Ad Hoc Group on Raw, Rare and Low Temperature Cooked Foods meeting 27 November 2012

Summary of the third meeting of the group

At this meeting the group was given a demonstration of sous vide cooking, considered: data on outbreaks, Campylobacter data, growth and death data of organisms, information on types of sous vide of machines and technology used and trends in the sale of sous vide machines/waterbaths. The group also reviewed: information from the vacuum packaging report, existing guidance and current recommendations for low temperature cooking conditions, recipes and types of food cooked using sous vide and information from other countries.

Sous vide demonstration
A chef gave a demonstration on sous vide cooking. The group found the demonstration very useful. Various points arose from the demonstration.

Outbreak data
Members considered data from 2009-2011 and noted that there were a significant number of outbreaks of Campylobacter attributed to the consumption of chicken liver parfait.

Growth and death data
The group considered growth and death limits for Salmonella, Listeria, E.coli VTEC, Campylobacter jejuni and Clostridium. It was agreed that this data will be part of the group’s report when discussing the risks from low temperature cooking.

Types of sous vide machines and technology use
The group discussed types of sous vide machines available and the technology used. The group did not agree with some of the advice provided by some of the companies.

Data from manufacturers, retailers on sous vide machine/waterbath sales and trends
The group considered the limited information available on sous vide sales and trends. The available information revealed sales of vacuum sealers and waterbaths are on the increase.

Review any relevant information from the vacuum packaging report
Members agreed that the way the recommendations are framed in the vacuum packaging report might be a good model to follow for this group’s report.

Guidance and current recommendations for low temperature cooking conditions.
FSA guidance on cooling and reheating had been provided along with an extract from the relevant legislation on temperature control for England and Scotland. It was noted there were differences in the England and Scotland regulations with regard to hot holding and regeneration temperatures.

Recipes and types of food cooked using various cooking processes
The group considered information on recipes and types of food cooked using sous vide cooking. Members had previously considered definitions and a research report on the safety of sous vide cooking. The group agreed that all foods cooked with the sous vide cooking techniques should be covered in its deliberations.

Information from other countries
Members asked to be provided with additional information from other countries.

Conclusions on the risk from low temperature cooking
The group acknowledged the significance of considering all relevant data on the effects of heating at lower temperatures on the growth/death of organisms before any conclusions could be reached on the risk from low temperature cooking.