Thursday, 18 February 2010
Burnt at the steak
The latest hysterical nonsense to be unleashed by the mad men in white coats is that cooking steak on a gas hob could be more dangerous than cooking steak on an electric hob. According to a team from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, in Trondheim, eating overcooked or burnt red meat increases the risk of tumours due to the creation of carcinogenic compounds called acrylamides. However, the article also stated that the measured levels of total particles were far below Norwegian occupational exposure limits. The particles have been judged 'probably carcinogenic' by the International Agency for Research on Cancer but it’s not yet known what level of exposure to these components is safe, the researchers said.
The Norwegian doom-merchants believe that the higher temperatures reached by gas flames give off higher levels of mutagenic aldehydes and heterocyclic amines. This astonishing news was published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Obviously my subscription for that organ has expired or else I would have brought you this staggering research sooner.
However, a report published two years ago by the University of Porto claimed that frying steak in beer or wine could cut the cancer risk by 90%. That’s a good and practical Portuguese solution to the problem but probably far too wicked and wanton for the abstemious Norwegians to endorse.
Of course, the release of a report like this can never be complete without some gratuitous input from a UK-based health charity. Step forward Dr Deborah Jarvis, of the UK’s National Heart and Lung Institute, who said the study could help shed light on previous research that sought to link frying with gas to breathing problems - such as coughs, infections and asthma - but proved inconclusive.
She added: ‘The health message to the public remains the same - keep your kitchen well-ventilated when cooking, and make sure all your gas appliances are well maintained.’
I wonder if she’s got a degree in stating the bleeding obvious!