Food safety failure: ‘let your butcher know you’re eating it raw and make sure it’s scent-free’

 Here’s an effective way to get at some of the 1%; bad food safety advice.

The Wall Street Journal ran a recipe extolling the virtues of steak tartare – “itsy bitsy pieces of raw red meat cling together and make for bold, blissful eating” – and came in with this nosestrethcher:

“It is critical to source your meat from a top-notch butcher. The chances of ingesting pathogens, such as E. coli, are higher than when eating cooked meat, so shop with care. Let your butcher know you’ll be eating the meat raw and make sure it is scent-free. Ask about who raised your meat—you want a purveyor known for extremely sanitary practices.”

Or a butcher with those UV-goggles that make dangerous bacteria visible to mere mortals. That’s an investment I could get behind, if it worked.

It doesn’t.

The disclaimer at the bottom of the recipe is probably as effective as those on restaurant menu; or on investment agreements.

“Note: The FDA recommends cooking beef to 145 degrees and avoiding food that contains raw eggs.”

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time