Monday, June 16, 2008

Face the Facts!

Is it safe to eat steak whose doneness is other than well done?

Answer from answers.yahoo.com: "I always choose well done when I eat steaks. Unfortunately, a large study by the National Institutes of Health, published in the journal Cancer Research, found that well-done red meat was associated with an increased risk of colorectal adenoma, the precursor lesion to colorectal cancer. So, I wish to eat the medium ones one day. However, I think it’s best to taste the medium well first.

I have heard that:
- Rare steak is the steak for the true carnivore who wants meat, but gets it cooked (as little as possible) to be polite
- Medium rare is the recommended level of doneness. Ask any chef how they like their steak and they'll say medium rare
- Medium; if you are grilling for a large group of people this is the best steak to please most everyone
- Medium well; it is the steak for the squeamish who don't want color in their meat
- Well done; most people will tell you that this is the steak for people who don't like steak. While there is some truth to that, it is a popular way to get a steak so any good grill needs to know how to do it.

Despite those facts above, my major concern is that undercooked meat might harbor diseases. For those who eat pork, since pigs are known to be the carriers of various parasitic worms, do you think it is safe to eat pork whose doneness is not well done?

Eating rare steak will not cause food poisoning if kitchen utensils used to cook it are kept clean, it is claimed. University of Nottingham scientists spiked steak samples with E.coli bacteria, then cooked them rare.

The bacteria only survived where the steaks were touched by utensils that were not cleaned after being used to handle raw meat, researchers found.

The study dispels the myth that eating rare steak is in itself unsafe, the Meat and Livestock Commission said.

Recontamination

The tests, carried out on behalf of the commission, were designed to establish once and for all whether serving rare steak posed a health risk.

To determine whether food poisoning bacteria could survive the cooking process, steak samples taken from separate fillets were spiked with E.coli.

The bacteria, which are known to die at high temperatures, were still present in the samples even after cooking.

But it was found that the cells' survival was caused by recontamination of the steaks during cooking, via the tongs used to turn them.

Bacteria such as E.coli can cause food poisoning

Scientists then spiked more steaks and cooked them - but sterilised the tongs in ethanol between turns to ensure that the tongs could not recontaminate the meat.

This time, no E.coli was detected.

The study concluded that rare steak can be produced safely provided that food poisoning bacteria are not reintroduced by contaminated utensils.

The Meat and Livestock Commission said there should no longer be any doubt over the safety of rare steak - a claim supported by advice issued by the Food Standards Agency.

Its guidelines state that whole cuts of meat, such as steaks, cutlets and joints, are only ever contaminated by bacteria on the outside of the meat, which are destroyed during cooking even if the middle of the meat is pink, or rare.

The agency also stresses the importance of keeping utensils clean while cooking any type of meat, to ensure that bacteria are not spread from raw to cooked foods."

So, please do not tell me I am unhealthy because I like my steak cooked medium-rare.

1 comment:

amanda bee said...

ooh girl - i had to comment on this - i don't mean to keep chiming in on your blogs - but anyone who cooks a steak anything OTHER than medium or below might as well skip a steak all together - all your eating is shoe leather in my opinion. why ruin a perfectly good cut of meat? ooh, this one gets me all fired up - waiting tables for five years and having people think you're crazy for offering anything other then WELL has made me sort of nuts about it!