What meat you’re allowed to consume in Toronto restaurants

The controversy surrounding raw and game meat delicacies in Toronto restaurants

Chicken sashimi is a food trend in social media that gained different reactions on Twitter. It originated in Japan but what happens if it hits Toronto? People had been wondering about the health risks that come with it.

Raw chicken contains a high risk of salmonella. Pink meat has high levels of bacteria that can kill. Anita Thang, a food blogger and a nutrition student from Ryerson University, thought the idea of eating raw chicken was dangerous.

“I would most definitely not try the raw culinary dish and highly recommend nobody else [does]. As kids, we are told to wash our hands after handling raw chicken, especially from a food safety perspective, a raw chicken contains salmonella. The consumption of the bacteria can lead to many discomforts,” Thang said, in an email.

People on Twitter had some things to say about the trend.

A harmful food has to be cooked at a certain temperature or go through procedures that remove pathogens. Although the idea of raw meat makes the public skeptical, there are few that are still sold in restaurants such as Tartare.

Steak tartare is a raw steak that is grounded, most commonly mixed with raw egg, onion and seasoning. Restaurants like La Palette serve horse meat tartare. Horse meat was removed in 2011, after the Toronto Star conducted an investigation of the controversial horse slaughter industry.

It was reported that horses transported from U.S. to Canada and Mexico experienced malnutrition. But now, horse tartare is back in the menu.

The conditions of animals make it one of the factors why some meat cannot be sold in the restaurants. Animals need to be held in captivity and should be raised healthy.

While serving seal meat in restaurants and other game animals had been protested by animal rights activists in Toronto and outside the country, it may surprise some people that dog meat is legal. It can also be served in restaurants but only if it passes the requirements under the Ontario Food Safety and Quality Act.

List of what meat is allowed to be consumed in restaurants. (TRISHA SALES/Toronto Observer)

In 2017, animal rights activists set up a petition asking for Ku-kum Kitchen restaurant to remove seal tartare on the menu. It’s a restaurant that brings forth the tradition of Indigenous people.

Sylvanus Thompson, spokesperson of Toronto Public Health, said that game meat is not entirely illegal if it fits the standards.

“A food premise may have game animal meat obtained through hunting on the premises that is handled, prepared and stored for the purpose of serving it at a wild game dinner or a wild game event if the following conditions are met,” Thompson said.

Any food animals are allowed to be consumed (a mammal or bird that has been raised for human consumption.) However, meat plant operators must acquire a license. It should also be inspected by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency which set the standard for safe food regulations.

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Posted: Dec 14 2018 2:34 pm
Filed under: Arts & Life