Say it ain’t so: Irish follow Brits on bad turkey advice

Safefood Ireland asks: Want to know the cooking time for your turkey to ensure the best (and safest) results?

turkey.calculator.dec.15This year it’s quick and simple. Just enter the weight of your turkey in the calculator, and it will calculate the correct cooking time to ensure your turkey is cooked to perfection.

Our calculated turkey cooking times are for use in electric fan assisted ovens only. See below for guidance on cooking turkeys using other oven types.

I’ll spare you the convoluted details.

Whoever thought a calculator with all the variables such as oven temp, time, etc. was simpler than sticking it in has probably never cooked a turkey. With a tip-sensitive digital thermometer.

CurtisStoneAnd of course, the piping-hot-no-pink mantra: “As with cooking any poultry, always double check that the turkey is properly cooked before serving. Your turkey should be piping hot all the way through with no pink meat left and the juices should run clear when the thickest part of the thigh and breast are pierced with a clean fork or skewer.”

Curtis Stone from Coles in Australia gets it sorta right when he says, “Baste the turkey and continue roasting uncovered for about 1 hour longer, basting occasionally with more spice butter, or until a meat thermometer reads 75°C when inserted deep into the breast. If you don’t have a thermometer, insert a clean skewer into the thickest part of the thigh and if the juices run clear the turkey is ready.”

Just stick it in. Three times.

We’re having fish.

barfblog.Stick It In

Market food safety rather than fear

Coles Supermarkets is an Australian supermarket chain owned by Wesfarmers. It has 742 stores nationally and more than 93,000 employees. Coles currently has the second-largest market share behind Woolworths Supermarkets.

Coles is now using celebrity chef thingy Curtis Stone to push its ‘No Bull’ campaign, which proclaims all beef sold at Coles is free of hormone growth promotants, or HGPs – supplements of naturally occurring hormones that reduce farming costs because they cause cattle to produce more beef from less feed.

Similar marketing claims have made by Whole Foods and Chipotle in the U.S., both which suck at food safety. Tyson tried it with antimicrobials and was told by a judge to stop because of the bull involved.

Meat and Livestock Australia, which acts on behalf of 47,000 meat producers, said Coles’ marketing strategy could frighten consumers into thinking beef from cattle raised on growth-promoting hormones was unsafe, despite years of scientific testing showing it posed no risk.

The group told The Sunday Age it was too early to tell if customers had stopped buying beef from retailers other than Coles, but if the industry was forced to stop using hormones due to unwarranted fear, ramifications could be widespread.

Victorian Farmers Federation president Andrew Broad said, “They’re creating a monster in the mind of consumers that this is bad … when the reality is there are no health risks with HGPs. The campaign implies that there’s some chemical being pumped into the beef, which is just a nonsense.”

Never go with the no-risk message. There are always risks, but these are miniscule compared with the risks of dangerous microorganisms associated with beef. I’m still waiting for someone to step up and market microbial food safety – so there’s fewer sick people out there.

Simon Berger of Woolworths, rightly dismissed the campaign as “a supermarket gimmick that will be bad for the environment and bad for Australian farmers,” and that it would not follow Coles’ hucksterism.

“We have absolute confidence in the Australian beef industry … We have no plans to dictate to them how it’s produced. Removing technology means you need more cattle, eating more food, on more land, producing more methane over more time to produce the same beef. Someone will pay for that – either farmers or customers, as well as the environment.”

Coles spokesman Jim Cooper defended the campaign, and stressed that Coles wasn’t saying HGP-raised beef was unsafe, it was saying that HGP-free beef was of a higher quality and tasted better, adding, “We are doing what we need to do to improve the quality of beef we sell to customers and that’s all this is about for us.”

But nothing to improve the microbial safety of beef Coles sells to consumers.

CSIRO Professor Alan Bell confirmed there was no proof that HGPs in beef posed a health threat to consumers. But a recent CSIRO study, published in the journal Animal Production Science, supports Coles’ assertion that HGP-free beef is more tender. The study found the hormones had a ”negative influence” on tenderness, taste and quality.

HGPs have been used in Australia since 1979, and about 40 per cent of cattle are now implanted with slow-release HGPs, which add an estimated $210 million in production gains to the Australian beef industry each year.

The group said the amount of hormones found in HGP-raised beef was far lower than the level of hormones naturally occurring in many foods. One egg contained about the same amount of estrogen as 77 kilograms of beef.