Food Safety with the Art of Sous Vide
Sous vide, also known as “precise temperature” cooking, is a technique used to ensure the even cooking of food items in a way that retains moisture and enhances desirable qualities like texture and taste. It works by enclosing food in a sealed, food-safe, plastic vacuum pouch, which is then submerged and slow cooked in water at constant, precise temperatures until the food is fully cooked and pasteurized. Not only does sous vide deliver higher-quality and better-tasting meals than traditional cooking methods, but it also offers the added benefit of being conducive to healthier digestion.
In the past, sous vide was reserved for high-end restaurants, but as chefs increasingly realize the benefits of this innovative method, more and more restaurants are beginning to add sous vide items to their menu.
One caveat, though, is safety. Critics of sous vide are understandably wary of the method because it involves innovative procedures that consumers do not typically employ when cooking at home—i.e. cooking with plastic and potentially exposing food to pathogens. When executed properly, sous vide can be safer than traditional cooking methods because it is a fully pasteurized process that kills spoilage and pathogenic bacteria. Conversely, traditional cooking methods present more opportunities for food to become exposed to pathogenic bacteria before and after cooking, such on cutting boards or countertops, because it is not hermetically sealed like sous vide.