December 3, 2023

Food Safety Bloopers, Snack Mix Edition

Oh, Rachael Ray. You may remember our disapproval at her The Book of Burger, in which she calls for cooking ground beef hamburgers to rare or medium-rare. The USDA states that it is not safe to eat any ground meat unless it’s cooked to well-done. Her burger recipes in her magazine still say to cook them to medium-rare.

Important Notice RecallIn the November issue of her magazine, Everyday with Rachael Ray, she gives recipes for snack mixes. One of those recipes calls for mixing cooked bacon with nuts and other goodies, drizzling with honey, then baking. Fine so far. But then there are no instructions to keep the mix refrigerated, or to refrigerate it after it’s been at room temperature. Because any cooked meat must be refrigerated after two hours or pathogenic bacteria may grow.

The only cooked bacon that is safe to store at room temperature has been processed in a registered food facility so its water activity is at or below 0.85%. This prevents the growth of Staphylococcus aureus. There is no way for a home cook to tell if the water activity in the cooked bacon is at that safe level.

Even after it’s cooked, bacon contains proteins that pathogenic bacteria love. In addition, the fats in the bacon can become rancid if not kept cold.

So if you choose to follow Ms. Ray and make her recipes, please keep these facts in mind. And don’t follow her food safety advice.

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