Artificial Technology Can Make Food Safer

(p. A11) . . . the wider food-handling community increasingly is calling for a “kill step” in handling raw vegetables and produce.
Cooking (properly) is a kill step that works for food that is cooked.
. . .
After the 2015 disaster, Chipotle hired Prof. James Marsden of Kansas State University’s renowned food safety program. By the details released so far, the company has indeed begun experimenting with kill steps. These include blanching–dipping produce in boiling water–or spritzing with “natural” pathogen-neutralizers like lemon juice. Certain tasks have also been shifted to a central, McDonald’s -style kitchen and away from the local restaurant, though the company says certain steps were reversed when customers complained about the taste or appearance of their meals.
. . . Many in the food-safety camp are already keen on more-energetic kill steps, such as irradiation, chemical treatment with ozone or chlorine compounds, or the use of high-barometric-pressure systems.
. . .
A 2007 KSU study put volunteers in a test kitchen to see if they could follow directions safely to prepare frozen, uncooked, breaded chicken products. Many couldn’t. Among the findings: 100% of adolescents (the kind that work in fast-food restaurants) claimed they washed their hands when video monitoring showed they hadn’t.

For the full commentary, see:
Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. “Chipotle Seeks a ‘Kill Step’; America’s growing taste for fresh greens is a challenge to food-handling practices.” The Wall Street Journal (Sat.., July 29, 2017): A11.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date July 28, 2017.)

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