Powell to Times – stick it in

The following letter appeared in the Dining and Wine section of this morning’s N.Y. Times:

Re “The Perfect Burger and All Its Parts” July 1:

The only thin piece of metal that should be stuck into the side of a hamburger is a tip-sensitive digital thermometer. Chef Seamus Mullen’s recommendation to put any thin piece of metal into the side of a burger, and “If it’s barely warm to the lips, it’s rare. If it’s like bath water, it’s medium rare,” only demonstrates the divide between food safety and food pornography.

Color is a lousy indicator of burger safety, as is the taste of metal sticks. Rather than putting E. coli O157:H7 on precious testing lips, use a thermometer.

Dr. Douglas Powell
Manhattan, Kan.

The writer is an associate professor of food safety at Kansas State University.