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Advice Needed on Passover Meal Kit from Zahav/Abe Fisher


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So my passover meal package arrived last night around 6:30 PM, after being in transit for at least 18 hours. This came from Abe Fisher/Zahav/Solomonov in Philadelphia, via Goldbelly. I don't know how the logistics all work.

 

To say it arrived at refrigerator temp or anything close to that is a joke. To say it arrived, as Goldbelly says: "cool to the touch" is a stretch as well. I'd say it was in the danger zone for a while. How long is anyone's guess, but according to tracking info, it was on that UPS truck for a while.

 

Quote

 

https://www.goldbelly.com/zahav/abe-fisher-passover-meal-kit/instructions

 

477561238_AbeFisherKit2.thumb.jpeg.c6758b3a687891e0befa656f0d3f8675.jpeg

 

There was literally ONE ice pack, fully melted, sitting at the bottom of the box (I always thought ice should be on top?), in some liquid, which I'm assuming was various condensation from packages as they warmed up. Here's the packaging.

 

IMG_3833.thumb.jpeg.83b07ff2506bbbff9a061d74ec8f581e.jpeg

 

And the box, with the liner I imagine helps keep stuff cool? Like I take something like this to the farmer's market, so if I buy seafood, I have something extra to keep it cool in, but I'm home in like 15 minutes.

 

IMG_3835.thumb.jpeg.34ae5f354fb17d2e41a85f30144bb826.jpeg

 

The way the food itself was packaged seems fine - I don't know if it was cooked sous vide or via standard methods, but it was all vacuum packed...

 

IMG_3834.thumb.jpeg.5273c77e6c54a793d173089bde956d9e.jpeg

 

1305689991_AbeFisherKit1.thumb.jpeg.5c291dffa9e54798b67b9f08414d020c.jpeg

 

Now I know from years of reading here and around, that certain bad things aren't killed by reaching boiling water temp, otherwise I'd be happy to heat everything up and go for it. I'm happy to put stuff in the oven and really heat it up, even higher than the boiling point if that was to work? (Aren't there weird spores which can form and not die via heat?)

 

So - I am very worried about the safety factor. I'm no food scientist.  I understand the final plague to get Pharaoh to chill out was to sacrifice the first-born son, but I'm not ready to go yet, and certainly not ready to go via food poisoning.

 

What the hell should I do?

 

Oh - even if I have to throw everything here away (well, I'm okay with the matzot and chocolate tart), I have plenty of food in the house. We're not gonna starve!

 

By the way, y'all know I order regularly from D'artagnan, some stuff from Regalis, some seafood from Alaska - that stuff all arrives in perfect condition!

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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That's terrible.

 

I'd demand a refund. That looks like expensive stuff.

 

The acidity of vinegar will give a little safety from spoiling, but its far from absolute.

 

 

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certainly a refund is in order at the very least

 

and a mention about only one cold pack , and it being placed on the

 

bottom not the top of the food.

 

there is no way to know a priori what is safe and what is not safe to eat

 

Id surely eliminate anything that had egg/mayo like ingredients

 

thinking salmonella.

 

but more likely than not , once egg ++ is eliminated

 

you are probably going to be OK

 

a shame really to waste food

 

esp for an important holiday you went out of your way

 

to make special.

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Out of everything, the chicken soup would scare me most.  We went on a trip to Seattle years ago and I couldn't wait to go to all the restaurants I had researched.  Ronnie stopped and ate a (crappy) bowl of chicken soup at a little cafe and got really really sick.  Like laying on the floor of the hotel bathroom all night sick.  It was awful.   I'd dump the soup and probably eat the rest (if it smelled ok).

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Here's the first email I received back from Goldbelly:

 

(Actually, it doesn't really help).

 

Quote

Hi Mitch,

Thanks for your message!

Apologies for any inconvenience here but as per instructions on the product page:

*Meal Kit ships fresh with ice packs which may thaw in transit
*Upon arrival, place all items in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Hope this helps!

Jayne and the Goldbelly Team

 

 

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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sounds to me that they can't be bothered

 

to take your problems seriously

 

and plan on not refunding your purchase.

 

all you can do is never order from them again.

 

too bad

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It probably would have been A Good Thing to take an actual temperature when it arrived, but that ship has sailed.

 

I'd screenshot the tracking info, tell 'em it was at or barely below room temperature, and then direct them to the USDA's 2-hour guidance. If that doesn't work, MAKE THE NEXT EMAIL IN ALL CAPS!!!! :P

 

One a more practical note, you might direct them to this article at Food Safety Magazine, and ask them pointedly how they determined that a single gel pack was sufficient for the quantity of food packed, and the anticipated delivery time. Did they test this? In real-world conditions? More than once? Are they confident enough in their packing and preparations (and insurance) to accept liability in the event of illness, and/or face an audit from their state's health authorities? The onus is absolutely on the vendor to have the *right* answers to those questions (and clearly, in this case, they did not).

 

 

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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Poll:  will @weinoo get a refund ?

 

I say no.

 

will the questions @chromedome  suggested

 

and fine suggestions they are  matter ?

 

they should , but Ill vote another No

 

after the questions are sent.

 

these people seem to have been down this road before.

 

I would like to be wrong .....

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I'm not worried about the refund - I handle that stuff through my credit card company, if Goldbelly is unwilling. They tend to take the side of the consumer.

 

I've DMed Solomonov directly - we'll see if he responds. And also written to the restaurant directly, we'll see if they respond.

 

@chromedome - I realize I might;'ve done that, but this stuff was nowhere near refrigerator temp and was out on the truck for at least 15 hours. It was warm yesterday.

 

Who in hell packs a couple hundred dollars worth of food (easily 6 or 7 lbs. of stuff) with one ice pack (on the bottom, need I say)?

 

So - consensus is to dump it, I'm guessing.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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May I offer a different opinion ?

 

Now, first of all you trust the guys you’ve ordered from. Because you are accepting their food is prepared according to standard and will leave their place in proper condition.

 

It is relatively easy to calculate the rate the content warms up (depending on mass, insulation and cooling during transport). The position of the ice pack, IMHO, is irrelevant, as up and down during transit are not fixed. They will have done their math. Even with little to none insulation the content will hardly reach outside temperatures, which aren’t warm right now anyway. 
 

If - see above - the food was prepared hygienically and has been sealed in sterile vacuum bags (which you will subscribe to, otherwise you wouldn’t order there) and out of your 18h transit most (if not practically all) time the package remained cold you are good to go from my point of view. That many of the items need to be reheated is “the belt to your suspenders” as we say.

 

I’d happily eat it.

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Interestingly, it happened to be quite warm yesterday (over 70℉).

 

But, I have spoken to a food scientist I trust, and his suggestions will be taken - that is, to heat the soup up to a boil and hold for 5 minutes.

 

The beef can be kept in a sous vide water bath for a few hours, along with some of the other vac packs to sterilize.

 

The kugel will go into the hot oven for a good hour. 

 

I don't think Pharaoh is getting me just yet.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I think that is a very sensible decision. Essentially following the cooking instructions from the package and adding that extra bit of time (at least in the brisket case) for piece of mind ...

 

Please enjoy !

 

(and don’t worry - pharaoh wouldn’t have gotten you anyway. He is afraid of flying [Horus is watching] and ship transport is currently not available around Egypt)

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I'd laugh but it is tragic  re vessel.  My comment would be on the mental aspect re your order. When concerned, pleasure level may plummet

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good

 

its a special meal

 

very special , re Tradition

 

however , your vendor needs to do better

 

in the future.

 

your thoughtful comments to

 

them , but more importantly 

 

those who assist them

 

might avoid your grita for other in the future.

 

pls don't try to sterilize anything

 

you won't be able to do it

 

and you will not accomplish those goals

 

and destroy your food.

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2 hours ago, weinoo said:

I'm not worried about the refund - I handle that stuff through my credit card company, if Goldbelly is unwilling. They tend to take the side of the consumer.

 

I've DMed Solomonov directly - we'll see if he responds. And also written to the restaurant directly, we'll see if they respond.

 

@chromedome - I realize I might;'ve done that, but this stuff was nowhere near refrigerator temp and was out on the truck for at least 15 hours. It was warm yesterday.

 

Who in hell packs a couple hundred dollars worth of food (easily 6 or 7 lbs. of stuff) with one ice pack (on the bottom, need I say)?

 

So - consensus is to dump it, I'm guessing.

 

Yeah. Dump it.

 

I don't think Solomonov knows what's up with this.  I bet Goldbelly does the packing.

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2 hours ago, weinoo said:

Interestingly, it happened to be quite warm yesterday (over 70℉).

 

But, I have spoken to a food scientist I trust, and his suggestions will be taken - that is, to heat the soup up to a boil and hold for 5 minutes.

 

The beef can be kept in a sous vide water bath for a few hours, along with some of the other vac packs to sterilize.

 

The kugel will go into the hot oven for a good hour. 

 

I don't think Pharaoh is getting me just yet.

 

I think you'll be fine. But @heidih has a good point.  Only eat it if you can do so fearlessly

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@weinoo 

 

pls don't over boil

 

or make your Passover 

 

less than it might be

 

tasty wize 

 

cheers 

 

R and MC

 

Sooooooo

 

Rosie gets What ?

 

for all of Us here

 

we [ me myself w MC ]

 

would enjoy

 

as many pics

 

of your  Celebration of Passover

 

and you , the 'Eater '

 

and of course 

 

Rosie]]ight enjoin]]Sar9ng

 

 

 

 

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Sorry to push my opinion again: I think the assumption that you would get easily food poisoning from properly cooked food that spends a few hours between 10-20 oC is not correct. And keep in mind you are approaching this window from “below”, not coming from warm food to veginnwith. There is no significant bacterial activity below 10 oC (even if the “unsafe window” meme suggest otherwise). As a side note: I do not know anyone amongst our friends that run their fridge at 5oC or below.


As in SV cooking, it is question of temperature and time, plus a hospital environment and whether you have sizable bacterial population to begin with. The latter I would contest (if the food comes from a reputable source). How an item starting out with a very low bacteria count would

 

a) allow for sufficient bacterial growth and

b) providing enough time to build up toxins

 

to cause food poisoning within the few hours it could have maximum spend in above mentioned temperature gap is not clear to me.

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I will say this :

 

@weinoo 

 

was not so happy 

 

w his order

 

his respose

 

from where he ordered

 

was less than what it might be

 

I think that is important

 

forfeiture orders

 

and all that ordered 

 

as you did

 

 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Sorry to be so late to the party, but I'm recovering from surgery, However, as every food safety instructor I've ever studied with says: when in doubt, throw it out. 

 

Hope your Passover went well! 

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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