Chefs don’t know shit about food safety: Trend for eating chicken livers ’pink’ could put lives at risk

Another one for the duh files.

chicken.liver.pateUK researchers found the fashion for serving chicken livers “rare” may expose people to potentially fatal Campylobacter food poisoning. 

The study investigated the cooking times for chicken liver included in a number of popular current recipes. 

Many of the recipes recommend serving chicken livers pink and cooking them for times insufficient to kill off Campylobacter – the most common cause of food poisoning in Britain which is responsible for more than 250,000 cases each year. 

Researchers from Manchester, Bangor and Liverpool universities found that up to 52 per cent of 141 chefs from a range of professional kitchens questioned wanted to serve chicken livers so rare that they would not reach 70C, the temperature necessary to kill the pathogen Campylobacter. 

Dr Paul Cross, of Bangor University, said: “Chicken livers are served in many pubs and restaurants around the country, and the trend seems to be for them to be served ‘pink.’ 

“The research asked over a thousand members of the public and the chefs about their preferences, and whether they could identify safely cooked meats. 

“The public were not able to identify safely cooked chicken livers by sight.

“Almost a third of the public participants identified livers as ‘safe’ which in fact had predicted Campylobacter survival rates of between 48 per cent and 98 per cent.” 

Study co lead author Professor Dan Rigby of Manchester University, said: “As people are eating their steaks and other joints of red meat rarer, that trend seems to be extending to higher risk meats such as chicken livers and beef burgers. 

“We found that many chefs were able to identify cooked livers that reached the temperature necessary to kill the pathogens, but their preferences for the taste and texture of pink livers may be overriding their knowledge of food safety. 

“In contrast the public were consistent in their choices – they tended to select dishes to eat that they thought met safe cooking guidelines. This is a concern, because the public were also poor at identifying by sight whether a cooked chicken liver had been cooked sufficiently to be safe.” 

The study showed that chefs also overestimated the public’s preference for rareness. 

The study highlighted that almost half the members of the public questioned (48 per cent) agreed that cooking programmes on TV and recipes in magazines had influenced the public to serve meat pinker in the middle. 

Of course the British public believes thia, because their regulators won’t say, use a damn thermometer.

barfblog.Stick It In


Simplicity may mean ‘deliciousness’ but not safetiness

Deliciouness is a subjective thing. Microbiologically safe is more of a data-driven thing, or a does-it-make-you-barf thing. China Post reports 100 renowned local chefs gathered at Four Four South Village (四四南村) on May 1, vowing unanimously to be the safeguards of food safety, as part of the promotion for the Taiwan Culinary Exhibition (台灣美食展) that is to kick off in August this year.

Thirty of them displayed onsite how to prepare dishes that are low in sugar, salt and oil, all with seasonal foods, which manifests their determination to protect the health of the more than 70 percent of the people in Taiwan who eat out on a regular basis.

Janice Lai (賴瑟珍), chairwoman of Taiwan Visitors Association (台灣觀光協會), stated during the event that one of the reasons why the association holds the exhibition is that it hopes to bring visitors back to a time when simplicity meant deliciousness. In addition, it is also hopes that the exhibition will be a platform for restaurant-goers, chefs, farmers and government to exchange ideas and suggestions, added Lai.

Shu-TiChiou (邱淑媞), director-general of the Health Promotion Administration (國民健康署), complimented the event, saying “Tourists can now eat without worrying about food safety.”

Does that mean that up until May 1, 2016, tourists dined in justified fear?

Is Heston ‘Noroboy’ Blumenthal worried? Top chefs ditch molecules and embrace producers

AFP reports that after years of enthusiasm for molecular gastronomy, with its battery of gels and emulsions, many leading chefs are turning back to focus on ingredients and where they come from.

A number of Michelin-starred chefs at this week’s Madrid Fusion, an annual gastronomy fair in the Spanish capital, said they were now looking to take more care in sourcing their ingredients — by getting to know the producers, for example.

Michel Troisgros, the owner of the Maison Troisgros restaurant in Roanne, central France, told AFP,

"In traditional cooking too, there were obsessions, techniques, ways of presenting the food, stupidities, mistakes, excesses, ignorance."

Troisgros believes more care should be taken over ingredients, saying he recently went to meet caviar producers in Granada, southern Spain.

"It was the first time I’d ever seen sturgeons being farmed or watched the caviar being taken from the fish," he said, calling the experience "wonderful."

It may do wonderful things for food safety, if the chefs ask the right questions of their suppliers. Things like water quality, soil amendments, and human hygiene.

"Now when I make endives with caviar, I know where the caviar came from, I know it is organic and I know the endives came from my local producer — I know the people and I know the product.”

Sigh. Local does not make the product microbiologically safe. I’m sure the producer is a wonderful person – but show me that data.

Alain Ducasse, the head of an international empire with a total of nine Michelin stars for his restaurants in London, Paris and Monaco said chefs have a role to play in leading opinion in this field, “… talking about ingredients, producers, sustainable development, the planet — things I have supported for a long time."

Try not to make your customers barf.

TV food shows are a ratings winner but their food safety still sucks

Yesterday’s USA Today reported that ratings for food shows on television are booming – prime-time numbers for the Food Network are up 29 per cent this year to a new record – yet every time I flip by, the stars suck at food safety.

We chronicled all this stuff back in 2004, but it’s time to redo the study and see if there have been any improvements.
Programmers say a recessionary trend toward home entertaining has driven the genre. "Culturally right now, food is a comfort device," says TLC chief Eileen O’Neill.

There’s no comfort in barfing.

Jamie Oliver: Slaughtering chickens to raise awareness about slaughtering chickens

I’ve never been much of a fan of cooking shows.  The chefs talk, they cook, they even sometimes teach poor food safety.  Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has taken the typical format of a cooking show and added an extra twist; audience members witness the killing of the chicken used in the meal.  Animal rights groups and poultry farmers are outraged over his new television show “Jamie’s Fowl Dinners.”

The show serves up a giant dose of shock and awe as chicks are gassed to death and an adult chicken is killed for the meal.  Yet throughout the show Oliver insists that he is trying to raise awareness about how chickens are treated in the poultry industry.

"I don’t think it’s sensational to show people the reality of how chickens live and die at the moment. It may be upsetting for some people but that’s how things are. And if seeing some of the practices helps to change the shopping habits of just 5 per cent of people watching, then it will be worth it.”

Channel 4 factual entertainment boss Andrew Mackenzie said: "Jamie’s simple message, in quite an overt way, will be: ‘If you know what happens to a chicken before arriving on your plate, would you change the way you think about chicken? Would you still eat it?’"

Oliver had criticized Sainbury’s supermarket over its involvement on his show and has since apologized for it.  It appears that his main goal to is encourage people to purchase free-range and organic chicken raised in less intensive facilities.  However I found that most of the program depicting the slaughter of chickens seems to push people towards vegetarianism rather than purchasing their chickens from another source.  You be the judge.

When chefs blog

The Los Angeles Times reports that in the last few months some of the bigger names in food across the country have joined the online chattering class, posting their innermost thoughts, with photos and recipes, just as home cooks have been doing for years.

Do any of them ever write about food safety issues?

Laurent Gras, an Alain Ducasse protégé and former executive chef at the Fifth Floor in San Francisco, is now blogging almost daily at L.2o Blog on the run-up to the opening of his own restaurant in Chicago.

In New York, Michael Laiskonis, the pastry chef at Le Bernardin, started blogging in January, and his lengthy disquisitions on desserts and how he creates them are windows with photos into a wildly creative and contemplative mind.

Other chefs have latched on to the apron strings of established websites — Traci des Jardins of Jardiniere in San Francisco (right) and Rick Bayless of Topolabampo in Chicago both blog for the Epi-log at Epicurious.

But as Des Jardins notes, keeping up with a blog is the hard part. She has been writing for Epicurious since December and says she is loving the freedom of expression, with editing only to "clean up my bad grammar," but has seen chefs let blogs "get old and stale."

People don’t wash hands on television

Tracy Hughes has a bone to pick with television shows.

People rarely wash their hands

Hughes writes in British Columbia’s Salmon Arm Observer that,

on medical dramas, you almost never see hand-washing unless it is a top-notch surgeon scrubbing up before he goes into the operating room and a nurse whispers some tragic secret to him just before he has to complete the first-ever super-duper, resection of the quadruple nerve -ending bypass.

What really gets Hughes is the number of scenes that place characters in washrooms and they don’t wash — even after they use the toilet.

I agree. When we looked at TV chefs a few years ago, very few washed their hands. There was a food safety infraction on average every four minutes.