Is your slow cooker hot enough to kill listeria bacteria?
Sunday Times food editor Hilary Biller answers your cooking questions
Q. I'm suffering from listeria hysteria and concerned about cooking in my slow cooker as I'm not sure it reaches a high enough temperature to kill the listeria bacteria. - Daphne, Pretoria
A. Listeria is unlike many other bacteria because it can grow even in the cold temperature in the refrigerator but is killed by cooking at a temperature of 74°C and higher.
How does this affect slow cookers? There are a wide range of slow cookers on the market and the good news is that the average low temperature is between 90°C and 100°C and the highest setting about 125°C.I recommend that to be safe, ensure you brown the protein - meat, chicken or fish - first in a frying pan in a little oil on the stove over a high heat - even soup that includes protein - before adding it to the slow cooker.
Set the cooker on high rather than low or auto - for peace of mind.