Sunday, June 27, 2010

Old lessons not learned - Re-post

I have just returned from a meeting of food experts in Wageningen, Holland. One evening, we were taken to the Zoo in Arnhem. This fantastic place has a number of indoor environments, such as a jungle, ocean, desert and a restaurant.

After the visit, we had a meal in the somewhat inappropriately named Burgers Zoo Restaurant. A feature of this is the do-it-yourself barbeque. This ingenious device is like the continuous toasters you see in some hotel dining rooms – the food is placed on a continuous belt grill and passes over heated briquettes. Diners select their meats and salads from the large range set out on side tables.

Not having completely switched out of professional mode, I watched my fellow foodies to see how they would cope. I guess I should not have been surprised to see several of them take their raw meats and salads onto a single plate. They cooked the meats and then put them back onto the same plate! Nobody took fresh tongs or heated the ones used to put the meat on the grill.

Clearly, not all the participants were experts in food safety, but I had hoped that they would know about basic food safety rules – cooked food should NEVER be put on a plate that has held uncooked meat and cross contamination of salads from raw meats must be avoided. When I pointed out their mistake to a couple of my colleagues, they understood, but still didn’t know what to do about it.

At the other end of the scale, one young lady expressed concern as to whether she had cooked her steak sufficiently and was she at risk of food poisoning? In my opinion, her meat was over-cooked, but it would certainly have been safe to eat. Raw steaks from a healthy animal are essentially sterile on the inside, so they can be made safe by cooking the outside properly. (Minced or ground meat has had the outside mixed into the inside, so cannot safely be eaten rare). She expressed the view that barbequing was a bloke’s job, but I wonder if it should be left to food microbiologists?


John said...

This article has been re-posted. I discovered that a comment from a reader contained not only an aphorism, but also a hidden link to a porn site. I apologise to anyone who discovered the link and was offended by it.

food handling certificate said...

Safe steps in food handling, cooking, and storage are essential to prevent foodborne illnesses. It all starts with you.

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