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As sous vide cooking becomes more and more common we're asked more and more about the safety concerns associated with sous vide cooking. We decided to gather some information about sous vide safety, namely cooking in plastic and time and temperature safety. Hopefully these articles can start answering any questions you have about the safety of sous food cooking.
As always, please remember:
Sous vide is a new and largely untested method of cooking. It carries many inherit health risks that may not be fully understood. The information on this site is for informational purposes only. Anyone undertaking sous vide cooking should fully inform themselves about any and all risks associated with it and come to their own conclusions. Following anything on this site may make you sick and should only be done if you are fully aware of the potential complications.
A main concern of sous vide safety is cooking in plastic and whether or not this is a dangerous practice. Many scientists and chefs believe that cooking plastic at these low temperatures does not pose any risk, the temperature is about equivalent to leaving a bottle of water in your car, or in a semi during transport, in summer. However, I find it hard to believe that we know everything about how plastic reacts to heat, water, our bodies, and the environment. As such, I encourage you to read up on the safety of plastic in sous vide and plastic in general and come to your own conclusions about the safety of using these techniques.
Cooking in plastic is a major sous vide safety concern for those new to this technique. Another sous vide safety issue, this one has been studied in much more detail, deals with the propagation of bacteria at various temperatures, especially salmonella. Salmonella only thrive in a certain range of temperatures, from about 40ºF to 135ºF, often referred to the "danger zone".
There is a lot of discussion about safety with regards to cooking salmon with sous vide, especially when done "mi-cuit" or partially cooked. The two main concerns are the parasite Anisakis simplex and botulism. We try to address some of the concerns here.
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