Shoppers are being reminded to thoroughly wash mixed salad leaves amid concern that this food could be the source of an E. coli outbreak that has killed two and infected more than 150 people in the UK.
Food scientists are on a collision course with Britain’s top chefs and restaurants over the safety of serving burgers rare, following the decision last week by a Food Standards Agency (FSA) expert committee to retain its thorough cooking recommendation.
In the United Kingdom, outbreaks of Campylobacter infection are increasingly attributed to undercooked chicken livers, yet many recipes, including those of top chefs, advocate short cooking times and serving livers pink. During 2015, we studied preferences of chefs and the public in the United Kingdom and investigated the link between liver rareness and survival of Campylobacter. We used photographs to assess chefs’ ability to identify chicken livers meeting safe cooking guidelines. To investigate the microbiological safety of livers chefs preferred to serve, we modeled Campylobacter survival in infected chicken livers cooked to various temperatures. Most chefs correctly identified safely cooked livers but overestimated the public’s preference for rareness and thus preferred to serve them more rare. We estimated that 19%–52% of livers served commercially in the United Kingdom fail to reach 70°C and that predicted Campylobacter survival rates are 48%–98%. These findings indicate that cooking trends are linked to increasing Campylobacter infections.
Iain Haysom's insight:
Interesting paper on the "gourmetification” of foodborne disease.
The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and the subsequent development of the thermocycler – the machine that carries it out – has revolutionised the use of genetics in the lab. Simply put, PCR takes a small amount of template DNA, and repeatedly copies a small section to create a much larger amount of this small section.…
Did you know that the refreshing, Spring time smell of dirt and forest is produced by microbes? Learn about the bacteria geosmin and why, of all of the “interesting” smells in the microbial world, this one is so pleasant to us.
Campylobacter control using rapid surface chilling (RSC) is “the nearest thing we have to a silver bullet”, and should be adopted widely to cut infection levels, according to Bernard Matthews group technical director Jeremy Hall.
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