Cyclones, rain, and temperature-verified steak

During a morning of unrelenting and ongoing cyclone-related rain (yes, Brisbane gets weather too, not just Mass.) hockey skating and Chapman embarrassingly wearing a Leafs jersey (although my kid had one on this a.m., but Chapman should know better), I decided, why not barbeque for lunch.

145 F, rested for 10 minutes.


Less talking, more doing: Horrible hygiene humbles Australian MKR duo Gina and Anna

My Kitchen Rules is Australian food porn.

According to Rebekah Carter of the Australian Institute of Food Safety, social media was just one of the locations to receive an outpouring of disgusted comments recently after mother-daughter duo Anna and Gina demonstrated a number of food safety faux pas on “My Kitchen Rules.”

mkr.ann.ginaThe first couple to be eliminated, Anna and Gina from Canberra made a dramatic exit from the popular television show. However, the response that followed their departure was even more striking.

Fans of the reality TV cooking contest flocked to the radio and grabbed their keyboards to express comments suggesting that the show’s contestants were in desperate need of some “lessons in kitchen hygiene”.

Alongside rejecting gloves for her Band-Aid covered fingers, viewers reeled at the image of contestant Gina double-dipping her spoon in the soup. One fan called into the Kyle and Jackie O breakfast show with the phrase “would you like some saliva with that?”

Meanwhile, the official Facebook page for My Kitchen Rules was over-run with queasy comments. Kelly Cockshell wrote “I’m sorry, but you don’t put the spoon back in after you taste test that is gross!!”

Kayla Dean commented “All teams before they start need to go through a health and hygiene course.”

And Robyn Champion agreed, saying “OMG no wonder the ragout tastes bad… did you see all that double dipping going on! Send them home!!!”

Not lovin’ it: UK father says his McDonald’s quarter pounder was completely raw

McDonald’s takes a lot of heat about their burgers, yet going back to the initial identified E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks in the U.S. in 1982, they’ve somewhat fool-proofed the cooking system and taken steps to reduce risk.

mclovinSo any claims about inadequate cooking should be investigated before passing journalistic judgment.

A father who bit into his McDonald’s burger to find it was completely raw has vowed to never return to the chain.

Byron Thomas, from Northampton, ordered the quarter pounder with cheese meal for £4.69 on Monday evening, and took it back to his car.

But when the 28-year-old eagerly tucked into his dinner, he noticed a strange taste after he had his first bite.

He said he was sickened when he saw that apart from the light brown top layer, the rest of the meal was red raw.

Color is a lousy indictor of beef safety, but it’s promoted by the UK Food Standards Agency, so …

The father-of-two went back in to the branch at the Weston Favell Shopping Centre in Northampton to complain – but said the manager only offered to cook him another burger.

He then claims he was up from 4am on Tuesday being sick.

Mr Thomas, who lives with his partner Gail Mooney, 36, vowed never to eat there again.

Byron, who works as a health and safety trainer on the railways, refused to give the raw burger back to the manager at the McDonald’s branch.

He is now planning on contacting his local environmental health officer to make an official complaint.

royale.cheese.pulp.fictionMr Thomas, who has two sons Kenzie, three, and Kyson, six, and two stepdaughters Katie, 13, and Karley, 16, has also contacted McDonalds’ head office.

He added: ‘I went straight back in there but the manager didn’t look too bothered.

‘He just said ‘sorry I’ll cook you another burger’.

‘But I refused to eat that and refused to give him the raw burger because he wanted to take it away.

A McDonald’s spokesman said: ‘Food safety is our highest priority. We place great emphasis on quality control and follow rigorous standards in order to avoid any imperfections in our food.”

Here’s a possibly better answer: Bryon, we’re sorry, we’re really sorry, and we’ll do everything we can to find out how this happened.”

Some talk, some do: 101 burgers all temped for safety

Sorenne was in prep (kindergarten for North American types) last year when she asked, “Dad, can I order food from the tuck shop?”

“Not until I check it out,” said Dr. food safety dad.

doug.tuckshop.feb.15So I asked about, and, as these things go, was soon nominated to be the food safety advisor or something for the tuck shop.

I can say that having worked with the team of volunteers, led by Katherine, they didn’t need much help in the food safety and cleanliness area.

I’ve introduced some basic paperwork (like recording fridge and freezer temperatures), some posters on cooking and handwashing as reminders, and using tip-sensitive digital thermometers to determine whether food is cooked to a microbiologically safe temperature.

I’m a parent, and wouldn’t serve anything to my daughter that I wouldn’t serve at home (as Katherine likes to say). That’s why I individually temped all 101 beef and chicken burgers that I cooked Feb. 6, 2015, for tuck shop.

It’s what I’d do at home, and what I’d expect anyone else to do.

The menu’s up to Katherine and the other volunteers. I’m there to make sure that whatever they serve, it’s safe.

It is.

Surveys still suck: Consumer-reported handling of raw poultry products at home

Salmonella and Campylobacter cause an estimated combined total of 1.8 million foodborne infections each year in the United States. Most cases of salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis are associated with eating raw or undercooked poultry or with cross-contamination. Between 1998 and 2008, 20% of Salmonella and 16% of Campylobacter foodborne disease outbreaks were associated with food prepared inside the home.

barfblog.Stick It InA nationally representative Web survey of U.S. adult grocery shoppers (n = 1,504) was conducted to estimate the percentage of consumers who follow recommended food safety practices when handling raw poultry at home. The survey results identified areas of low adherence to current recommended food safety practices: not washing raw poultry before cooking, proper refrigerator storage of raw poultry, use of a food thermometer to determine doneness, and proper thawing of raw poultry in cold water.

Nearly 70% of consumers reported washing or rinsing raw poultry before cooking it, a potentially unsafe practice because “splashing” of contaminated water may lead to the transfer of pathogens to other foods and other kitchen surfaces.

Only 17.5% of consumers reported correctly storing raw poultry in the refrigerator. Sixty-two percent of consumers own a food thermometer, and of these, 26% or fewer reported using one to check the internal temperature of smaller cuts of poultry and ground poultry. Only 11% of consumers who thaw raw poultry in cold water reported doing so correctly.

The study results, coupled with other research findings, will inform the development of science-based consumer education materials that can help reduce foodborne illness from Salmonella and Campylobacter.

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 1, January 2015, pp. 4-234, pp. 180-186(7)

Kosa, Katherine M.; Cates, Sheryl C.; Bradley, Samantha; Chambers IV, Edgar; Godwin, Sandria

Brisbane woman allegedly served raw chicken in ‘healthy choices’ McDonald’s wrap at Deception Bay

With all the Salmonella outbreaks going on in Brisbane (that’s in Australia) a woman claims she was served raw chicken from McDonald‘s at Deception Bay yesterday.

hero_pdt_snack_wrap_crispyPersonal trainer Gizela Tahuri, who had not eaten McDonald’s for two years previously, said the ordeal reminded her why.

“So much for healthy choices,” Ms Tahuri said.

“I bought a spicy mayo crispy chicken wrap.

“I probably had two large mouthfuls before I thought the chicken was really soft and it looked raw.

“I instantly felt like I was going to vomit.”

She discovered the raw meat after taking her chicken wrap home.

A McDonald’s spokesman said:

barfblog.Stick It In“We are disappointed that this has happened. We take food safety very seriously and have strict processes and systems in place.”

An investigation is currently under way with the restaurant, and we encourage the customer to contact us to help us to investigate fully.”

Meathead: thermometers and food safety

After picking up a piece about Meathead Goldwyn and his science-based approach to cooking on AmazingRibs.comit involves a thermometer – the man himself contacted me and shared a few resources which are worth passing along.

backlit_thermapenFirst is a comprehensive review of almost 100 thermometers, mostly digital. You can use the search options at left or scroll down to see some of our favorites. The options can be confusing so you might first want to click here to read more about how thermometers work and why some are better than others.

Second is a database of food safety tips. Both are great.

Stick it in: Salmonella Typhimurium survives some poultry-based meat preparations

The burden of foodborne diseases still represents a threat to public health; in 2012, the domestic setting accounted for 57.6% of strong-evidence EU food-borne Salmonella outbreaks. Next to cross-contamination, inadequate cooking procedure is considered as one of the most important factors contributing to food-borne illness.

barfblog.Stick It InThe few studies which have assessed the effect of domestic cooking on the presence and numbers of pathogens in different types of meat have shown that consumer-style cooking methods can allow bacteria to survive and that the probability of eating home-cooked poultry meat that still contains surviving bacteria after heating is higher than previously assumed. Thus, the main purpose of this study was to reproduce and assess the effect of several types of cooking treatments (according to label instructions and not following label instructions) on the presence and numbers of Salmonella Typhimurium DT 104 artificially inoculated in five types of poultry-based meat preparations (burgers, sausages, ready-to-cook-kebabs, quail roulades and extruded roulades) that are likely to be contaminated by Salmonella. Three contamination levels (10 cfu/g; 100 cfu/g and 1000 cfu/g) and three cooking techniques (grilling, frying and baking) were applied.

Cooking treatments performed according to label instructions eliminated Salmonella Typhimurium (absence per 25 g) for contamination levels of 10 and 100 cfu/g but not for contamination levels of 1000 cfu/g. After improper cooking, 26 out of 78 samples were Salmonella-positive, and 23 out of these 26 samples were artificially contaminated with bacterial loads between 100 and 1000 cfu/g. Nine out of 26 samples provided quantifiable results with a minimum level of 1.4 MPN/g in kebabs (initial inoculum level: 100 cfu/g) after grilling and a maximum level of 170 MPN/g recorded in sausages (initial inoculum level: 1000 cfu/g) after grilling.

Kebabs were the most common Salmonella-positive meat product after cooking, followed by sausages, burgers and extruded roulades; in relation to the type of cooking treatment applied, Salmonella Typhimurium was detected mostly after frying.

Thus, following label instructions mostly, but not always, produced safe cooked poultry-based meat preparations, while the application of inadequate cooking treatments was not able to assure complete elimination of Salmonella from the products even with a low contamination level (10 cfu/g). Consequently, there is a need to develop guidelines for producers and consumers and promote a multidisciplinary educational campaign in order to provide information on safe cooking and time-temperature combinations able to maintain the organoleptic qualities of meat.

International Journal of Food Microbiology, Volume 197, 16 March 2015, Pages 1–8

Anna Roccato, Mieke Uyttendaele, Veronica Cibin, Federica Barrucci, Veronica Cappa, Paola Zavagnin, Alessandra Longo, Antonia Ricci

Meathead: This is how you cook meat (it involves a thermometer)

If you have a question—any question—about grilling, smoking, or outdoor cooking, chances are extremely high your search will end at

MeatheadWith more than one million monthly visitors, Amazing Ribs is the go-to guide for everything barbecue. There’s good reason: The site takes a scientific approach to the art of outdoor cooking, carefully explaining the correct way to smoke the perfect turkey, barbecue a beautiful rack of baby backs, and just about everything else related to the grill. 

Don’t let the science angle throw you. The content—recipes, techniques, and gadget reviews—is anything but boring. It’s all spelled out by the humorous, down-to-earth hand of Meathead Goldwyn, the site’s founder and burning coal.

“It’s all about authenticity,” Goldwyn told Yahoo Food, when asked about the secret to his site’s success. “We don’t accept the common wisdom as fact. We do a lot of testing and myth-busting. A lot of information has been around for centuries that science proves false.” 

Goldwyn’s worked as a journalist for most of his life, which explains his deep-rooted cynicism. He developed a love of science early on, taught at top schools, and has judged dozens of high-profile food and drink competitions. He’s also married to a leading food safety scientist at the FDA. 

barfblog.Stick It InWe recently caught up with Goldwyn (he actually prefers to be called Meathead, a nickname his father bestowed in tribute to the son-in-law on All In the Family; only his mother calls him by his birth name, Craig) to grill him on his best tips and tricks. 

INVEST IN A THERMOMETER. Don’t even attempt to grill before you buy both a high-quality digital thermometer to measure the heat inside the grill and an instant-read digital meat thermometer. The thermometers that come with grills, Goldwyn warned, are useless. “Spray paint it black and ignore it,” he said. “It’s often off by 50 degrees. Worse, it’s in the dome of the grill, six inches away from the meat. You’re cooking the meat, not the dome.”