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


1954 cookbook: how to cook possum in America

We moved into a new place in Brisbane and the concrete and stucco of vertical intensification are less welcoming to the possum population than the timber of a traditional Queenslander (that’s what they call the houses).

But the possums will figure it out.

The other night about 2:30 a.m. I saw a little one run across the cedar boundary fence. Next day, I spotted it sleeping in the neighboring tree.

They’re coming.

The arrival of my backyard composter will only whet their desire and soon there will be possum crap over everything.

New Zealanders poison possums, Aussies treasure them. Americans eat them.

This recipe comes from 1954’s The American Family Cook Book.

Plunge animal into very hot but not boiling water for 2 minutes.

Pull out or scrape off hair without damaging skin. Slit belly from throat to hind legs. Remove entrails, feet, eyes and brains. Do not remove head or tail.

Wash thoroughly. If possible, freeze for 3 or 4 days. When ready to cook, wipe with a cold, damp cloth. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put in roasting pan. Put in one cup of water and juice of one lemon.

Bake in hot oven (400 degrees) 15 minutes, turning once. Cover. Reduce heat and bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

Bring your best, possums.

Cook chicken to 165F; color a lousy indicator

 A friend in Ontario (that’s in Canada) sent along this recipe from a can of Campbell’s Cream of Asparagus soup.

I have a soft spot for the asparagus soup, because that’s how my grandfather Homer, asparagus baron of Ontario, got his start in the fresh asparagus business, growing to 100 acres in the 1970s, selling almost all of it fresh at the door. What was left went to Campbell’s for cream of asparagus soup.

On the recipe for lemon asparagus chicken, the instructions state, cook chicken “… until chicken is no longer pink.”

Not good enough. If consumers are expected to be the critical control point, then food producers must at least provide clear and evidence-based instructions. Cook chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 F as measured using a tip-sensitive digital thermometer.

Stick it in.

Simple roast chicken with a digital tip-sensitive thermometer

Food safety has never been Mark Bitman’s strong point. The author of Don’t blame sprouts, and For the love of a good burger (in which he advocated rare hamburger consumption) usually sides with polemic rather than evidence. But yesterday in the N.Y. Times, Bittman offered his simple recipe for roast chicken and advocated the use of a thermometer.

1. “Put a cast-iron skillet on a low rack in the oven and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Rub the chicken all over with the oil and sprinkle it generously with salt and pepper.

2. “When the oven and skillet are hot, carefully put the chicken in the skillet, breast side up. Roast for 15 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees. Continue to roast until the bird is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meaty part of the thigh reads 155 to 165 degrees.”

Been doing a variation of this for years (right). In the accompanying video, Bittman makes no mention of the thermometer and instead says there should be the “tiniest trace of pink,” along with lots of cross-contamination, but it’s a baby step.

A cookbook of recipes to move the poop: The Un-Constipated Gourmet

Baby Sorenne is coming up on seven months, and her poop is changing. As more solids are introduced into her diet, her poop has gone from runny brown to sticky to fully formed turds.

Yesterday, she started screaming as loud as she could for about 20 seconds. Sure enough, out popped a poop. That was about the fourth consecutive time it’s happened. Really, who hasn’t wanted to scream during a plugged up poop.

If you’re one of those people, Eat Me Daily reports today on The Un-Constipated Gourmet: Secrets for a Movable Feast, a collection of recipes designed to make you poop by first-time author Danielle Svetcov.

Svetcov’s hope is that the book — which promises recipes you can serve to your "uncorked" friends without them realizing that they’re specially engineered for your own digestive needs — will deliver "superfoods with an agenda" so that the "potty-challenged" and those with "bathroom envy" will find themselves "called to duty."

Typo in food magazine recipe poisons Swedes

Ten thousand copies of a food magazine were recalled in Sweden last month after a mistake in one of its recipes left four people poisoned.

Matmagasinet’s chief editor Ulla Cocke told AFP,

"There was a mistake in a recipe for apple cake. Instead of calling for two pinches of nutmeg it said 20 nutmeg nuts were needed.”

When Matmagasinet first discovered the mistake it immediately sent out letters to its 50,000 subscribers and placed a leaflet inside the copies sold in the store, cautioning that "high doses of nutmeg can cause poisoning symptoms."

"We publish 1,200 recipes each year, and of course there have been times when they’ve had a bit too much butter or too little flour, but we have never experienced anything like this before,"
Cocke said.

In large doses, nutmeg is a mild hallucinogen