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Skewers: bamboo versus stainless steel. A scientific study
Anyone that has been served a kebab at a barbecue knows that it can be served on a bamboo skewer or on a stainless steel skewer.
Until now, subjective arguments have mainly been used to plead in favour of bamboo or stainless steel. Stainless steel boasts a higher-quality appearance and is 100% recyclable whereas bamboo affords the skewers a naturally light touch.
Linum Europe joined forces with Ghent University to conduct a scientific study. The study was conducted at the Department of Applied Biosciences in the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering.
In the first instance it examined the multiplication of microorganisms on raw meat when it is displayed in the refrigerated counter as well as on cooked meat if you were to store the leftovers in the refrigerator for a short while afterwards. With the raw meat it was shown that on the first day the number of microorganisms on the bamboo skewer had increased by a factor of ten compared with the stainless steel skewer. With the cooked meat, after the BBQ, it was clear that the spread of bacteria was slower on the stainless steel skewer compared with the bamboo skewer.
The most technical analysis involved in the study was the chemical analysis that looked for PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). In the food industry it is crucial that contaminants are prevented in all foodstuffs. One example is carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substances that are strictly regulated and which must be avoided at all costs. PAHs belong to this group. They can form when food is barbecued as well as when flammable substances are heated. The test involving the bamboo skewers revealed that the formation of PAHs is real.
The obvious conclusion is that the high quality of the stainless steel material also reflects on the food safety of the meat skewers it is used to produce. First and foremost when the meat is stored prior to and after the barbecue, bacteria multiplication on the stainless steel skewers is significantly lower. But above all, the risk of carcinogenic substances (PAHs) forming on stainless steel skewers is zero, even for types of meat that require a longer cooking time!
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The safe added value of stainless steel skewers
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