Sus vide cooking is safe if you follow a plan

The New York Times reported last week that in 2006,

“the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene inspected restaurants using the sous vide method, in which food is vacuum-sealed in plastic for slow cooking at low temperatures. Because of concerns about bacteria growth in the sealed pouches, restaurants were told to stop using vacuum-sealing machines until they filed plans detailing their processes. … Afterward, restaurants like Blue Hill, Per Se and WD-50 filed sous vide plans that were approved by the city as officials developed formal regulations.

“In March the Board of Health approved those regulations. They require restaurants that cook sous vide to have an approved Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point plan. …

“Some chefs say the health department is overzealous in its regulation of sous vide, which is safe when properly practiced. But others agreed with officials who said it was important that correct procedures were clearly followed, because anaerobic bacteria can thrive in the airless environment of a vacuum bag if techniques are not done properly.

“Sous vide, which means ‘under vacuum’ in French, refers to a technique where foods are vacuum-sealed to carefully calibrated degrees of pressure so they can be suffused with flavors in a marinade or submerged in temperature-controlled water baths. …

“Bruno Goussault, the chief scientist at Cuisine Solutions, an industrial sous vide company, was one of the developers of sous vide and has trained many famous chefs in the technique. He said that he understood the need for health department oversight and that he consulted with the city to help draft the regulations. …

“It’s very easy to work with the top chefs, but when you are making regulations you need to take care of all the chefs, not just the top chefs,” Mr. Goussault said. “Perhaps sometimes it’s excessive, too much regulation for the top chefs, but I think it’s necessary.”