illnesses are part of a larger illness investigation. Based on epidemiological evidence, 134 case-patients have been identified in Washington with illness onset dates ranging from April 25, 2015 to July 29, 2015. FSIS continues to work with our public health partners on this ongoing investigation.

‘Be really careful with raw meat ‘ Salmonella tied to pork sickens at least 56 in Washington

JoNel Aleccia of The Seattle Times reports that at least 56 people in eight Washington state counties have been sickened by a rare strain of salmonella food poisoning apparently linked to eating pork, health officials said Thursday. Most of the cases, 44, have occurred in King County.

pork.rawThe individual cases and small clusters have occurred in several foods and at several events across the region as of Wednesday. Other meat sources could be to blame as well, health officials said. Five people have been hospitalized.

“Why we’re sending out this message now before the investigation is complete is because we’re saying: ‘You’ve got to be really careful with raw meat,’ ” said Dr. Scott Lindquist, state epidemiologist.

Some of the cases appear to be tied to whole-pig roasts, he added.

The outbreak strain is Salmonella I, 4, 5, 12:i: -, a germ that has been emerging nationally during the past five years, but never before seen in Washington state, Lindquist said.

Because of the unique nature of the outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are assisting with the investigation, Lindquist said.

No cases have been reported in states bordering Washington, so officials are investigating whether pork or other meat processed and distributed in the state might be involved in the outbreak.

 

Recommend a thermometer? Australia says 6-2-2 a sizzling success in pork project

How hard is it to recommend a thermometer?

The study does not account for temperature variations of the grill or stove, so seemingly impossible to assess.

curtis.thermomet.pork.oct.24.14But, marketers be marketing.

Pork CRC and APL conducted a study (Pork CRC Project 3C-106) across three retail partners in metropolitan Adelaide to ‘test’ the 6-2-2 (i.e. 6 mins one side, 2 mins the other & 2 mins to rest) messaging for cooking pork steaks.

Pork CRC research has demonstrated experimentally in large studies that cooking temperature influences consumer perception of the eating quality of pork steaks, with over cooking markedly reducing eating quality. APL research in homes showed that 78% of bad eating experiences with pork were due to cooking failure and 53% of these were associated with the loin, which is the fresh pork cut most consumed by Australians.

The objective of the Pork CRC and APL study was to create awareness of the 6-2-2 cooking message to prevent cooking failure  It used different promotional activities, ranging from TV advertising through to retail labelling and the use of 6-2-2 stickers on retail packs.

barfblog.Stick It InThe bottom line was that the sale of pork steaks increased in all retail outlets. The increase in sales above what was expected (based on sales determined before the promotion and store history) ranged from 16% to 56%, depending on the promotional strategy used. Even better news was that the increase in sales of pork steaks was not at the expense of other pork cuts/products.

A major learning outcome from the project was that communicating the rewards associated with 6-2-2 is the best way to entrench the purchase of pork steak and avoid relying on a continuous advertising push.

The findings will form the basis of future advertising and promotional campaigns by APL, which will, hopefully, lead to further increases in demand for Australian pork.

Use a thermometer, color sucks: UK FSA says don’t serve your duck pink

Color is a lousy indicator.

But that doesn’t stop the taxpayer-funded UK Food Standards Agency from issuing nonsensical advice.

smoked-duck-breast1I’ve asked the UK food safety types why they don’t recommend that people use thermometers – as is the advice in the U.S., Canada and Australia – and the response is usually along the lines of, people can’t handle such complicated information.

A colleague received similar advice yesterday from the UK FSA.

Arrogant bullshit.

And not science-based.

The Telegraph reported today that duck should never be served pink as diners could be poisoned by a potential deadly bug more commonly associated with chicken, food officials have said.

While many upmarket restaurants recommend their duck dishes medium-rare, the Food Standards Agency said the poultry should always be cooked “thoroughly” at home.

It warned that the prevalence of the campylobacter bug among ducks was “not dissimilar” to the levels among chickens, where seven in 10 birds are infected.

The bacterium, which makes 280,000 ill every year, is only killed when meat is fully cooked.

On Wednesday the food watchdog said it was concerned that there was a public misconception that duck was different to chicken in that it could safely be served pink.

There’s a public misconception because the bureaucrats are not offering clear, evidence-based information.

Stick it in.

 

Two outbreaks of Salmonella Enteritidis linked to raw, frozen, chicken thingies

Now the U.S. Centers for Disease Control gets into things:

Several states, CDC, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) are investigating two outbreaks of Salmonella Enteritidis infections linked to raw, frozen, breaded and pre-browned stuffed chicken entrees.

barfblog.Stick It InIn one outbreak, six people infected with a strain of Salmonella Enteritidis have been reported from Minnesota (5) and Wisconsin (1). Two of these ill people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

In the second outbreak, three people infected with a different strain of Salmonella Enteritidis have been reported from Minnesota. Two of these ill people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

On July 1, 2015, USDA-FSIS issued a public health alert due to concerns about illnesses caused by Salmonella that may be associated with raw, frozen, breaded and pre-browned, stuffed chicken products.

Barber Foods issued an expanded recall of approximately 1.7 million pounds of frozen, raw stuffed chicken products that may be contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis on July 12, 2015. This recall expanded the initial Barber Foods recall of Chicken Kiev on July 2, 2015, and resulted from the investigation of the first outbreak.

Products were sold under many different brand names.

Products subject to recall bear the establishment number “P-276” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

Products were shipped to retail locations nationwide and Canada (and there’s a bunch of people sick in Canada, but apparently a different frozen chicken thingie).

Since the last update on July 8, 2015, two more ill people have been reported from Minnesota and Wisconsin. A total of six people infected with a strain of Salmonella Enteritidis have been reported from Minnesota (5) and Wisconsin (1). Illness onset dates range from April 5, 2015 to June 23, 2015. Two people were hospitalized.

Outbreak 2

No new illnesses have been identified since the last update on July 8, 2015. The Minnesota Department of Health identified three people infected with a different strain of Salmonella Enteritidis with illness onset dates ranging from May 9, 2015 to June 8, 2015. Two people were hospitalized.

On July 12, 2015, Barber Foods expanded its recall to include 1.7 million pounds of frozen, raw stuffed chicken products that may be contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis. The recall included Chicken Kiev as well as other types of frozen chicken products. The chicken products were produced between February 17, 2015 and May 20, 2015. The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “P-276” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The products were shipped to retail locations nationwide and Canada and sold under many different brand names. A list of recalled products is available. This recall expanded the initial Barber Foods recall of Chicken Kiev on July 2, 2015 and resulted from investigation of the first outbreak.

 

Use a thermometer: Two outbreaks of Salmonella Enteritidis infections linked to raw, frozen, stuffed chicken thingies

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, along with CDC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS), are investigating two outbreaks of Salmonella Enteritidis infections linked to raw, frozen, breaded and pre-browned stuffed chicken entrees.

barfblog.Stick It InIn one outbreak, four people infected with a strain of Salmonella Enteritidis have been reported from Minnesota. Two of these ill people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

In the second outbreak, three people infected with a different strain of Salmonella Enteritidis have been reported from Minnesota. Two of these ill people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

On July 1, 2015, USDA-FSIS issued a public health alert due to concerns about illnesses caused by Salmonella that may be associated with raw, frozen, breaded and pre-browned, stuffed chicken products.

USDA-FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare and cook these products. Read more on the Advice to Consumers page.

As a result of the first investigation, on July 2, 2015, Barber Foods recalled approximately 58,320 pounds of Chicken Kiev because it may be contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis.

The product subject to recall includes a 2 lb.-4 oz. box containing six individually pouched pieces of “Barber Foods Premium Entrees Breaded-Boneless Raw Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Rib Meat Kiev” with use by/sell by dates of April 28, 2016, May 20, 2016, and July 21, 2016.

This is a frozen, raw, stuffed chicken product.

Consumers should check their freezers for the recalled Chicken Kiev product and should not eat it.

Consumers with the product should return it to the place of purchase or contact the company directly at (844) 564-5555.

Illnesses in other states linked to either outbreak have not been identified but the investigation is ongoing. Updates will be provided when more information is available.

raw.chicken.thingies.outbreakThe Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), along with CDC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS), are investigating two outbreaks of Salmonella Enteritidis infections linked to raw, frozen, breaded and pre-browned stuffed chicken entrees.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of these outbreaks. PulseNet is the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by CDC. DNA “fingerprinting” is performed on Salmonella bacteria isolated from ill people by using a technique called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, or PFGE. PulseNet manages a national database of these DNA “fingerprints” to identify possible outbreaks. Two DNA “fingerprints” (outbreak strains) are included in these outbreak investigations. The two strains represent the most common Salmonella Enteritidis strains in the PulseNet database. Because the two strains are so common, most of the illnesses identified as having matching PFGE patterns may not be related to this outbreak. Investigators are using additional laboratory methods, including whole genome sequencing, to help clarify which illnesses may be related to these outbreaks.

Investigation of the Outbreaks

In the first outbreak, MDH identified four people infected with a strain of Salmonella Enteritidis with illness onset dates ranging from April 5, 2015 to June 8, 2015. Two people were hospitalized. Epidemiologic and traceback evidence linked these illnesses to eating Barber Foods brand Chicken Kiev raw stuffed chicken breast. This investigation is ongoing.

In the second outbreak, MDH identified three people infected with a different strain of Salmonella Enteritidis with illness onset dates ranging from May 9, 2015 to June 8, 2015. Two people were hospitalized. The MDH and MDA investigation found that illnesses occurred after the people had eaten Antioch Farms brand Cordon Bleu raw stuffed chicken breast. This investigation is also ongoing.

On July 1, 2015, USDA-FSIS issued a public health alert due to concerns about illnesses caused by Salmonella that may be associated with raw, frozen, breaded and pre-browned, stuffed chicken products. In the alert, USDA-FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare and cook these products to a temperature of 165°F.

As a result of the first outbreak investigation, on July 2, 2015, Barber Foods recalled approximately 58,320 pounds of Chicken Kiev because it may be contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis. The product subject to recall includes a 2 lb.-4 oz. box containing six individually pouched pieces of “Barber Foods Premium Entrees Breaded-Boneless Raw Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Rib Meat Kiev” with use by/sell by dates of April 28, 2016, May 20, 2016, and July 21, 2016. The product was available for purchase at Sam’s Club retail stores in Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Illnesses in other states linked to either outbreak have not been identified but the investigation is ongoing. CDC and state and local public health partners are continuing laboratory surveillance through PulseNet to identify additional ill people and to interview them. Updates will be provided when more information is available.

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.

coles.steak