Bad bird advice for the holidays

The Brits and their piping hot. The Canadians and their 185F.

No one knows where this advice comes from, yet every holiday, the soundbites are trotted out like a recurring nightmare. It’s like a song by Journey or Styx or Bryan Adams – Don’t Stop Believing, I’m Sailing Away, Summer of ’69 — it keeps playing and it’s horrible.

The UK Food Standards Agency
came out with a computer screen saver yesterday that I couldn’t get to work, and just as well – it says “cook your turkey properly until the juices run clear.”

Color is a lousy indicator: use a digital tip-sensitive thermometer and stick it in.

Nevertheless, the communication experts at the Food Standards Agency say:

“These are the three main ways to tell if poultry is cooked:

* the meat should be piping hot all the way through

* when you cut into the thickest part of the meat, none of the meat should be pink

* if juices run out when you pierce the turkey, or when you press the thigh, they should be clear.”

Piping hot reminds me of Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Provide some scientific validation for these statements. And is it really so hard to recommend using a thermometer?

In Canada, where the laws of physics are somehow different, Health Canada continues to recommend cooking all the crap out of the bird until 185F. The U.S. changed its advice to 165F years ago. When asked why, Canadian government types won’t talk. It’s a secret. But then again, Canada has no Parliament. It goes away. Just keep on believing.