Free HACCP web tool from Food.gov
Yesterday ducked into Tesco to pick up dinner. I eat chicken 80% of the time but decided to mix it up and get some steaks for the grill. Went over to get some filets and something was not right! I started to feel around and they were all room temperature.
I noticed the light in the display was not on and felt around for some refrigerant. The display crapped out and no one noticed! As I looked around I noticed no monitoring at all. Some woman came by and was picking up mince. I had to inform her she cannot take it due to food safety. I went to the meat department and told the manager. He rushed over and was in disbelief. He said the most expensive meat and it is fully stocked. He said we have to bin it all. Shaking his head and trying to section it off before summons the store manager. He said they are not going to be happy with a loss this big.
This day and age, monitoring would have alerted them and this loss would have been prevented!
I ate chicken last night.
I love rare & medium rare burgers and this is also the way most good burger joints recommend how their burgers are served; seared on the outside and soft & tender on the inside, mmmm. And as long as these establishments are cooking these in the right way, with meat from the right suppliers (although with recent issues with a few big name meat suppliers recently, this is no guarantee) then all is good. Cooking burgers with any pink in the middle at home, however, is a big no-no, at least according to Food Standard Agency (FSA) guidelines!
The reasons for this require a bit of background. When meat is produced (slaughtered & prepared), there is the potential for contamination of bacteria from the animal’s gut & hide on the outside of the meat. If the meat is then minced, any contamination from bacteria such as e.coli on the outside is then mixed and spread throughout the mince. This is the same reason why it’s fine to serve rare steak from home, as any potential contamination (which is on the outside of the steak) will be annihilated via the searing of the meat on the griddle, pan or BBQ.
Restaurants can serve rare & medium rare burgers, but they do need to get special dispensation from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to serve raw or pink mince and they will need to have:
Meat sourced from an approved FSA supplier who is approved to supply mince which is intended to be served raw or pink (basically having safe levels of pathogens/bacteria).
- Evidence of a demonstrated and tested method of cooking & serving the mince in the safest manner (based on accurate measurements of temperature & cooking times).
Typically, minced meat bought from supermarkets & butchers will not have the same level of strict controls that restaurants need to put in place to serve less than fully cooked mince. So, serving rare or medium rare burgers at home made from shop or butcher bought mince could be setting yourself up for a big fall (or at least a long sit down on the porcelain throne!).
It’s also worth remembering that any restaurant with a low food hygiene rating and serving raw or pink mince should most likely be avoided.
Before I got into the food industry, I worked for a global Internet Service Provider managing the European team and building out data centres across the continent. After I decided to leave, a friend asked me for some help with a street food startup, selling Philly Cheesesteaks. Having a real interest in food and having already enjoyed setting up a business, I thought ‘why not?’.
During the early days of learning about the food industry and coming from a world of automation & online applications, I was blown away by the lack of internet resources for food safety and food hygiene. I also found out quickly that paper, weather, hot food and travelling don’t mix that well! So, to help save me time and get something a bit more robust in place, I decided to devise my own simple, digital, food safety management system.
Whilst on the street food scene I was on the receiving end of regular food safety checks from a variety of councils and during these checks, the environmental health officers (EHO’s) were often commenting on how great my paperwork and processes were. When we moved from a stall to a food truck, the EHO’s suggested and recommended I put a similar system in place.
The eureka moment for me came at a festival in 2015 when another trader got in trouble with her food safety processes, due to a lack of paperwork. She discovered I had an automated system in place and came over and offered to pay me to put the same system in place for her. That is when I thought I may be on to something. I then did six months of research into existing systems and knew I could build a more flexible and customisable app, giving businesses access to on-demand services at a reasonable cost.
KitchenLogs was born!
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