Raw is risky: In Netherland E. coli in beef tartare is the ‘poop bacteria’

Because it’s raw beef.


Supermarket chain Jumbo is removing various beef tartar products, rissole and steak du boeuf from its shelves as the meat products may contain the E. coli bacteria.

jumbo_supermarktenAnd maybe something was lost in translation, but the NL Times story says, the E.coli bacteria, also known as the poop bacteria, can cause food poisoning symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal cramps. It is particularly dangerous to pregnant women, elderly people and people with weakened immune systems.

Steak tartare is the food porn dish of the moment

I’ll take food safety advice from Vogue when I start dressing hipster or listen to Madonna.

Yet according to Vogue, steak tartare appeals to a sophisticated kind of adult who knew where to find his or her pleasure. Raw meat bound with raw egg, it was a rite of passage that often arrived with a push: Chances are, somebody more worldly first persuaded you to try it.

And it generally hewed to a basic recipe—one taught in culinary schools in the United States and Europe. Chopped or ground meat is mixed with something flavorful (mustard, Worcestershire, Tabasco), something crunchy (capers, cornichons, shallots), something colorful (chives, parsley, scallion). One version might have a pinch of cayenne, another a splash of cognac.

And on it goes, for pages of food porn and vulgarity.

Food porn idiocy: WSJ steak tartare for kids edition

Earlier this month, a columnist in New York’s Wall Street Journal proclaimed that steak tartare (raw beef and raw egg) was fine for kids.

rowan.atkinson.steak.tartare“Go ahead and get them started early. Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”

A week later the paper published a Corrections & Amplifications that said, “The FDA recommends cooking beef to 145 degrees and avoiding food that contains raw eggs. An earlier version of this article omitted this information.”

People smoke, they drink, OK, but we generally don’t sit down with our 5-year-olds to share a shot and a smoke.

Darin Detwiler of STOP Foodborne Illness wrote on Sept. 15 that, “the message of feeding raw meat and eggs to children undermines the hard work of many in the effort to protect consumers from foodborne illness.”

Diego Sanchez blames beef tartare for loss to Myles Jury at UFC 171

Armchair epidemiologist and mixed martial arts fighter Diego Sanchez, says he lost a March 15 fight at UFC 171 in Dallas because of the food he ate the night before.

“I wasn’t myself last night,” Sanchez wrote on Twitter. “I sustained food poisoning from eating a beef tartar with raw quail egg as an appetizer at dinner. This was my own mistake. MMA: UFC 166-Melendez vs SanchezI ordered it thinking I need red meat but raw was the wrong choice. I threw up first at 2 am and all day fight day.”

Ottawa Public Health wants steak tartare off menus

Over a year after local health units in Ontario cracked down on serving raw ground meat under a fog of mixed policy statements from provincial wonks, Ottawa Public Health is asking all restaurants within the city to immediately stop serving beef tartare after receiving rowan.atkinson.steak.tartarea complaint from someone who got sick after eating the raw French cuisine at a local restaurant.

According to public health officials, the fancy dish, which is made of raw shredded beef before being seasoned and topped with a raw egg, should never have been served in the first place as it is against food safety regulations and could contain bacteria and parasites that may make people sick.

“Under the regulations, raw meat products cannot be served to the public,” said Eric Leclair, a spokesman for Ottawa Public Health. “We have asked that the product not be served as it does not meet the regulations under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. At this time, the restaurateur is co-operating and has voluntarily stopped serving the product.”

While Ottawa Public Health is only investigating one area restaurant — it wouldn’t say which one received the complaint — it’s asking all area restaurants to immediately remove the dish from their menus, should they be offering it.

“I’m sure that this dish is popular in areas of Europe, but it doesn’t meet the food safety regulations we have in place in Ontario,” said Sherry Beadle, a manager of Public Health Inspection at the city.

Dozens of restaurants in Ottawa serve some variation of tartare.

The Wellington Street Gastropub, which offers a well-reviewed beef tartare on its menu, had not heard any objections from Ottawa Public Health about its offering. Nor had steak.tartareMichael Blackie, owner of NeXT in Stittsville, who said the dish was one of his restaurant’s most popular offerings.

“Just because one chef doesn’t know how to cook doesn’t mean we all don’t,” he said, responding to public health’s request that the dish be removed from restaurant menus. “It’s goofy. They are always jumping to extremes.”

It’s not cooked.

Raw food fetish

New York Times columnist and food fashionista Mark Bittman has continued his long history of trading food safety for food porn.

Earlier this month, Bittman wrote of his love of beef tartare, or raw beef. Or lamb. Or fish.

A Toronto chef who asked not to be identified for fear of tipping off the city’s public-health inspectors, gushed in Toronto’s Globe and Mail about his love rowan.atkinson.steak.tartareof the raw pork.

“Raw pork is some of the sweetest-tasting meat I’ve ever had.” At his Italian restaurant, he sources his pork directly from a traditional small-scale farm (at $4.50 a pound, more than double what most restaurants pay for pork) and puts it on his menu as salsiccia cruda – literally, raw sausage. Ground in-house on the same day the pig arrives at the restaurant, the meat is seasoned with salt, pepper, fennel, coriander and chili and served on crostini with olive oil.

He is careful to point out that he would never make the traditional Italian delicacy from ground supermarket meat – “in North America, unless you have a farmer, you don’t know where your pigs are coming from” – and that his pork is fresh out of the slaughterhouse. “Horse on the menu causes much more of a problem then raw pork,” he says.

Because we all eat, so we’re all good at microbial risk assessment.

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.”

Chefs know tartare about food safety; foodies may know less; UK food critic poisoned by his dinner

Gourmet and food critic Michael Winner, 75, was hospitalized with E. coli poisoning after a meal of steak tartare at home in London.

"For some reason I fancied steak tartare and I had it four days in a row – the steak was bought from the best butcher in town," says Winner.

We have extensively documented that celebrity chefs know squat about food safety; we have extensively documented that self-proclaimed foodies and critics may know less; this goes to a new level of dumb.

Doctors spent four days getting the infection under control – with his wife of two months, Geraldine, bringing him specially prepared meals because he did not dare risk eating hospital food.

"I was in an ordinary NHS ward and they were quite marvellous – except for the hospital food, which you mustn’t eat or you die."

Winner had to be flown back to Britain from Barbados in Sir Philip Green’s private jet after he suffered a serious bout of food poisoning in 2007.

He nearly lost his left leg after being infected by the vibrio vulnificus bacteria from an oyster.

Raw meat is risky but I’m sticking to my plan; that’s what chefs do

I wasn’t even watching. I had Family Guy on in the background while I marked assignments, and it went to that Gordon Ramsay show, Masterchef.

That’s when I heard one of the chef wannabes said, “Working with raw beef is risky but I’m sticking with my plan.”

The plan was to serve some beef tartare tart things, and one chef used a blow torch to warm it up (which did nothing to the inside of the tartare). Another judge said, serving raw meat is a really bad idea.

The hundreds of guests weren’t dumb: 100 per cent choose the beef Wellington over the tartare.

Japan E. coli O111 outbreak claims fourth victim, 70 ill

Jiji Press reported this morning that a woman died Thursday of food poisoning from E. coli O111 in central Japan, bringing the total number of deaths linked to a raw meat dish served at a restaurant chain to four, while 70 others have fallen ill.

She went to a restaurant in Tonami, Toyama prefecture, with her family, including another woman who died Wednesday. The two had eaten yukhoe, a dish similar to tartare, served at the eatery run by Foods Forus Co, based in nearby Kanazawa.

A 6-year-old boy also fell ill and died Friday after eating the dish at the same restaurant.

Another boy died a week ago in nearby Fukui prefecture after eating the same dish at another of the company’s restaurants.

Jiji reported that 70 other people were suspected to be suffering from food poisoning after eating at the company’s restaurants. One of them, confirmed to be infected with the E coli O111 strain, is in critical condition.