With a royal wedding last year and the country gearing up for the Olympics and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee it’s a great time to celebrate being British. And food-wise what could be more British than a traditional roast beef dinner?
Aptly, Great British Beef Week kicks off on St George’s Day 23rd April and this year it is being fiercely supported by Ladies in Beef. Before you ask, Ladies in Beef is not some kind of Lady Gaga-esque collective of women who like to wear outfits made of beef, far from it. It is an organisation of lady beef farmers on a mission to promote awareness of the quality and versatility of British beef and has a network of ‘beef champions’ across the country. The face of the Ladies in Beef campaign is none other than ‘OXO Mum’ Lynda Bellingham and Patron of the organisation is farmer and BBC Countryfile presenter Adam Henson.
During British Beef Week, consumers will be encouraged to increase their purchase of beef carrying the Red Tractor logo. This is an independent mark of quality, not only for beef, but for any type of agricultural produce. It guarantees that the food we are purchasing is derived from farms and food companies that meet high standards of food safety and hygiene, animal welfare and environmental production – something we at Verner Wheelock Associates are passionate about ourselves.The Ladies in Beef website www.ladiesinbeef.org.uk and www.greatbritishbeef.co.uk includes several recipes and ideas as well as facts about beef – for example we all know that beef is a great source of protein and is packed with vitamins and minerals, but did you know that The type of iron found in red meat (haem iron) is more easily absorbed and used by the body than the iron in plant foods such as pulses, nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables?
The site also offers food safety tips such as:
- Ensure that hands, equipment and surfaces are scrupulously clean before and after handling food and between handling raw and cooked foods – especially when using the barbecue.
- Check your fridge is operating at the correct temperature: between 0 and 4 degrees centigrade.
- Keep a separate hard, durable chopping board for preparing raw meats.
- Defrost frozen foods thoroughly (unless otherwise stated) and do not re-freeze once thawed.
- Make sure foods are thoroughly and evenly defrosted, and when re-heating ensure it is piping hot throughout.
- When marinating meat, cover and store in a refrigerator.
- Ensure burgers and sausages are thoroughly cooked and piping hot before serving.
- When roasting a stuffed joint remember to weigh the joint after stuffing, then calculate the cooking time.
- Food thermometers can be used to ensure internal food temperatures are sufficiently hot.
People often have a preference for the cooking of steak and roast beef – either rare, medium or well-done. Thermometers should also be used to check the temperature of roast beef before serving to ensure that the meat is a uniform temperature before serving. The correct temperatures are Rare: 60°C, Medium: 70°C, Well-done: 80°C.
Additionally, since we’re approaching the barbecue season, to guard against food poisoning it is essential that meat items such as burgers and sausages are cooked all the way through. Whereas a steak is a primary cut of beef, the extra processing that is involved in manufacturing, burgers, sausages and similar products mean that there is the potential for contaminants to enter the product, so cooking the product until the juices run clear will kill any potential pathogens.
We run a number of Food Safety courses, from basic to advanced level, which have been attended by a wide range of food manufacturers and processors, caterers and butchers. For more information about any of our courses, including our e-learning courses, please see the main website www.vwa.co.uk