Food safety with seafood and ice cream (or seafood ice cream)
George Dimitrios Calombaris, an Australian chef and judge on MasterChef Australia, has recently done a class on how to create a particularly interesting dish: oyster ice cream. However, in his instructional video, he didn't go into best food safety practises which is especially important with this plate.
While this does sound like a delicious savoury creation (that is, if you're a more adventurous eater) it also poses the risk of being a recipe for disaster if food safety best practises are not strictly followed. This is because the unconventional dessert combines two foods that require very careful handling, hence why seafood and dairy are two of the first foods that Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) lists as potentially hazardous.
If you work in the food industry, it's important for your own professional development to be familiar with best food safety practises. Find out how to handle seafood and ice cream at all stages.
Cool potentially hazardous food to five degrees Celsius or colder as soon as you can
For both ice cream and seafood (or seafood ice cream) make sure that if you plan on using it later you cool the food to five degrees Celsius or colder as soon as you can. This is because there may be bad bacteria in the food before it has been cooked.
Also, when it comes to seafood, remember this simple catchphrase: if it's raw, let it thaw. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends letting seafood thaw gradually by placing it in the refrigerator overnight. But if you must thaw seafood quickly, you can place it in a sealed plastic bag and let it soak in cold water. If you plan on cooking it right away, you can defrost it in the microwave but keep the fish a little icy. When handling the raw seafood of your choice, make sure to wash your hands every 20 seconds with soap and warm water.
As for ice cream, the most important thing to know before making it is to make sure that it has been pasteurised. Pasteurisation is a process that heats milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time and kills harmful bacteria. There are people who will tell you that raw milk is not dangerous, but in actual fact, it is. Foodsafety.gov, another U.S. governmental Website, says that it is very unwise to consume raw milk as it harbours dangerous microorganisms.
With seafood, it is best to cook it thoroughly if possible. In the case of oysters, you'll want to cook them with the shells open. Also, throw out any oysters that just won't open at all. Don't forget to use your nose either. If you smell an ammonia odour while cooking, it is likely that the oysters are spoiled.
If you're making your own ice cream, you want to make sure your eggs are cooked. Salmonella is a common problem with homemade ice cream. So, periodically use a thermometer to check that the temperature of the mixture is at 71 degrees Celsius. Take a lesson from Master Chef and look like a real professional by continually checking the temperature.
If you plan on working in the food industry, knowledge of food safety practises is essential. Implement Online's course on food safety is a good introduction to what you need to know or it can act as a good refresher for those who already work in the food industry.