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Keller on sous vide: 'no long cook times below 140F'

9 posts in this topic

So, in Under Pressure, Keller specifies no cook times over 4 hours if the temp is below 140F


yet, I'm pretty sure I've seen (and I know I have done) 24-72 hr cooks at 135


opinions? facts (even better!)?


doesn't the time eventually reach pasteurisation even at the lower temp?



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Sounds like a liability-driven commercial decision about publishing recommendations in line with "commonly accepted industry practices", e.g. the ServSafe thing.  Publish contrary advice, and if somebody gets sick from doing it wrong, then there is a potential for liability.  If the advice is in line with ServSafe, the potential for liability is minimal.  Under Pressure was published before Modernist Cuisine and all of its scientifically rigorous temp/time tables... those may have been a game changer on the liability front...

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Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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I agree with cdh.


IIRC 56C is the temp hot foods are to be stored at in a buffet line which is a far more hospitable place for bugs to grow than an SV pouch.

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I don't have "Under Pressure," but I have read of people working from the book cooking short ribs at 135F for 72 hrs. I have done that 4 - 5 times. No problems. Merely anecdotal.


MC published several charts, and made inferences about safe cooking below 140.


There was a US gov. site that offered an online charting program that would show how long it took for pathogens to reach hazardous levels at different temperatures.


The online source seems to be changing around, but you might want to look at:




If I understand what I've read (fingers crossed) , foods can be pasteurized below 140F, but the time to reach sterilization is extraordinarily long. If the foods are very contaminated, probably not worth the time and energy to sterilize.

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Yup. It's based on policy, not science. Pasteurization times and temperatures are well known. 140°F doesn't correspond with anything. Given time you'll kill all relevant pathogens at 131°F, and nothing multiplies above 126.1F.


Here's one freely available source.

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Long cook times are fine below 140... I've done this plenty of times. It's always best to blanch things in boiling water for a short time before bagging to kill any nasties that might be on the outside. The inside of meat is pretty much sterile, so this should keep things clean for extended cooking. The Doug Baldwin reference cited above is a great resource if you're interested in low temperature pasteurization.

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FOOD PATHOGEN CONTROL DATA SUMMARY: Clostridium perfringens sets the high temperature growth control standard at 125°F (51.7°C).


attachicon.gifInternal Temperatures and Times for Food Pasteurization.jpg

See also my wikiGullet article Importance of temperature control on pasteurizing times

The above link to the wikiGullet will display a blank page, as wikiGullet is no longer being maintained. You find a copy of the page here:

Importance of temperature control on pasteurizing times.

Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

eG Ethics Signatory

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