Because it combines low temperatures and an anaerobic environment, sous-vide cooking has long given health officials the heebie-jeebies. Local restaurant inspectors, who take their cues from the USDA, have been taught to cite restaurants for food kept in the "danger zone for bacterial growth," between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Even now, many would be inclined to red-flag chefs who cook their beef cheeks at 130 degrees. But more recently, the USDA has published complex charts showing that as long as meats are held at lower temperatures for the proper period of time, pathogens should be killed as conclusively as if the meat were cooked to higher temperatures. These new findings, along with the fact that Europeans have safely cooked this way for years, suggest that properly executed sous vide is a safe way to prepare food.