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Should the FSA take a stand on celebrity chefs?


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#1 GMO

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 11:46 AM

I watched Heston's latest programme this week on cooking chicken (or rather I watched half of it then went off in a huff).

He seriously suggested cooking a chicken at 90oC for an hour and a half to achieve a final cooking temperature of 60oC. To be fair to him he did say something along the lines of "for food safety you should achieve 75oC but 60oC is right for me". Now he didn't say that to achieve 75 you would almost certainly have to cook at a higher temperature.

What worries me apart from the obvious is there will be very few domestic ovens capable of accurate temperature control. A variation of 40oC plus wouldn't be all that surprising. Additionally, if someone has a temperature probe at home, it will be at best accurate to 3oC. It certainly won't be regularly calibrated.

So, what's your view? Considering the FSA have come out in the past and issued a statement on chicken livers after several TV chefs cooked them until they were still pink in the middle, do you think it would be sensible to have issued a statement on cooking of chicken after this programme? I mean I do agree with Heston that the pack instructions are normally excessive, however, I think he's gone too far this time, especially considering his previous run ins with environmental health.



#2 Charles.C

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 03:24 PM

Dear GMO,

A greatly intriguing and instructive OP. :thumbup: (Even though i have never heard of "Heston" :smile: ).

I deduce that previously aired tv programs have already generated (official?) negative criticism regarding inadequate cooking in this specific situation.

My first thought was that the FSA's viewpoint for this (and related ) issues as far as restaurants/caterers are concerned is hopefully stated within their SFBB pack. :dunno: (I do recall that temperature readings are included in the SOPs but whether in every situation less sure).

The preference of chefs for lower temperatures, eg 60-65degC at (presumably) appropriately longer times so as to achieve optimum flavour/texture is I believe not unusual in cook books (I am solely a microwave or boiling devotee). Similarly the practice of basing cooked endpoints on meat colour is also not unusual in textbooks.
The present case would appear to be one (dangerous) exception to a "general" rule. I don't know if the risk for this specific case is typically mentioned in cook books or whether the "pink" criterion is the normal rule ?

Based on yr links, IMO one might have expected an included specific warning in the program. (Assuming that the chef/etc was aware of the potential risk.) Admittedly, it is also rather amazing how little Campylobacter's typical presence in poultry is discussed, even in many haccp presentations (I assume cooking for 6D of Salmonella or L.mono has an equivalent or > effect on this organism [typical levels?]).

Rgds / Charles.C


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Charles.C


#3 djc@eti

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 04:23 PM

Not sure that Charles.C is really from Earth if he hasn’t heard of Heston! J

For Mr Blumental’s take on temperature requirements see http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2004/dec/11/foodanddrink.shopping3

which confirms the notion that control of bacteria is a combined function of time and temperature.

It’s a rather cynical but probably realistic view that domestic thermometers are not regularly calibrated, and certainly non-digital instruments will be difficult to read accurately. Such education should definitely be in the hands of the industry and FSA.

Certainly the FSA could take a stronger lead in recommendations. Most of their guidance is based on food being cooked until “piping hot” or “juices run clear”. In these times when accurate digital thermometers are readily available, the FSA should be able to be a little more scientific. However this huge Quango is as reluctant as anyone else to stipulate cooking temperatures. And in these crazy times of litigation, their thoughts are somewhat understandable.

There are so many variables with regard to the safety of cooking various meats/poultry, and joints of meat, that it is difficult to list - however a good start would be a SuperFast Thermapen (which helps prevent over as well as under cooking - and Charles, is a useful way to ensure that your Microwave is working properly J)
David




#4 Urban Explorer

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 06:25 PM

I haven't heard of Heston either... :)

Here in the States, there is a similar trend among celebrity chefs as in the UK. I watch UK programs as well, fyi.

Consumers are more likely to listen to a celebrity's chef advice than the FDA (our version of FSA). UK's Jamie Oliver came over here and criticized our school lunches and created an uproar, when it was obvious he actually knew very little of how food is actually processed in the US. Chefs (speaking as a trained chef as well as food science educated person) tend to glance over recommendations of cooking time/temperature.



#5 Charles.C

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 07:18 PM

Dear djc,

Yr post has driven me to Google. I had heard of the late, great, Charlton Heston but never in connection with cooking.
Now I am better informed that Heston was first name. :smile:

For non-UK readers this link may also be of value ( > Quango) –

http://www.bbc.co.uk...litics-11405840

The 12mins mentioned for 60degC appears to approx. relate to a 6D/Salmonella cook. Strange choice since I think UK is typically a L.mono based country, this would require a much longer period for 6D IMO.

Thks for the microwave tip. Currently my usual verification is based on visually gauging the achieved temperature (evidence of steam condensate etc). I only use microwave for frozen (fully) cooked meals which hopefully limits the risk. Nonetheless i appreciate yr concern. :smile:

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#6 GMO

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 07:24 AM

Dear djc,

Yr post has driven me to Google. I had heard of the late, great, Charlton Heston but never in connection with cooking.
Now I am better informed that Heston was first name. :smile:

For non-UK readers this link may also be of value ( > Quango) –

http://www.bbc.co.uk...litics-11405840

The 12mins mentioned for 60degC appears to approx. relate to a 6D/Salmonella cook. Strange choice since I think UK is typically a L.mono based country, this would require a much longer period for 6D IMO.

Thks for the microwave tip. Currently my usual verification is based on visually gauging the achieved temperature (evidence of steam condensate etc). I only use microwave for frozen (fully) cooked meals which hopefully limits the risk. Nonetheless i appreciate yr concern. :smile:

Rgds / Charles.C


I didn't see him holding the temperature probe in the chicken for 12 minutes either... If you don't actually probe it for 12 minutes, how can you prove it held that temperature for 12 minutes?

For me anyway, the protein in the muscle didn't look set. I agree most supermarket cooking instructions are ridiculous and I often take 20-30 minutes off the cooking time but his technique left no room for error. There are so many variables; oven temperature being inaccurate, out of calibration probe, someone (like him) not being bothered to check for 12 minutes... All so you can get some chicken at the end of it which frankly looked a bit slimey. And this is the best chef in the UK?

That all said, his technique for poached eggs does rock.

#7 gtjs

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 04:52 PM

UK's Jamie Oliver came over here and criticized our school lunches and created an uproar, when it was obvious he actually knew very little of how food is actually processed in the US.


Hi Destinee,

I guess we owe you folks across the pond an apology for the Jamie Oliver series! It was dreadful & his patronising attitude while he blundered his way around the States was an embarrassment, e.g. trying to slip into 'character' by high-fiving & calling everyone 'man'. He did get corrected a few times though & I guess he has ticked the USA off the list now so you're safe for the time being!

G

#8 Urban Explorer

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 05:22 PM

Thanks gtjs. It's one of my pet peeves when people who have the opportunity to inform consumers choose to create controversy and fear mongering instead. There's nothing I hate more than uninformed consumers who post disparaging remarks about our food supply when they actually have no knowledge of the food industry. People shout "more control over our food, but I hate how the government has their nose in everything!"



#9 Urban Explorer

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 01:02 PM

Last week, one of the US's better known foodies, Rachael Ray, appeared on the talk show, The View, cooking up some new recipes. She cooked up a Cuban Patty melt which was still pink in the middle and one of the hosts asked if it was safe to eat. Rachael said as long as the beef is grass-fed or organic, you don't have to worry about E.coli. A writer over at meatingplace.com, a site for meat industry professionals, wrote an intelligent reply with facts and figures about the type of misinformation Rachael is giving out.



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#10 cesspadilla

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 11:36 AM

I don't know of the Heston ya'll been talking about. It made me search for Google but Google gives me Heston Blumenthal. Well I think there are certain situations that we can consider like the time of cooking.



#11 GMO

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 11:54 AM

Last week, one of the US's better known foodies, Rachael Ray, appeared on the talk show, The View, cooking up some new recipes. She cooked up a Cuban Patty melt which was still pink in the middle and one of the hosts asked if it was safe to eat. Rachael said as long as the beef is grass-fed or organic, you don't have to worry about E.coli. A writer over at meatingplace.com, a site for meat industry professionals, wrote an intelligent reply with facts and figures about the type of misinformation Rachael is giving out.


That is priceless. So organic or grass fed beef is bacteria free? Genius! What an idiot!




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