General Assembly passes Health Bill to bring Cooking into Current Standards

June 2, 2015

HARTFORD, CT – The Greenwich delegation unanimously supported the sous-vide bill which would bring public health cooking standards in Connecticut to the 21 st Century.

“This public health initiative will be helpful to so many food industry businesses. I was pleased to support the effort and know that it will make a difference — for the better — going forward,” said Rep. Livvy Floren (R-Greenwich).

“We thank the Public Health committee and our fellow legislators for listening and having the where with all to pass this common sense reform,” said Sen. Frantz (R-Greenwich).

“Allowing this cutting edge method of preparing food at CT restaurants and clubs will not only allow chefs to be more creative with their menus but it will also enhance their guests experiences. Sous Vide will provide the opportunity for improved revenues to these businesses as well as a reduction in food waste. It is a win/win for CT, for the consumers and it promotes economic growth for our businesses and economy. I’m proud to be a part of this legislation,” said Rep. Bocchino (R-Greenwich).

“Proven to be safe, efficient, and helpful to restaurants, this legislation is a welcome to relief to those businesses that would benefit by using the Sous Vide method of cooking. I thank the Public Health Committee and my colleagues for this forward-thing legislation,” said Rep. Camillo (R-Greenwich).

Sous-vide, a French term for “under vacuum” is a method of cooking, where food is sealed in air-tight plastic bags in a water bath or in a temperature-controlled steam environment for longer than normal cooking times—96 hours or more, in some cases—at an accurately regulated temperature much lower than normally used for cooking.

This is typically accomplished at around 131 °F to 140 °F for meats and higher for vegetables. Currently a number of other states around the country use this method of cooking. Those legislative bodies updated health regulations to allow the sous-vide, Connecticut has never broached the subject.

The bill would amend state law to allow a food service establishment to package and process food using reduced-oxygen packaging, provided there are at least two controls in place, including, but not limited to, time, temperature, Aw or pH, to prevent the growth and formulation of C. botulinum or Listeria momocytogenes. State health inspectors would be involved in updating regulations and additionally curriculum for chefs would be available.

Gary Ashley, of Club Managers Association and the General Manager of Riverside Yacht Club testified before the Public Health committee earlier this year stating, “The intention is to cook the item evenly, ensuring that the inside is properly cooked without overcooking the outside, and retain moisture. Whenever you see a perfectly cooked medium rare filet mignon uniformly from one side to the other and top to bottom, you can be sure that sous vide was involved.”

“Federal Food Safety Regulations permit sous vide cooking as does New York City and many other cities around the country. It has been proven safe, and it is an incredible advantage for anyone in the restaurant business or any business that serves high volume, high quality food on demand,” added Sen. Frantz.

The bill now heads to the governor for his signature.