The Caterer
Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

Study reveals a third of chefs serve meat ‘on the turn'

29 June 2017 by

A study of over 200 chefs has revealed a third of chefs had worked in kitchens which served meat which is no longer fresh, or spoiled.

Plos One yesterday.

The project aims to determine the causes of food poisoning, particularly in connection with Campylobacter, a bacterium found in undercooked barbeque chicken. The research exposed 16% of chefs said they had served barbecue chicken when they weren't sure if it was fully cooked.

Food poisoning outbreaks have also been credited to the chefs returning to work too soon after suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting. Over 30% of respondents said they had worked in a kitchen within 48 hours of suffering from a diarrhoeal disease.

In 2009, Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck restaurant was hit by a food poisoning outbreak where over 500 people had gastroenteritis. It was linked to contaminated oysters after being handling of food by six infected members of staff.

The outbreak led a change in the Food Standards Agency guidance regarding the management of staff illness. However the research found that 28% of chefs working in a restaurant that had received an accolade or award were more likely to have returned to work within 48 hours of suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting.

It also found that 7.4% did not always wash their hands immediately after handling raw meat, poultry or fish. The probability of washing hands after handling meat and fish was increased by 18% if the chef was working in a fine-dining establishment.

The four behavioural statements presented to chefs and catering students were: "I always wash my hands immediately after handling raw meat, poultry or fish"; "I have worked in a kitchen within 48 hours of suffering from diarrhoea and/or vomiting"; "I have worked in a kitchen where meat that is 'on the turn' has been served"; and "I have served chicken at a barbecue when I wasn't totally sure that it was fully cooked."

Professor Dan Rigby from the University of Manchester, one of the lead authors of the study, said: "Foodborne illnesses impose a huge burden to the UK population, and these results indicate a high prevalence of behaviours which can give people food poisoning. Masking the smell and taste of meat on the turn is an old industry trick, and the ability to do it means restaurants can cut costs. Showing you can do it shows a potential employer you are experienced in the industry.

"It is notable that chefs in fine dining establishments were more likely to have returned to work too soon after suffering diarrhoea and/or vomiting, contravening UK regulations - this may be that fear of losing a prestigious job, or a desire not to let the team down, is causing people to not to stay away for long enough, putting the public at risk."

Fat Duck rejects claims it reacted slowly to norovirus outbreak >>

Heston Blumenthal gets £200,000 compensation for business lost to norovirus scare >>

Mark Selby: Wahaca norovirus outbreak was a life changing experience >>

Videos from The Caterer archives

Are you looking for a new role? See all the current hospitality vacancies available with The Caterer Jobs

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.

close

Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking