Be Careful of Sous Vide Foods

Stay safe when adopting this popular french style of cooking
March 6, 2013

One of the common trends in French food is to cook in a style called sous vide. Not only is this a popular option in France, but it is growing in popularity throughout Australia. 

This method of cooking, which translates to “under a vacuum”, involves cooking meats that have been sealed into an airtight plastic bag and then placed in a slow cooker. The problem is, many times, the food is very undercooked or even raw. The New South Wales food authority has issued a warning about sous vide foods and how they need to be cooked in order to avoid food poisoning.

Raw meat poses a serious threat because it contains bacteria that haven't been killed. You could put yourself, and everyone who consumes your food, at risk. Just how can you go about cooking sous vide foods that are still enjoyable but also safe to eat?

Follow the Right Sous Vide Guidelines

The Food Authority has released specific guidelines for cooking in the sous vide style. All dining establishments are required to follow these guidelines, and they are also important for cooking at home. The guidelines include:

  • Cut the meat into thin portions. It will cook all the way through this way.
  • The time food is held below 54.5°C during cooking should be limited to six hours.
  • The hot water bath used before cooking should be at least 55 degrees Celsius.
  • The food needs to be cooled down quickly after cooking. To do this, use a slush ice bath. Restaurants have specialty cooling equipment that must always be used.
  • Always double check to ensure your equipment is accurate in temperature readings.

How to Stay Safe When Cooking with Raw Meats

As always, you need to be very careful about how you handle raw meats of any type. Since you will be placing foods into plastic bags by hand, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after sealing the meats in. Always wash any utensils used with the meat and wash any surfaces with antibacterial soap.

Sous vide foods are becoming more popular than ever in Australia. Because of this, the Food Safety Commission recognized a need to provide guidelines for cooking with this method. Always remember to put safety first. If you cook in the sous vide style and you have any reason to believe the food is not safe, it is better to not eat it.