Tip of the Week
Cooking food via the sous vide method (water bath) is a perfectly safe method of cooking if you have a safe procedure in place.
The biggest hazard with sous vide cooking is the potential for multiplication of bacteria and production of toxins that may be aided by packing in a vacuum pouch.
Bacteria such as Clostridium Perfringens, Clostridium Botulinum and Bacillus Cereus thrive in the absence of oxygen so care must be taken in handling, packaging, cooking, cooling, etc.
- Store foods to be vacuum packed at low temperatures (ideally less than 4°C)
- Handle foods carefully to avoid cross contamination
- Cook at the right temperature – the bacteria are not likely to produce toxins above 45°C and will be killed after prolonged cooking at 54°C. The required cooking temperatures vary with the type of food and cooking ingredients.
- Cook for the right time – it takes several hours to kill the bacteria at 54°C and the time reduces as the temperature increases. You need to specify the cooking time and temperatures for all your sous vide dishes to ensure safety and consistency.
- Use other control measures – salt, preservatives, pasteurisation, acidity, control, etc. in addition to cooking. Each of these additional controls reduces the required cooking time.
- Separate vacuum machine for raw and ready to eat foods.
It is vital that you have written procedures/specifications for all your sous vide dishes. Specify the recipe, method and cooking times and temperatures. Record the cooking times and temperatures of ALL high risk foods cooked sous vide.
Weekly Food Fact
Here is some good news for you…. Apparently research has suggested that chocolate can be just as good for you as fruit. In a test comparing dark chocolate with the juice from blueberries & pomegranates, the dark chocolate was found to be higher in disease-fighting antioxidants. Yippee!
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