The UK Institute of Food Research (IFR) has reported the findings of a project to examine the safety of sous-vide cooking methods (slow cooking of vacuum-packed food in a water bath), undertaken at the behest of the Food Standards Agency.
The purpose of the research, led by Dr Sandra Stringer, was to review the available information on the growth and thermal death of bacterial pathogen cells at temperatures within the range 40-60oC and determine whether existing mathematical growth and survival models could be extended to include this temperature range. This is in response to a recent increase in sous-vide foods being cooked at lower temperatures.
The IFR researchers found that most of the published data related to growth at temperatures below 40oC and thermal death above 55oC and concluded that new data would need to be acquired before ComBase predictive models could be used to assess the safety of new sous vide processes.
The project report can be found on the Food Standards Agency web site here.