Celebrity chefs still know squat about food safety.
Ten years after we showed the majority of celebrity chefs were food safety imbeciles, foodie fanaticism (and fascism) continues unabated, with fashion still triumphing over facts. And it’s getting worse.
I don’t watch The View, the U.S. chat-fest and I don’t watch the Australian version, The Circle; both are often on at the same time as The Flintstones, so that’s some competitive background viewing (watching the Stanley Cup final live at 10 a.m. yesterday made for excellent background viewing).
Whoopi: When meat is red like this, pink, it’s OK, right?
Rachel: I think people should be better educated about where their food comes from. If you want to eat meat, buy it once in awhile, buy really good quality, and know where it comes from … a lot of the ground beef scares we’ve had are from pre-made patties, mass-produced burgers.
Whoopi: so this is OK?
Rachel: Absolutely, 100 per cent; we made that grind ourselves. If you know the quality of your meat and buy something that says organic or grass-fed, you’re going to be fine if you like your burger a little pinker. … depending on what you’re cooking with, obviously you don’t want a rare turkey burger.
Obviously, Rachel is a victim of food fashion.
Hubbart got it right when she said all ground beef must be cooked to reach an internal temperature of 160F in order to kill bacteria and that color is a lousy indicator of safety.
Hubbart added, “I like how this beef producer put it: “Whether the beef is fed grass, hay, corn, soybean meal, or Krispy Kreme donuts also has nothing to do with the safety of the hamburger. Whether the beef is processed in a large facility, local butcher shop, or at home the same rules apply.”
Home food preservation is seeing a resurgence across North America. Some of this is due to economics, some is linked to eating local (and others are just curious what all the buzz is about). Earlier this year seed companies reported increases in home garden sales (potentially leading to more canning) and North Carolina extension agents have told me that canning inquiries have almost doubled over previous years.
I've even been challenged to a pickle making throw-down (more on that later).
The New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today have all recently covered home food preservation. My contribution to the coverage was reinforcing the importance of following tested recipes (and not messing around with them). Kim Painter of USA Today used my money-shot quote:
"This is one area where you don't want to be Rachael Ray. You don't want to add your flair" to recipes and techniques backed by good science and rigorous testing, says Ben Chapman, a food safety specialist at North Carolina State University.
Keep your flair out of home food preservation and stick to methods that have been evaluated for safety.
Posted: February 24th, 2009 - 3:48pm
by Doug Powell
Rachael Ray (right, sampling goods in Florida last weekend) offered up some suggestions for so-called healthier cooking in that annoying USA Weekend insert to many local newspapers, including this gem:
"Look at labels. ... If you can't read an ingredient, chances are you should not be putting it in your body."
Dr. Dean Cliver, who officially retired October 1, 2007 and is winding down from 46 years in academia, battling infectious agents in food and water, realized that he had come up to the solution to this very problem some 20 years ago and decided to once again share his thoughts with barfblog.com. Dr. Cliver’s proposed label is left, bottom.
The following was originally published in University of Wisconsin-Madison AG LIFE LINES, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Vol. 4, No. 2, page 6, and republished in the Journal of Irreproducible Results, Vol. 34, No. 4, Mar-Apr 1989, page 18.
A subtle and probably pernicious trend in the U.S. food supply seems to be occurring virtually unnoticed. If one reads the information on a food package, as it seems few do, one finds that many food in the U.S. today are composed almost entirely of ingredients. The use of ingredients in foods has become so widespread and flagrant that one can hardly guess what will appear next on the growing list of polysyllabic horrors printed on packages. Through insouciance or ineptitude, we have let the situation get quite out of hand.
Labels seem to be intended rather to obfuscate than to inform. Aside from water, which evidently abounds in these products (though who knows where it has been before it goes into the food?), hardly any of the names that appear on these lists are comprehensible to the average consumer or even pronounceable. The acronyms are even worse. It is not enough to know that “BHA” stands for “butylated hydroxyanisol.” How are we to know where and by whom the hydroxyanisole we are about to ingest was butylated or whether the hydroxyanisole itself was natural or synthetic?
Though most consumers apparently do not read labels at all, those who do seem to have become jaded. My son asked me recently whether the “regular”-flavored generic toothpaste we had just purchased contained natural or artificial regular. And what about the blind — should lists also appear in Braille?
There is little doubt that most of these ingredients are harmful, at least at some level, in foods. Why, for example, would salt be listed as “sodium chloride” if there were nothing to hide? Would any of us willingly be called “The Sodium Chloride of the Earth"? Sugar now comes in enough forms to confound the ablest pancreas. Fats are listed as though they were all polyunsaturated, without any indication of the degree of polity. Plain, American English is nowhere to be found.
Not only are we consuming ingredients ourselves, but we are inflicting them on our unsuspecting children, mindless of potential harm to all future generations. Small wonder that behavioral problems abound in the society whose children have been fed ingredients virtually from birth! For example, many young people today are probably essentially addicted to calcium propionate in their bread. What becomes of them if their supply is cut off? Packages marked “no preservatives” should probably be viewed with extreme caution.
Time and the press have made it clear that the predominance of ingredients in U.S. foods is largely due to the greed of profit-hungry food manufacturers. There is little doubt that this is true: if one travels to parts of the world where the profit motive has been outlawed, one finds that foods are virtually free of ingredients. This has such a favorable effect on quality that people are willing to stand in long lines for food every day. By contrast, hardly anyone stands in line to get food in the U.S. — with all those ingredients why bother?
I submit that the time has come for action on this matter. Consumer groups and enlightened members of the general public must bring pressure to bear on Congress and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to mandate reduced levels of ingredients in foods, probably with a view to an eventual complete ban. Nowadays, virtually the only food one can buy that is almost certainly free of ingredients is an egg in its original shell, and we are now being told not to eat more than one of them per week. How are we to survive on such a diet?
American food manufacturers, in their cupidity, must not be allowed to continue perpetrating this sesquipedalian atrocity on the indifferent or benighted public. Let us speak out now, so that those in government will recognize their duty to regulate, reduce, and eventually eliminate ingredients from the US food supply! Let's get the American public back on real, ingredient-free food, before accumulated subtle deficiencies and abnormalities put us all under the table to stay. Our posterity and their posterity demand this of us.
"the food network has a responsibility to it's (sic) viewers to present cooking that will not predispose them to 3 days of violent vomiting, fever, and possible neurological damage.
"I'm speaking, of course, about Ms. (Rachel) Ray's complete refusal to adhere to national guidelines regarding the consumption of raw eggs and seafood. To be fair, Emeril "Beer Belly" Lagasse, as well as Mario "Anyeurism" Batali also ignore these warnings, and regularly use raw eggs in many of their concoctions. But these two individuals, obese and stinky as they may be, can actually cook, whereas Rachael Ray cannot."
The post goes on in a similar vein. I agree. Food safety (of the microbiological kind) usually loses to food porn on the Food Network.