Poison customers, it’s good for business: Burger row hits the grills in New Zealand; try a thermometer

New Zealand’s oldest licensed premises has pulled a burger that’s been the cornerstone of its menu – blaming it on bureaucratic red tape gone mad.

Dan Fraser, executive chef at the Duke of Marlborough restaurant in the Bay of Islands, was left stewing after a visit from a Ministry of Primary Industries inspector on Thursday. 

Nicole Lawton of The Sunday Star Times reports new food preparation guidelines from MPI state minced meat and liver needs to be cooked at high temperatures for a longer amount of time than previously, to avoid contamination. 

Fraser said the new rules were a raw deal and will now prevent him serving his signature burger The Governor’s Burger which is pink and juicy in the middle. 

The Governor’s Burger features bacon, cheese, pickle, tomato, chipotle mayonnaise and a medium rare beef mince patty.

“It’s a really good burger, we really pride ourselves in presenting it to our customers,” Fraser said.

“Basically, the ministry is telling us how our customers need to eat their food.”

MPI food and beverage manager Sally Johnston, said the new rules didn’t entirely ban medium-rare meat – but chefs would have to change how they cooked it.

“If they do want to serve a medium-rare burger, it is possible, it just might take a little more forethought and planning,” Johnston said.

“It is possible to cook a medium-rare burger safely, it just means that they need to think about the processes that they are using to do that. It might not be necessarily possible to do that on a BBQ or grill.”

She suggest sous vide methods of cooking instead – what people used to call boil-in-the-bag.

“Who the f*** wants a sous vide burger?”, Fraser said.

The new rules state meat should have an internal minimum temperature of 65°C for 15 minutes while cooked, 70°C for three minutes, or 75°C for 30 seconds.

But Fraser said those were rules drawn up by a bureaucrat and not a chef. They meant a beef mince patty would always be “rubbery and devoid of flavour”.

Johnston insists the new rules are necessary. “People have died from under cooked burgers, there is a genuine food safety risk here, we’re not doing this to take the fun out of food. Bugs that have caused people to die (such as E. coli) are frequently found in New Zealand meat.”

The new MPI guidelines detail how restaurants and food businesses should prepare, store and serve their food, and supplement the 2014 Food Act. 

Top chef Ray McVinnie told Stuff NZ that serving a medium-rare burger is “dangerous and dumb” and that any chef who complains about such regulations does not understand basic food safety.

Yesterday, the Ministry for Primary Industries decided they will be talking to chefs about ways they can serve medium rare burgers and still keep food safe for consumers.

“We’re happy to work with chefs wanting to develop a custom Food Control Plan that covers their specific menu items. It might need different methods of sourcing, storing, and handling meat to make sure consumers are still protected.”

The move by MPI to regulate chefs’ kitchens brought howls of outrage and ridicule from those interviewed by the NZ Herald.

Labour’s Damien O’Connor said it was “ridiculous overkill”.

“We’ve got strict controls on how you kill and process meat. To then look at the cooking of it is nanny-state gone mad.

Northland MP Winston Peters, who has eaten at the Duke of Marlborough often over the years, said “paternalistic bureaucrats” were killing New Zealand businesses.

Sick customers ruin biz.

I look forward to the microbiologically-based arguments the talking heads will bring to the public discussion.

Assessment of risk communication about undercooked hamburgers by restaurant servers

Ellen M. Thomas, RTI International; Andrew Binder, Anne McLaughlin, Lee-Ann Jaykus, Dana Hanson, and Benjamin Chapman, North Carolina State University; and Doug Powell, powellfoodsafety.com

Journal of Food Protection

DOI: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-16-065

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration 2013 Model Food Code, it is the duty of a food establishment to disclose and remind consumers of risk when ordering undercooked food such as ground beef. The purpose of this study was to explore actual risk communication activities of food establishment servers. Secret shoppers visited restaurants (n=265) in seven geographic locations across the U.S., ordered medium rare burgers, and collected and coded risk information from chain and independent restaurant menus and from server responses. The majority of servers reported an unreliable method of doneness (77%) or other incorrect information (66%) related to burger doneness and safety. These results indicate major gaps in server knowledge and risk communication, and the current risk communication language in the Model Food Code does not sufficiently fill these gaps. Furthermore, should servers even be acting as risk communicators? There are numerous challenges associated with this practice including high turnover rates, limited education, and the high stress environment based on pleasing a customer. If it is determined that servers should be risk communicators, food establishment staff should be adequately equipped with consumer advisory messages that are accurate, audience-appropriate, and delivered in a professional manner so as to help their customers make more informed food safety decisions.

Color sucks: Use a thermometer and stick it in for food safety

safefood Ireland has joined the UK Food Standards Agency in providing terrible advice about how to cook burgers.

A recipe for summer beef burgers (may a fine solstice greet our Northern and Southern friends) endorsed by safefood says:

“Before serving, ensure that the burgers are cooked thoroughly. Cut into them with a clean knife and check that they are piping hot all the way through, there is no pink meat remaining and that the juices run clear.”

Meanwhile, FSA issued a Safe Summer Food guide as UK picnickers head out in the sun (there’s sun in the UK?). The guidelines were in part based results of a self-reported survey, which is largely meaningless but something FSA likes to do.

The Morning Advertiser has more details on the hoops FSA seems willing to jump through to ensure the safety of rare burgers including:

  • 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;
  • notifying their local authority that burgers that aren’t thoroughly cooked are being served by the business; and,
  • providing advice to consumers, for example on menus, regarding the additional risk.

The advice from these self-proclaimed science-based agencies is at odds with, uh, science.

It has been known for over two decades that color is a lousy indicator of safety in hamburger.

The latest addition to this work comes from Djimsa et al. in the Dept. of Animal Science at Oklahoma State Univ., who wrote in the Journal of Food Science earlier this year that:

Premature browning is a condition wherein ground beef exhibits a well-done appearance before reaching the USDA recommended internal cooked meat temperature of 71.1 °C; however, the mechanism is unclear.

The objectives of this study were: (1) to determine the effects of packaging and temperature on metmyoglobin reducing activity (MRA) of cooked ground beef patties and (2) to assess the effects of temperature and pH on thermal stability of NADH-dependent reductase, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and oxymyoglobin (OxyMb) in-vitro.

Beef patties (lean: fat = 85:15) were packaged in high-oxygen modified atmosphere (HiOX-MAP) or vacuum (VP) and cooked to either 65 or 71 °C. Internal meat color and MRA of both raw and cooked patties were determined. Purified NADH-dependent reductase and LDH were used to determine the effects of pH and temperature on enzyme activity. MRA of cooked patties was temperature and packaging dependent (P < 0.05). Vacuum packaged patties cooked to 71 °C had greater (P < 0.05) MRA than HiOX-MAP counterparts.

Thermal stability of OxyMb, NADH-dependent reductase, and LDH were different and pH-dependent. LDH was able to generate NADH at 84 °C; whereas NADH-dependent reductase was least stable to heat.

The results suggest that patties have MRA at cooking temperatures, which can influence cooked meat color.

Effects of metmyoglobin reducing activity and thermal stability of NADH-dependent reductase and lactate dehydrogenase on premature browning in ground beef

Journal of Food Science, 2017 Feb, 82(2):304-313, doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.13606. Epub 2017 Jan 18.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28099768

1 dead, 29 sick from E. coli O157 linked to minced meat in Germany

We report an ongoing, protracted and geographically dispersed outbreak of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and gastroenteritis in Germany, involving 30 cases since December 2016. The outbreak was caused by the sorbitol-fermenting immotile variant of Shiga toxin-producing (STEC) Escherichia coli O157.

Molecular typing revealed close relatedness between isolates from 14 cases. One HUS patient died. Results of a case–control study suggest packaged minced meat as the most likely food vehicle. Food safety investigations are ongoing.

Ongoing hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) outbreak caused by sorbitol-fermenting (SF) shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157, Germany, December 2016 to May 2017

Eurosurveillance, vol. 22, issue 21, 25 May 2017, S Vygen-Bonnet, B Rosner, H Wilking, A Fruth, R Prager, A Kossow, C Lang, S Simon, J Seidel, M Faber, A Schielke, K Michaelis, A Holzer, R Kamphausen, D Kalhöfer,S Thole , A Mellmann, A Flieger, K Stark

http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=22805

 

Food porn: People want rare hamburgers yet aren’t informed of risks

I love this paper.

The research is cool, but to me it culminates 16 years of Chapman becoming a better researcher.

ben-newI had a hand in the idea for the paper, but Chapman and his team did all the work.

I edited some stuf.

I was reminded last night of all the youthful energy me, and Chapman and Blaine and Lisa and Brae and Katie and Sarah and the reintroduced Carol – had when we did the bulk of our creative work.

Sorta like the Stones 68-72.

And yet that was the most turmoil in my life, as I went through a painful divorce, separation from kids, an interesting girlfriend and finally meeting Amy a few years later.

My line is graduate students should be able to bail their supervisor out of jail or drive me to the airport when (I) threatened with arrest.

Sorta like the Stones 68-72.

This is Chapman’s moment to shine, and although barfblog.com was named the number 1 food safety blog by someone pushing something today, it don’t matter much.

doug-ben-familyOften Chapman and I will send an e-mail to each other about some obscure reference in a post, with the comment, we only write for each other.

And the over 75,000 direct subscribers in over 70 countries.

Well done Chapman et al., couldn’t be prouder.

You too Blaine.

Assessment of risk communication about undercooked hamburgers by restaurant servers

Ellen M. Thomas, RTI International; Andrew Binder, Anne McLaughlin, Lee-Ann Jaykus, Dana Hanson, and Benjamin Chapman, North Carolina State University; and Doug Powell, powellfoodsafety.com

Journal of Food Protection

DOI: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-16-065

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration 2013 Model Food Code, it is the duty of a food establishment to disclose and remind consumers of risk when ordering undercooked food such as ground beef. The purpose of this study was to explore actual risk communication activities of food establishment servers. Secret shoppers visited restaurants (n=265) in seven geographic locations across the U.S., ordered medium rare burgers, and collected and coded risk information from chain and independent restaurant menus and from server responses. The majority of servers reported an unreliable method of doneness (77%) or other incorrect information (66%) related to burger doneness and safety. These results indicate major gaps in server knowledge and risk communication, and the current risk communication language in the Model Food Code does not sufficiently fill these gaps. Furthermore, should servers even be acting as risk communicators? There are numerous challenges associated with this practice including high turnover rates, limited education, and the high stress environment based on pleasing a customer. If it is determined that servers should be risk communicators, food establishment staff should be adequately equipped with consumer advisory messages that are accurate, audience-appropriate, and delivered in a professional manner so as to help their customers make more informed food safety decisions.

Silver Springs Farms recalls more beef for possible e. coli O157:H7 adulteration

Silver Springs Farms, Inc., a Harleysville, Pa. establishment is recalling approximately 7,970 pounds of ground beef and burger products, as well as an undetermined amount of sandwich steak products that may be adulterated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

silver-springs-e-coliThe ground beef items were produced on August 19 and 20, 2016. The exact production dates for the various sandwich steak products are unknown at this time, but are believed to have been produced between August 19 and September 19, 2016. The following products are subject to recall: [View Labels (PDF only)]

20-lb. cases containing 4 packages of 5-lb ground beef 80/20.

10-lb. packages of “Camellia Beef Pattie 80/20,” with package codes 6235 and 6242.

10-lb. packages of “Silver Springs Farm Beef Pattie 80/20,” with package codes 6242 and 6237.

10-lb. packages of “Silver Springs Farm Beef Pattie 80/20 Flat,” with package code 6237.

10-lb. packages of “Silver Springs Farm Gourmet Beef Burger Flat,” with package code 6235.

10-lb. packages of “Silver Springs Farm Gourmet Beef Burger 80/20,” with package code 6237.

10-lb. packages of “Silver Springs Farm Gourmet Beef Pattie 80/20,” with package code 6242.

various sandwich steak products produced by the recalling firm.

There have been no confirmed reports of illness or adverse reactions due to consumption of these products.

Silver Springs Farms recalls beef products due to possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination

Silver Springs Farms, Inc., a Harleysville, Pa. establishment is recalling approximately 740 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced.

silver-springs-e-coliThe ground beef items were produced on August 19, 2016. The following products are subject to recall:

20-lb cases containing 4 packages of 5-lb ground beef 80/20.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 4771” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to a distributor in Virginia.

The problem was discovered during a routine verification sampling performed by Silver Springs Farms, Inc. There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products.

12 sick with E. coli in New Hampshire

New Hampshire health officials are investigating an outbreak of E. coli associated with ground beef

rare.hamburgerSince June, 12 people in the state have been infected with the same strain of E. coli after eating ground beef, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health Services. The safety of ground beef is regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is assisting the state investigation.

“Ground beef is a known source of E. coli and it is important for people to avoid eating under-cooked ground beef whether at home or at a restaurant,” said Marcella Bobinsky, acting director of the state DPHS. “Young children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to severe illness with this infection.”

The people who became ill ate ground beef at a number of different locations. State health officials and the USDA are working to identify the specific source.

Ground beef should be cooked at a temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

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

Safefood Queensland, you awake? Noosa eatery brags about medium-rare USDA certified organic burgers

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.

austin.powers.meat.2.verThey’d been on the road a long time, so I figured a U.S.-styled meal of steak and two veg would be welcomed.

It was.

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.

And the prices are outrageous.

There’s so much shit out there.

cafe.le.monde.noosa.burger.jul.16

Use a thermometer: At least 8 sick from E. coli linked to Son of a Bun’ burgers in Ireland

The proprietors of Cork burger restaurant ‘Son of a Bun’ have said that they are ‘devastated’ by the temporary closure order served upon the business last week.

DKANE 05/10/2015 REPRO FREE Proprietors Niall and Amanda O'Regan at the opening of Son of a Bun, Cork’s newest burger restaurant, creating 31 new jobs on the site of the old Crowley’s Music Store on MacCurtain Street.  The newly renovated 4,500 sq ft restaurant can seat 84 people and offers a selection of mouth-watering burgers using only the best Aberdeen Angus beef, sourced locally in Bandon, Co. Cork.  The burger restaurant is also the first one in Ireland to be approved by the HSE to serve burgers pink. Pic Darragh Kane.

The order follows a HSE investigation into an outbreak of E. coli in the city, which has identified eight cases in adults to date. The HSE said all affected are currently well.

“A Cork food business has been identified as a common link between the cases,” the HSE confirmed yesterday.

Son of a Bun owners Niall and Amanda O’Regan said it was an issue in relation to “structural issues” with the premises.

However in a statement the couple also revealed that “four staff have tested positive to carrying bacteria linked with E .coli”.

The closure order was served last Wednesday, June 29 and the restaurant was shut over the weekend.

While a notice on the door of the premises cited “necessary construction works” as the cause of the closure, it did not make any reference to the closure order.

However the restaurant yesterday issued a statement confirming it had received the closure order.

“Following a complaint, Son of A Bun restaurant has been working with the FSAI to ensure the integrity and quality of food safety at the premises in Cork,” the statement read.

barfblog.Stick It InWhen it opened last October, the owners said Son of a Bun was “the only restaurant approved by the HSE to serve burgers cooked pink”.

However a spokesperson for the HSE yesterday said that it does not award approval to restaurants wishing to serve rare or medium-rare burgers.

And did the bureautypes say that back in Oct.? Did they say anything during subsequent inspections?

Son of a Bun opened last September and has proven a huge hit with burger fans in Cork. It became well-known for its ‘pink burgers’, served rare and medium rare at customers’ requests.

It is understood that Son of a Bun will no longer serve the ‘pink’ burgers when the MacCurtain St restaurant reopens.

Color is irrelevant. Use a thermometer and stick it in.

Tell us more of your microbiological knowledge: UK pub pissed after lousy rating for medium-rare burgers

What does medium-rare even mean?

Chapman will have more to say on that, but it means nothing, like almost every other word used to describe food.

burger.rare.jun.13Natural, organic, sustainable, audited, local, dolphin-free. If a farmer can make a living at it, great for them.

But it’s all marketing bullshit and has nothing to do with safety.

This does.

A Kingswood landlord is “fuming” after a food hygiene inspector gave his pub a rating of 1 for serving medium-rare burgers.

The Kingswood Arms in Waterhouse Lane was downgraded from a 5 to a 1 following a visit in February, a decision that has left landlord Tony Slayford furious.

He told the Mirror: “That is the only reason why we went to number 1, which I am absolutely disgusted about. They were happy with all the cleanliness. Everything is spot on.”

The pub has been offering burgers cooked medium-to-rare for more than five years, but has always asked customers to sign a disclaimer beforehand.

Mr Slayford said previous inspectors from Reigate and Banstead Borough Council had never raised it as an issue, but he has now amended menus to say all burgers must be well done.

Mr Slayford added: “It’s because they [the council] don’t like it. It’s not illegal at all. Other burger chains do it, but Reigate and Banstead council do not like it. Different councils do different things. In London, you can do it.

“We didn’t know. We were not told previously. I’m fuming about it, absolutely fuming. I have been here 30 years and I have never, ever had a problem.

“For 15 years we have been a 5, we haven’t dropped at all. I think what has happened with us is completely unjust. We are thinking of taking the council to court.

ron.swanson.turkey.burger“If someone asks for medium to rare burgers, we are talking 1 in about 2,000 people. I was devastated. We have had a solicitor involved. To me, keeping the five stars is very important.”

Mr Slayford said inspectors were going to revisit before August 1.

Katie Jackson, Environmental Health Manager said, “The lowering of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme score from 5 to 1 at the Kingswood Arms was not solely based on the issue of serving rare burgers.

“Our rating was based on a number of food hygiene deficiencies, of which the landlord is aware. Mr Slayford appealed against the rating but was unsuccessful and we have provided him with detailed advice about why his score was lowered, the issues he needs to tackle and the changes he should make to achieve an improved rating.

“When assessing the safety and hygiene of serving burgers cooked medium and rare, we follow the advice of the national Food Standards Agency.”

Why can you have a safe rare steak and not a rare burger?

The British Hospitality Asssociation says: “Bacteria, for example E. coli, tend to be found on the outside surfaces of meat, rather than the inside, of a steak or joint of meat. If you mince meat, the outside surfaces are then mixed up with bacteria inside and this means that any E. coli from the outside will be mixed all the way through the burger.

“But if you sear the outside of a steak, you will have killed off the bacteria on the outside surfaces and the inside surfaces will be safe even if served rare.”

How many steaks in the UK are needle or blade tenderized?

It’s about 11 per cent in the U.S. and Canada, and both countries now require labels.

Guess the Brits have other matters to deal with.

But let John Oliver explain (really NSFV).