Peking duck is a roasted duck process that is hundreds to likely thousands of years old.  It is thought to evolve out of the introduction of the duck to China in the Marco Polo days.  The process and recipe came to the USA and Canada with Chinese immigrants and it has been a mainstay culinary delight since. The culinary dish is generally marinated and roasted duck where the meat is prized for its thin, crisp skin. Some versions of this dish serve mostly the skin and little meat, sliced in front of diners. After the prized crispy skin is consumed, the meat is consumed using various presentations including a traditional thin pancake. No illnesses or outbreaks in the USA or Canada could be located.  Food safety management options include: 1) do nothing, 2) ban the process, or 3) establish risk‐based food safety controls to make the process as safe as possible.

The main food safety concerns with this process is that raw duck may be hung for many hours to dry at ambient temperature and that cooked duck may be displayed at ambient temperature until consumed.  Since the duck is fully cooked, vegetative pathogens are not a concern.  That leaves the toxin and spore-forming pathogens (S. aureus, C. perfringens, C. botulinum, and B. cereus).

A HACCP and microbial model risk analysis was performed on the Peking duck culinary process for foodservice. Relatively few documents discuss the hazards and controls of Peking Duck. The largest concern for the process is a prolonged ambient temperature drying process. The traditional process uses salt, sugar, and acid as growth inhibitors to minimize the potential for pathogen outgrowth during the extended ambient drying process. Modelling of both S. aureus and C. perfringens demonstrated that in a worst case scenario (pH 7 Aw 0.98) no growth of either S. aureus and C. perfringens occurred in 8.5 hours at 25°C/77°F. Under these same conditions it took more than 14 hours to reach 104 cfu/g. No growth of either S. aureus and C. perfringens occurred in 14 hours at 25°C/77°F when the pH and Aw were factored in of this food product.

CCP Controls
  1. pH/Aw of inside and outside of duck (marinades) pH ≤ 4.1, Aw ≤ 0.9
  2. Drying time/temperature ≤ 14 h
  3. Roasting ≥ 165F internal
  4. Cooling (135-70F 2 h; 135-41F 6h)
  5. Display and service (4 h, then discard)

Contact Dr. Nummer for more details and a more elaborate hazards and controls analysis.