When Cooking Sous Vide, Food Safety Should be Your #1 Priority
By: Philip Preston
The sous vide cooking method can provide tremendous culinary benefits in both home and professional kitchens. Most notably, the method allows users to control heat with extraordinary precision. In fact, no other process enables both chefs and home cooks to monitor temperature with such ease. However, as with any cooking method, technology alone cannot guarantee results if it is not used correctly.
Fundamentals of food safety are especially important when cooking sous vide because the easy-of-use nature that makes the method so attractive, may also create complacency among users. Consequently, even seemingly basic and logical kitchen safety steps should be reviewed by everyone involved to avoid potential problems.
- Always use only the freshest ingredients.
- Ensure hands, tools, and work surfaces are clean.
- Move products directly from refrigerated storage to preheated baths.
- Don’t overload preheated baths with cold products because temperature recovery times may be significantly lengthened
- When undertaking cook-and-chill recipes, use an ice bath to chill rapidly.
- If a bag becomes bloated, it could be a sign of bacteria spoilage and should not be used.
Taking safety a step further, PolyScience has developed unique software that models the thermal conductivity of proteins in both heated water and ice baths to help you make informed cooking decisions. More specifically, the PolyScience Sous Vide Toolbox iPhone / iPad Application is a practical tool for predicting core temperatures and provides valuable insights into pathogen reduction. Users simply enter the type of protein being cooked along with its shape, size, starting temperature, and desired core temperature, and the application automatically calculates the minimum cook time.
Although the software is already a truly remarkable tool that should be used by everyone cooking sous, we didn’t stop there. Instead, we continually seek new perspectives. Most recently, we enlisted the help of the Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management’s O. Peter Snyder Jr., Ph.D., a leading food safety expert. Dr. Snyder concluded that the PolyScience Sous Vide Toolbox application “… is a professional aid to determining the time required for heating muscle foods in a controlled temperature water bath. Safety of a sous vide process is always verified by measuring the final core temperature of the food product with a temperature probe and meeting government food safety standards.”
Dr. Snyder has also provided detailed insights to help our customers even better understand and minimize sous vide associated food safety risks (see our website at: www.cuisinetechnology.com/DrSnyder).