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Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Rare steak: An endangered species?

I went for a pub meal the other day and ordered a T-Bone steak. Rare. " Can't do rare" said the man behind the bar.
" Why not?" I asked. "
" Not allowed". Said the man. " Health 'n' safety".
" But that's ridiculous!" I spluttered. " Surely I can have a rare steak if I want one? I don't like it any other way.... What about if it's not a T-Bone?" (Maybe it's the bone that's the problem, I thought.) "I'll sign a disclaimer...!" I wailed. I was getting desperate. "There's health BENEFITS to a good rare steak!" I cried...

But no. The barman said that no steak is to be served anything less than a grey-pink opaque medium, because health and safety dictate that it should be so.

If health and safety really do dictate how you have your steak cooked, you know something's going very, very wrong.

Meanwhile, on another side of town, 11-year-old tear-aways are allowed to play havoc with the law, and wreck people's property and homes without punishment, because they're too young for the police to be able to deal with them.

Where's the health and safety in that?

Rare Steak: About to get rarer?


Praguetory said...

Here's a good one. I met a police officer at the weekend. He needs to call in specialists if an incident happens above the first floor - Health & Safety you understand.

Anonymous said...

Your restaurant is just plain wrong. The dangers of food poisoning lie in the bacteria on the surface of the meat. A properly cooked steak (rare or cremated)destroys this. The danger arises in meat products like burgers - where the surface of the meat is churned up and can end up inside the product: that must be thoroughly cooked through. I know this, and I've been a vegetarian the past 34 years! How come your restaurant doesn't? People like that get health and safety a bad name - and if they are wrong about cooking steak, it makes you wonder what else they are doing wrong.

Archie said...

It's Political Correctness Gone Mad!

It'd be great if you could produce some actual legislation that stopped this man giving you a rare steak, though. Some states in the US ban it, but I'm not aware of any legal obstacle here. In fact the Food Standards Agency agrees. Surely it's a bit unfair to blame the Nanny State when the state's not doing any nannying. Rather, I'd suggest, it's semi-apocryphal stories treated with complete credulity and published without even the most cursory google search to confirm the information that gets the The EU Want to Straighten Our Bananas Can't Sing Baa Baa Black Sheep Any More crowd into a tizzy.

Don't suppose you'll publish this, but you might at least think about it.

Charlotte Leslie said...

Hi Archie, I'm not generally in the business of dismissing comments just because they don't agree with a post. I'm not some Gordon Brown character who wants to wipe all dissension off the face of the planet!

My point was that the health and safety culture has become so engrained that pub owners can sincerely believe that legislation stops them from serving a rare steak.

But I wonder whether you believe that aspects of the health and safety culture has not lead to situations that are less healthy and safe after the legislation? I used to be a surf life guard. When I started, in 1997, my job was simply to rescue people if they were in trouble. By 2001, when I stopped, because of a raft of legislation, I was not allowed to rescue a patient unless I asked their permission for bodily contact first, felt fully qualified to perform the task, and was fully aware that I could be held liable if the attempted rescue went wrong.

Luckily, for me and for beach goers, I dismissed all that. But the recent tragic case of the PCSOs makes my point.

Anyway, thanks for your comment - your points are appreciated.