Food porn shot of the day: roasted turkey breast

Not being a huge fan of deli meat, I like to make my own sandwich-ready roasted turkey. About once a week I roast a boneless turkey breast (to 165F) with some wine, salt, sage and onions (below, exactly as shown).

According to the NZ Herald, I don’t fit the typical male Kiwi profile, where only 32 per cent of men cook, and are more likely to use semi-prepared foods.IMG_0397

Stick it in: Salmonella Typhimurium survives some poultry-based meat preparations

The burden of foodborne diseases still represents a threat to public health; in 2012, the domestic setting accounted for 57.6% of strong-evidence EU food-borne Salmonella outbreaks. Next to cross-contamination, inadequate cooking procedure is considered as one of the most important factors contributing to food-borne illness.

barfblog.Stick It InThe few studies which have assessed the effect of domestic cooking on the presence and numbers of pathogens in different types of meat have shown that consumer-style cooking methods can allow bacteria to survive and that the probability of eating home-cooked poultry meat that still contains surviving bacteria after heating is higher than previously assumed. Thus, the main purpose of this study was to reproduce and assess the effect of several types of cooking treatments (according to label instructions and not following label instructions) on the presence and numbers of Salmonella Typhimurium DT 104 artificially inoculated in five types of poultry-based meat preparations (burgers, sausages, ready-to-cook-kebabs, quail roulades and extruded roulades) that are likely to be contaminated by Salmonella. Three contamination levels (10 cfu/g; 100 cfu/g and 1000 cfu/g) and three cooking techniques (grilling, frying and baking) were applied.

Cooking treatments performed according to label instructions eliminated Salmonella Typhimurium (absence per 25 g) for contamination levels of 10 and 100 cfu/g but not for contamination levels of 1000 cfu/g. After improper cooking, 26 out of 78 samples were Salmonella-positive, and 23 out of these 26 samples were artificially contaminated with bacterial loads between 100 and 1000 cfu/g. Nine out of 26 samples provided quantifiable results with a minimum level of 1.4 MPN/g in kebabs (initial inoculum level: 100 cfu/g) after grilling and a maximum level of 170 MPN/g recorded in sausages (initial inoculum level: 1000 cfu/g) after grilling.

Kebabs were the most common Salmonella-positive meat product after cooking, followed by sausages, burgers and extruded roulades; in relation to the type of cooking treatment applied, Salmonella Typhimurium was detected mostly after frying.

Thus, following label instructions mostly, but not always, produced safe cooked poultry-based meat preparations, while the application of inadequate cooking treatments was not able to assure complete elimination of Salmonella from the products even with a low contamination level (10 cfu/g). Consequently, there is a need to develop guidelines for producers and consumers and promote a multidisciplinary educational campaign in order to provide information on safe cooking and time-temperature combinations able to maintain the organoleptic qualities of meat.

International Journal of Food Microbiology, Volume 197, 16 March 2015, Pages 1–8

Anna Roccato, Mieke Uyttendaele, Veronica Cibin, Federica Barrucci, Veronica Cappa, Paola Zavagnin, Alessandra Longo, Antonia Ricci

And so it goes: at least 6 sick from Salmonella in frozen chicken thingies in Minn

State health and agriculture officials said today that six recent cases of salmonellosis in Minnesota have been linked to raw, frozen, breaded and pre-browned, stuffed chicken entrees. The implicated product is Antioch Farms brand A La Kiev raw stuffed chicken breast with a U.S. Department of Agriculture stamped cFunkyChickenHiode of P-1358. This product is sold at many different grocery store chains. Investigators from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) determined that six cases of Salmonella infection from August and September 2014 were due to the same strain of Salmonella Enteritidis. One person was hospitalized for their illness. “Our DNA fingerprinting found that the individuals were sickened by the same strain of Salmonella,” said Dr. Carlota Medus, epidemiologist for the Foodborne Diseases Unit at MDH. “The Minnesota Department of Agriculture collected samples of the same type of product from grocery stores and the outbreak strain of Salmonella was found in packages of this product.” There have been six outbreaks of salmonellosis in Minnesota linked to these types of products from 1998 through 2008. This is the first outbreak since improvements were made in 2008 to the labeling of these products. The current labels clearly state that the product is raw.  Salmonella is sometimes present in raw chicken, which is why it is important for consumers to follow safe food-handling practices. This includes cooking all raw poultry products to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. “The problem arises when consumers don’t realize that they are handling and preparing a raw product,” according to Dr. Carrie Rigdon, an investigator for the MDA Dairy and Food Inspection Division. MDA and MDH officials advised that consumers with these products in their freezers, if they choose to use them, should cook them thoroughly. Other important food handling practices include hand washing before and after handling raw meat, keeping raw and cooked foods separate to avoid cross-contamination, and placing cooked meat on a clean plate or platter before serving. Consumers can find more information about safe food-handling practices on the MDH website at: Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps and fever. Symptoms usually begin within 12 to 72 hours after exposure, but can begin up to a week after exposure. Salmonella infections usually resolve in 5 to 7 days, but approximately 20 percent of cases require hospitalization. In rare cases, Salmonella infection can lead to death, particularly in the elderly or those with weakened immune systems.

Direct video observation of adults and tweens cooking raw frozen chicken thingies 01.nov.09
 British Food Journal, Vol 111, Issue 9, p 915-929 
Sarah DeDonder, Casey J. Jacob, Brae V. Surgeoner, Benjamin Chapman, Randall Phebus, Douglas A. Powell;jsessionid=6146E6AFABCC349C376B7E55A3866D4A?contentType=Article&contentId=1811820
 Purpose – The purpose of the present study was to observe the preparation practices of both adult and young consumers using frozen, uncooked, breaded chicken products, which were previously involved in outbreaks linked to consumer mishandling. The study also sought to observe behaviors of adolescents as home food preparers. Finally, the study aimed to compare food handler behaviors with those prescribed on product labels.
 Design/methodology/approach – The study sought, through video observation and self-report surveys, to determine if differences exist between consumers’ intent and actual behavior. chicken.thingies.raw.cook
Findings – A survey study of consumer reactions to safe food-handling labels on raw meat and poultry products suggested that instructions for safe handling found on labels had only limited influence on consumer practices. The labels studied by these researchers were found on the packaging of chicken products examined in the current study alongside step-by-step cooking instructions. Observational techniques, as mentioned above, provide a different perception of consumer behaviors. 
Originality/value – This paper finds areas that have not been studied in previous observational research and is an excellent addition to existing literature.

‘MasterChef Australia’ ad achieves new low in sexism

If Colbert doesn’t see color, I don’t see gender (and Colbert said much the same thing when interviewing NASCAR driver and Go-Daddy spokesthingy Danica Patrick last night.

According to Huffington Post, people never seem to tire of discussing the role of women versus men in the kitchen. There are books, columns and incessant panel discussions on the subject. While there are some hard truths — such as the fact that the restaurant industry is largely amy.thermometer.05dominated by males — there are obviously many talented, hardworking and dedicated female chefs. That last sentence shouldn’t even have to be written, except for the fact that a new ad for “MasterChef Australia” seems to have set feminism back at least several decades. But it isn’t just females that should be offended by this ad — males are also reduced to silly, out-of-place archetypes as well.

Before we moved to Australia, I told Amy, it’s a lovely place, but it incredibly sexist and racist. Far more than you’d expect. The racism thing got covered by John Oliver last week, when he observed, “Australia turns out to be a sensational place, albeit one of the most racist places I’ve ever been in. They’ve really settled into their intolerance like an old resentful slipper.”

Now one of those shows I refuse to watch because cooking is something to be done, with sons and daughters, and not watched while developing a lard–ass., MasterChef, has taken care of the sexism bit.

“The average woman cooks 1,000 meals per year. Men can’t compete with that.”

“All the top chefs in the world have one thing in common. They’re all men!” So it’s pretty clear from this line and the previous one that the women competing in this show are considered home cooks, whereas men are given the loftier title of “chef.” Also note that the men appear to be barbecuing, because nothing says “I’m a talented chef” like throwing some raw meat on the grill.

“Men are more experimental. A woman can multitask.”

Exact opposite in my family.

And in true Aussie fashion, MasterChef judge Gary Mehigan has promised the new series, Girls v Boys, has not gone down the path of being a reality soap opera that appeals to “bogans.”

Burger King bolstering food safety after failed inspections

 A week after Washington State health types made Burger King Corp. aware of a problem with its burger cooking process, the company says that it’s inspecting its systems on the West Coast to determine what changes need to be made.

Most of the undercooking was due to problems with a flame broiler and employees failing to discard undercooked patties.

Susan Shelton, environmental health specialist for the Benton Franklin Health District, said the problem in a nutshell was one of being unfamiliar with the new technology.

"It wasn’t cooking to temperature because there were a lot of controls. When we started working with them, it was resolved."

The health district received no complaints about undercooked food or illnesses, and no lab samples were positive for bacteria or other illness-causing contaminants, she added.

Campylobacter associated with chicken liver parfait, UK, June 2010

I spent five summers in high school and university hammering nails and planks with a couple of Danish craftsmen. They taught me many things, including how to eat pate and beet sandwiches (lunch today, right), along with raw herring and vast quantities of aquavit.

Eurosurveillance reports this week on an outbreak of campylobacter associated with chicken liver parfait served in Scotland in June. Undercooking appears to be the culprit, probably because the cooks went with ‘piping hot’ rather than a thermometer. One web site says a chicken liver pate becomes a chicken liver parfait (French for perfect) when the cooked liver mixture is pushed through a sieve to remove any sinewy bits, resulting in a silkier, smoother and luscious liver parfait.

It’s on the Internet so it must be true. The full report follows.

In an outbreak of 24 cases of gastroenteritis among guests at a wedding reception, 13 cases had confirmed Campylobacter infection. In a cohort study, univariate analysis revealed a strong association with consumption of chicken liver parfait: risk ratio (RR): 30.08, 95% confidence interval (CI): 4.34-208.44, p<0.001, which remained after adjustment for potential confounders in a multivariable model: RR=27.8, 95% CI=3.9-199.7, p=0.001. These analyses strongly support the hypothesis that this outbreak was caused by the consumption of chicken liver parfait.

Campylobacteriosis is an acute bacterial enteric disease, caused by infection with Campylobacter. Common symptoms include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, malaise, fever, nausea, and/or vomiting [1] and may persist for a week or even longer [2]. Onset is usually between two and five days after exposure, but may be up to 10 days. The infectious dose required to cause Campylobacter illness is estimated to be as low as 500 organisms [3]. Campylobacter infection continues to be the most commonly reported cause of foodborne illness in England and Wales, with 57,772 laboratory reports of Campylobacter cases received by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) in 2009 [4].

Despite the high incidence of this disease, the HPA received only 114 reports of foodborne Campylobacter outbreaks between 1992 and 2009, of which 25 (22%) were recorded as being linked to consumption of poultry liver dishes [5]. Chicken liver foods carry a high risk of Campylobacter infection as the bacteria can infect both the external and internal tissue of chicken livers [6], and may remain in chicken liver if insufficiently cooked [7]. The association between poultry liver dishes and outbreaks of Campylobacter infection has been illustrated by two recently published studies from Scotland [8,9].

On 5 July 2010, a suspected outbreak of campylobacteriosis was reported to the North East Health Protection Unit (HPU) by Environmental Health Officers from Northumberland County Council. Reports of illness were received from guests at a wedding held at a luxury hotel in Northumberland on 25 June 2010. One guest was hospitalised with Campylobacter infection following the event. In total, 13 guests who ate at the event submitted samples that tested positive for Campylobacter. The event consisted of a wedding breakfast (afternoon meal) and an evening buffet.

At the first Outbreak Control Team meeting on 7 July 2010, the decision was made to undertake an analytical study. Reports of illness were only received from guests who had attended the wedding breakfast, and accordingly the study was carried out on this group.

Study design and cohort?
A retrospective cohort study was used. The cohort was defined as persons who had eaten the wedding breakfast at the luxury hotel on 25 June 2010 (n=67). Contact details for these 67 guests were obtained from the event organiser. The evening buffet was excluded because no cases were reported in guests attending only the evening buffet. All reported cases attended the wedding breakfast (three of them attended only the wedding breakfast).

Data collection
Of the 67 guests listed by the event organiser, 65 were posted a questionnaire with a covering letter and a stamped and addressed return envelope. The remaining two guests, resident outside the United Kingdom (UK), were sent an electronic copy of the covering letter and questionnaire via email in order to maintain the timeliness of the investigation. One week after the first posting, a follow-up letter was sent to those guests whose questionnaires were still to be received.

Case definition
Cases were defined as persons who attended the wedding at the hotel on 25 June 2010, who reported an illness with diarrhoea or vomiting, with or without other gastrointestinal symptoms, and with an onset of illness between 26 June 2010 and 5 July 2010. Guests with illness onset dates less than one day or greater than 10 days after the event were included as non-cases.

Response rate?
Of the 67 persons on the guest list, two were found to be infants who did not eat the wedding breakfast and were excluded from the study, giving a potential cohort size of 65. Completed questionnaires were received from 60 of 65 remaining guests (92%).

Questionnaire content?
The questionnaire contained questions regarding personal details, illness information, travel history, other illness in the household, food and drink consumed at the meal, in addition to other questions relating to the participant’s stay at the hotel. The menu for the wedding breakfast was obtained from the hotel; details from this menu were used to inform the content of the questionnaire.

Statistical analyses?
Data were double-entered using EpiData v3.1 (EpiData Association) and then verified and analysed using STATA 10.1 (StataCorp). The association between exposure variables and illness was examined using univariate, stratified methods (using Mantel-Haenszel risk ratios and the Woolf test for homogeneity) and multivariable methods (logistic and binary regression).

Descriptive epidemiology
Of the 60 individuals included in the study, 24 fitted the case definition. Of these 24, 13 received laboratory confirmation of Campylobacter infection. Illness onset dates for cases ranged from 26 to 30 June 2010 (Figure 1). The incubation period ranged from one to five days (mean = 2.25 days). The symptoms experienced by cases are shown in Table 1; duration of symptoms ranged from 1 to 18 days. A mean duration of symptoms cannot be calculated as 13 of 24 cases were still experiencing symptoms when answering the questionnaire.

Analytical epidemiology
In a univariate analysis, the strength of association between the risk of becoming a case and 40 exposures was calculated. Of these, four exposures were significantly (p<0.05) associated with illness; these are shown in Table 2. From this univariate analysis, chicken liver parfait was the variable most strongly associated with illness, with a risk ratio (RR) of 30.08.

Of variables significantly associated with illness, chicken liver parfait, onion marmalade and the mixed leaf salad were served in the same set dish. Whilst cheesecake is positively associated with illness, it only explains 14 of the 24 cases, whereas chicken liver parfait explains 23 of the 24 cases.

To examine potential confounding and effect modification between variables, significant exposures (p<0.05) were stratified for exposure to chicken liver parfait and Mantel-Haenszel RRs calculated (Table 3). Consumption of chicken liver parfait strongly confounded each of these variables, and after stratification the association between these exposures and illness was no longer significant.

Multivariable analysis was conducted using logistic and binary regression models. The four variables significantly associated with illness in the univariate analysis were included in an initial logistic regression model. Variables were then removed in a stepwise fashion, in the order of the univariate p value, and a likelihood ratio (LR) test was conducted. As these models did not have significantly different log likelihoods (LR test p<0.05), the original model was used.

As the results of the multivariable model show (Table 4), when adjusting for other significant exposures, chicken liver parfait (RR= 27.8, 95% CI: 3.9-199.7) remained significantly associated with illness.

Due to the time between the event and notification of the outbreak (10 days), no samples of food from the wedding remained for microbiological analysis. However, environmental samples from the kitchen were taken. Based on results from these environmental samples, the general hygiene of the premises was determined to be satisfactory.

These results show a very strong association between consumption of chicken liver parfait at the wedding breakfast and Campylobacter illness. The multivariable analysis of food items demonstrates that even after adjusting for confounding variables, guests who ate chicken liver parfait had a risk of illness that was 28 times greater than guests who did not eat this food.

An investigation by Environmental Health Officers identified concerns about the method used to prepare the chicken liver parfait for this event. Information from the hotel indicates that after mixing raw chicken livers with a red wine reduction and raw eggs, the parfait mixture was heated, using a bain marie (water bath), to a core temperature of 65°C and then immediately removed from the oven and cooled for 15 minutes. According to the UK Food Standards Agency advice, if liver is cooked at 65°C, it should be held at this temperature for at least ten minutes to ensure adequate cooking [10].

One of the most positive elements in the implementation of this study was the high response rate (92%) to the postal questionnaire. This may have been due to factors such as the prompt posting of the questionnaire after the wedding, the type of event concerned and the high proportion of guests reporting illness.

Other factors, such as the relatively short length of questionnaire, the inclusion of a personalised letter, first class postage, the inclusion of a stamped and addressed return envelope, and follow up contact of non-respondents, have all been previously associated with increasing response rates to postal questionnaires [11].

It is possible that the study was affected by an ascertainment bias, in that the suggestion that chicken liver parfait had caused the outbreak may have circulated among guests, biasing their responses in the questionnaire. However, the number of portions recorded as having been eaten in the questionnaires was similar to the hotel’s estimate of portions served, suggesting that the effect of this bias was inconsequential. Also, the case definition was such that guests reporting diarrhoea or vomiting, independent of other symptoms, were included as cases. This may have led to the misclassification of non-cases as cases, reducing the strength of observed associations.

The outbreak investigation was conducted in a timely fashion, which minimised recall bias in questionnaire responses and enabled prompt implementation of control measures. As a result of this outbreak investigation, the hotel, one of a group of six, reviewed their catering operations, removing certain high risk foods from their menus and implementing quarterly unannounced kitchen inspections.

Of the 25 foodborne Campylobacter outbreaks linked to chicken liver parfait/pâté reported to the HPA between 1992 and 2009, 17 were recorded to have been due to errors in food handling during preparation of the chicken liver dishes. These food handling errors included inadequate cooking of blended livers in a bain marie [5].

From 2007 to 2009, the proportion of foodborne Campylobacter outbreaks in England and Wales that were linked with chicken liver dishes increased significantly [12], indicating that the consumption of this food is a public health issue of escalating importance.

From the evidence available, it is likely that the cooking method used for the chicken liver parfait was insufficient to ensure that the food was free from Campylobacter bacteria. These findings demonstrate the importance of influencing catering practice with regard to the cooking of chicken livers, to reduce the risk of campylobacteriosis outbreaks.

Heymann DL, editor. Control of Communicable Diseases Manual. 19th ed. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association; 2008: 94-8.
Butzler JP, Oosterom J. Campylobacter: pathogenicity and significance in foods. Int J Food Microbiol. 1991;12(1):1-8.
Robinson DA. Infective dose of Campylobacter jejuni in milk. BMJ (Clin Res Ed). 1981;282(6276):1584.
Health Protection Agency (HPA). Campylobacter infections per year in England and Wales, 1989-2009. London:HPA; [Accessed 1 Nov 2010]. Available from:
Little CL, Gormley FJ, Rawal N, Richardson JF. A recipe for disaster: Outbreaks of campylobacteriosis associated with poultry liver pâté in England and Wales. Epidemiol Infect. 2010;138(12):1691-4.
Baumgartner A, Grand M, Lininger M, Simmen A. Campylobacter contaminations of poultry liver – consequences for food handlers and consumers. Archiv Lebensmittelhyg. 1995;46:1-24
Whyte R, Hudson JA, Graham C. Campylobacter in chicken livers and their destruction by pan frying. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2006;43(6):591-5.
O’Leary MC, Harding O, Fisher L, Cowden J. A continuous common-source outbreak of campylobacteriosis associated with changes to the preparation of chicken liver pâté. Epidemiol Infect. 2009;137(3):383-8.
Forbes KJ, Gormley FJ, Dallas JF, Labovitiadi O, MacRae M, Owen RJ, et al. Campylobacter Immunity and Coinfection following a Large Outbreak in a Farming Community. J. Clin. Microbiol. 2009;47(1):111-16.
Food Standards Agency (FSA). Caterers warned on chicken livers. London:FSA. Accessed 28 Jul 2010. Available from:
Edwards P, Roberts I, Clarke M, DiGuiseppi C, Pratap S, Wentz R, et al. Increasing response rates to postal questionnaires: systematic review. BMJ. 2002;324(7347):1183.
Health Protection Agency (HPA). Food-borne outbreaks of Campylobacter (associated with poultry liver dishes) in England. Health Protection Report. 3(49); 11 Dec 2009. Available from:

You can’t overcook turkey that’s what the gravy is for: failures in food safety policy

Is today Thanksgiving in Canada, or is it tomorrow? Either way, Monday’s a holiday up there, bring on the turkey and side dishes.

But questions remain: what is the safest way to cook a turkey or chicken?

Thawing and preparing the bird to minimize cross-contamination present their own microbiological issues. Today, however, the big, really big news is that the Canadian government has spoken: poultry should be cooked to an end-temperature of 82C of 180F, not the 85C or 185F previously recommended (maybe they’ll change the advice). The U.S. says 165F or 74C.

I’m not so concerned about the specifics – there are lots of microbiologists who can make those arguments. I am concerned about taxpayer-funded public health organizations and rather spectacular failings in accountability.

For those who want to follow the British advice and cook their birds until they are piping hot, I refer you to Martin Mull’s History of White People, where it was concluded, “You can’t overcook turkey. That’s what the gravy is for.”

Color is also a lousy indicator. The only way to tell a bird has reached a microbiologically temperature is using a tip-sensitive digital thermometer. But at what temperature is poultry microbiologically safe? Should I make extra gravy?

Health Canada and government agencies in many countries issue all kinds of consumer advice: don’t smoke; wear condoms (but don’t flush them down the toilet); floss.

There are reams of consumer food safety advice, but sometimes, the PhDs from different countries disagree on the recommendation. That’s normal, scientists disagree all the time. But to ensure confidence in those consumer recommendations, it’s best to have a process that says, “Look, you may not agree with what we decided, but here’s how we came to that conclusion, and here are the assumptions we made, so you take a shot at it and see if you can do better.” That’s the fancy way to describe the role of value assumptions in risk assessments and overall risk analysis.

For over a decade I have been politely asking Health Canada how they determine consumer recommendations for preparing poultry. What is the best way to thaw poultry? How do they determine the safe end-point internal temperature? What references do they use? (This discussion is specific to consumer practices in the home, not in food service).

I’ve never received an answer.

At one point I was less polite, and wrote a piece entitled, Health Canada pulls holiday recommendations from its ass. One of my favorites.

Either Health Canada media and science types I talked to didn’t know, or weren’t telling.

The process inspired no confidence.

In the U.S. in 2006, the recommended end-point cooking temperature for all poultry was lowered to 165F from the previous 180F. This was based on recommendations by the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods. Where the 180F recommendation came from , no one really knows. Diane Van, manager of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Meat and Poultry Hotline, was quoted as saying in a Nov. 2006 L.A. Times story about the old 180F advice, "I’ve looked all over and I really have no idea. I think it happened sometime back in the 1980s, but I don’t know what it was based on."

At least that’s honest.

In Canada, the Health Canada recommendation for whole poultry is 185F. How was that temperature decided? Are there peer-reviewed journal articles that were used to develop that recommendation? Do bacteria behave differently north of the 49th parallel?

Given such inconsistencies, and the utter lack of accountability, why would consumers be expected to blindly follow what some governmental agency proclaims?

On Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010, seven Health Canada types had a paper published in the journal, Food Protection Trends, outlining Health Canada’s recommendation for the safe endpoint temperature when cooking whole raw poultry. The abstract is at the end of this post.

The curtain has been pulled back. Being in Kansas, I could use some Wizard of Oz metaphors, but won’t. And I wouldn’t say the three studies were “recently performed” as they were conducted in 2003-2007, 2000, and 1994.

Now, what is the process within Health Canada to translate scientific evidence into public policy recommendations? I expect that answer in another 10 years.

Safe endpoint temperature for cooking whole raw poultry: Health Canada recommendation
Food ProtectionTrends,Vol.30, No.9, Pages 580–587
Gosia K. Kozak, Helene Couture, Thomas Gleeson, Kim Hopkins, Pauiett Maikie, Thuy Phan and Jeffrey M. Farber
Poultry is a known carrier of Salmonella. however, it can be safely consumed when cooked to an appropriate internal temperature. The United States Department of agriculture and some Canadian provinces recommend 74°C, whereas health Canada currently recommends 85°C, as a safe internal temperature for cooking raw whole poultry, a difference that can potentially create consumer confusion. To address this, health Canada evaluated three studies recently performed in Canada to examine the survival of Salmonella in raw inoculated whole poultry (stuffed and unstuffed whole chicken and turkey), at six different endpoint temperatures. It was found that 82°C was a safe endpoint cooking temperature for whole unstuffed and stuffed poultry. The studies found that variability exists between and within ovens, and that shorter cooking times typically resulted in positive Salmonella tests in poultry. The thickest part of the breast was determined to be the optimum location for temperature measurement, as it was the last to reach the desired endpoint temperature. Thigh readings were often inaccurate and difficult to perform. As a result of the evaluation of these studies, Health Canada will likely be recommending changing its endpoint temperature recommendation for raw whole poultry to 82C, as measured in the thickest part of the breast.

To cream butter – and other cooking tips from 1949

A fan sent along this film from 1949, but confused the University of Kansas (that’s in Lawrence) with Kansas State University (Manhattan).

They are apparently different places. I don’t care.

This film, produced under the technical supervision of Professor Edna Hill, then chair of the Dept. of Home Economics at the University of Kansas, follows a newlywed through her adventures into cooking and making husband Tim a cake before he comes home for lunch.

It’s sorta the way me and Amy live – except Amy goes off to work and I stay home and struggle with recipes.

Labels on frozen foods can be confusing – the Stouffer’s Family Size Lasagna experience

We’ve been visiting with some of Amy’s family in Minnesota the past few days. Dinner for the gang last Sunday in Andover, north of Minneapolis, featured a couple of frozen Stouffer’s lasagnas.

Two lasagnas were required to feed the crew, and were cooked in the oven at the same time.

Although the recommended cooking procedure was followed, the result was still-frozen-in-the-middle lasagna. Two frozen lasagnas take longer than one. Amy says it’s physics.

Being the food safety nerd, I wondered aloud if the frozen lasagna was made with raw ingredients – which would need to be cooked to 160F — or cooked ingredients, meaning 135F would be fine. We rationalized, it’s lasagna, probably cooked ingredients, but 160F just in case. Aunt Jean brought out her oven-friendly thermometer and dinner was great.

The label on the Stouffer’s package had lots of cooking instructions and lots of mentions of food safety, but nothing about raw or cooked ingredients, and nothing about final cooking temperature. In really tiny print, a label proclaimed the product had been inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

That’s when I became worried.

I attempted to call the Stouffer’s consumer hotline , but it’s only open Monday to Friday, because people don’t eat frozen entrees on the weekend.

I called the hotline again on Monday and a nice lady told me that yes, two lasagnas take longer than one, and that she has instructions for proper cooking of two lasagnas at once – but nothing on the label or website. Did I mention the hotline wasn’t open Sunday?

The nice lady said the meat ingredients were all cooked, but that the lasagna should be cooked to 160F. “Yes, 160F is exactly what it should be cooked to.”

I’d argue 135F is sufficient, but regardless, there was nothing on the label about final cooking temperature, nothing about using a digital, tip-sensitive or some other type of accurate measuring device.

Pathogens in frozen lasagna have been linked to human illness on at least one previous occasion, earlier this year.

"The owner of Mona Lisa pasta says his kitchen is not to blame for six central Virginia dinner guests coming down with salmonella. While he says he sold the frozen lasagna, it was not his kitchen that was responsible for cooking it to code.

"The customer has written instructions as to how to prepare the food, to bake at a certain temperature for a certain amount of time, and that’s a food-safe temperature.”

I wonder how thorough those label instructions on safe cooking really were.

Sure, most people will not follow food safety labels, as we’ve found out with our own experiments, but it’s up to food manufacturers to provide complete and accurate food safety labels. And encourage thermometer use. How else are people going to be encouraged to stick it in?
That’s Sorenne with great-grandma Lorraine (below).

Gwyneth Paltrow needs a lesson in food safety

Gwyneth Paltrow has an interesting life.  She’s in movies, is married to a musician, names her first born after fruit, talks about bowel movements on T.V., and has celebrity chefs as friends. And to add to her list of accomplishments, she made an online video (posted below) about cooking.

She is preparing roasted chicken and potatoes and a summer salad. I am aware of Hollywood magic and editing film, but there are several times where hands and utensils touch raw chicken and then touch other things. That is called cross-contamination.

Cross-contamination is how people get sick (there may be unknown pathogens in or on foods we eat). Washing hands before cooking and after touching raw chicken is essential. However, we must remember to consider what else has touched the chicken (the knife and cutting board) and what our hands touch if we don’t wash after touching raw meat (the pepper mill, fresh herbs, knife, kitchen shears, etc.). And once you think chicken is done cooking, use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer to make sure it is cooked to the proper 165°F.

Besides the handwashing errors, it was pretty annoying how she called every type of item from the farmers market as beautiful or gorg.