A valuable yet highly underrated kitchen utensil which should feature in every kitchen is the Meat Thermometer. I recently came across an article by a food safety writer on foodsafety.com.au which discussed the value of this kitchen tool.
As the writer suggests food safety is not just a matter of clean hands, while washing your hands does have its value, all commercial and residential kitchens should invest in a meat thermometer because no matter how “clean” you are, if you do not cook your meat and chicken properly you run the risk of sickening everyone who eats your food because of some or the other foodborne bacteria, bacteria that could otherwise have been killed if the meat was cooked to a high enough temperature.
A recent study quoted by the article’s writer, done by the Food Safety Commissioner indicated that less than a quarter of Australian citizens owned a meat thermometer. The article also reminds readers that most food safety concerns relating to meat products are associated with undercooked meat, this is because meats can carry a lot of bacteria which if not cooked to a sufficiently high temperature can grow, breed and multiply in the meat and cause the person who consumes it to become very sick from food poisoning.
Read an excerpt from the article below, taken from www.foodsafety.com.au :
Most consumers simply try to visually gauge food while they cook, but this can cause a few different problems. An attempt to leave certain meats rare can lead to undercooking. When the food doesn’t reach a high enough temperature, the bacteria are not killed. On the other side of the spectrum, some consumers may even overcook and burn foods in an attempt to avoid food poisoning, which will lead to meals that are nearly inedible.
With a meat thermometer, anyone can ensure the meats are reaching the proper internal temperature, which is 75 degrees Celsius. When the food does reach this temperature during cooking, bacteria is killed and food poisoning avoided. The whole piece of meat must reach this temperature, not just the outside, and a meat thermometer is the only way to check internal temperatures.
Meat safety is important for any Australian consumer, but it is all the more important for “at risk” citizens, including:
People with immune compromising diseases
Meat thermometers are the most accurate and inexpensive way of ensuring that your meat is properly cooked through, rather than risk getting sick and sickening your family and guests. In Oz a meat thermometer costs less than $40, which most families can afford and when you compare the cost of a meat thermometer with the consequences of eating raw and uncooked meat, the cost is minimal.
In Australia, restaurants are legally required to make use of meat thermometers, and must have the devices calibrated regularly to pass HACCP guidelines. Although most restaurants are making use of this tool, many households could not be bothered about taking these precautions despite its inexpensiveness and simplicity to use.