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The Food Safety and Home Kitchen Hygiene/Sanitation Topic


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Dirtiness comes from laziness.... I always see dirty kitchens where I see lazy cooks.

How do we fix it? We can't - unfortunately cooking is a terrible profession to be in for a long time, and most cooks are just doing it until they find something better, have no passion, and get lazy...

I've also worked in places that were so clean I'd eat off the floor. Every stainless counter shined, the cooler was in perfect order, all the product was stored properly... These were also the places with the best food, as the cooks who worked there actually cared about their trade.

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Dirtiness comes from laziness....  I always see dirty kitchens where I see lazy cooks. 

How do we fix it?  We can't - unfortunately cooking is a terrible profession to be in for a long time, and most cooks are just doing it until they find something better, have no passion, and get lazy... 

I've also worked in places that were so clean I'd eat off the floor.  Every stainless counter shined, the cooler was in perfect order, all the product was stored properly...  These were also the places with the best food, as the cooks who worked there actually cared about their trade.

The first and third paragraphs are true for the most part from my experience as well. We can fix it by not working with very lazy cooks. Keep in mind that there are many degrees of lazyness and that even you, Mikeb19, are guilty (there is no place for eating off of floors, I don't care how clean). What we can do is be mindful of our own duties.

*I edited a post, wow there is alot worth editing in this thread, but for me that isn't really fair to the continuity, but I had a fact wrong, it was the (more common I think?) staphalococcus (sp?) that has become antibiotic resistant, not salmonella.

As for the home cook, one common mistake home cooks make is filling their refrigerators too full, the air needs to circulate to keep things cooled properly. Also keep your raw meat in the meat drawer on the very bottom, and keep it clean and sanitized when you can (My drawers and most new ones are like lexan, and completely removable and seamless so it's really easy to clean). It is a good idea to buy a thermometer for your fridge as well and run experiments with it to find out where warm spots are. If you aren't using your freezer much it's probably good to freeze some solid blocks of ice to keep the dead space down to save on electricity, though it's not really a safety issue. Don't put hot liquid into the fridge, unless you are going to go out for a long time and won't be able to bring it down to room temp. As far as making large quantities of dense protein rich stuff, and other liquids (stock, soup, beans, or stew), don't do it too much it's too much of a hassle to cool to room temp. (protein free liquid, this isn't that much of a concern), but if you do make sure it's at least room temp within a couple hours before putting it in the fridge near all your other food by submerging it in an ice water bath and stirring it regularly.

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Ok, enough with the whining, I'm really interested in what Anzu has to say.  Does anyone want to quantify the effects of each type of food bourne illness?  I'll share what I beleive.  I think that Hepatitis C basically cuts your lifespan by ten years or twenty by messing up the liver which is normally the most regenerative organ in the body.

Hepatitis C is not a food borne illness!

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Ok, enough with the whining, I'm really interested in what Anzu has to say.  Does anyone want to quantify the effects of each type of food bourne illness?  I'll share what I beleive.  I think that Hepatitis C basically cuts your lifespan by ten years or twenty by messing up the liver which is normally the most regenerative organ in the body.

Hepatitis C is not a food borne illness!

You are right, but shh, stop yelling, no crime has been committed. I also spelled staphylococcus wrong above. Let's have some more tips for the home cook.

Let's see, defrost larger peices of meat in the fridge or submerged in as constantly replenished room temp. water as you can constantly replenish.

I don't really stress out about disinfection at home, but I do keep counters, walls, cabinets, fridge, sink, handles, and appliances spotless, and often hit them with some hot soapy rag, rinse with hot water, and wipe up excess water with same damp rag.

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The first and third paragraphs are true for the most part from my experience as well.  We can fix it by not working with very lazy cooks.  Keep in mind that there are many degrees of lazyness and that even you, Mikeb19, are guilty (there is no place for eating off of floors, I don't care how clean). 

I would never serve a customer something that has touched the floor (I would never drop something on the floor to begin with...). Dropping something shows that a cook is careless, and unprofessional, and to serve that food shows that a cook just doesn't give a fuck. But there is no reason a floor shouldn't be that clean. I enjoy a counter that shines when I look at it. I certainly don't cook because of the money, I do it because I enjoy preparing food for others, and I like to take pride in my job and profession.

BTW, how can you say I'm guilty of laziness without working with me? You don't know me.

And yes, I don't like working with lazy cooks. I've left more kitchens than most cooks will work at in a career, and restaurants most cooks would love to have on their resume, because of that reason. If a chef and his brigade are lazy, it affects everyone, it drains the energy out of you, and you will become lazy. I refuse to work anywhere that doesn't have a professional staff.

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Hey, take it easy, don't take it personally, I was just saying nobody is perfect. Everybody has strong and weak points and that extends to every facet of their professional life. I hear you on having standards bro, and if you knew me you would know that I would not ever blame you for seeking perfection. It's not achievable, nor should it be, however. This, I'm pretty sure, I know.

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Mikeb19,

By the way look at the way this person attacked me personally, you really should know not to kick a dog when he's down. J/K, I'm just pointing to another incedent where this topic gets under our collective skin. Cleanliness is obviously a very personal issue with us.

I guess it's just my thinking that foodbourne illness is not going to kill me or anyone in my restaurant, because I taste, practise fifo, and make small enough quantities where I turn them over.

OUCH! If there's ever a statement for not eating at an establishment, that is it!

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you know, the real concern that we should all have is the heavy use of dihydrogen monoxide in the cooking process.

scary stuff.

I would probably agree if I knew what it was and where it appeared in the process :-)

I am a home cook, and either:

We are all dead, have been for years, or:

We, and all our friends, have brutally efficient immune systems, or:

My kitchen is much cleaner than it appears on first sight.

The only food poisoning I have suffered resulted from eating a deli sandwich at a large chain, but I will admit to using gloves to handle raw meat, chicken in particular, since I was in chemo.

However, one of my wood cutting boards is no doubt older than I am, it was old when I bought it at Goodwill for 50¢ well over 20 years ago. My 'new' one is over 20 years old. I recently acquired a bamboo one, but it's practically virgin, and therefore doesn't count! lol! I don't prep food on my pastry board ... for what that's worth. I refuse to use plastic; I hate plastic anything in the kitchen as I don't believe you can get it really clean. Perhaps the amount of onion and garlic I chop on the wooden boards has an effect. Or perhaps the study that was done shortly before plastic cutting boards became PC was correct in saying that nothing much survives long on them.

I think the weakest link in most of the food chain is commercial production/packing, and avoid this where I can, meat or produce. As someone upthread has mentioned, oxtail is no longer on our list, but shin makes fine brown stock, though loss of the neckbones is a great disappointment. I'd buy them from range producers, though, and the oxtail too, if I could get them. I can get range produced ground beef, but not neckbones or oxtail .. that seems odd, now that I think of it. Must ask around. But cattle that have not been fed commercial feed are safe, so far as BSE is concerned, at least. BSE is transmitted through cows eating other cows. If you can find free range pasture fed beef, you're home free. Probably good so far as eColi is concerned, too, if it's handled in a small plant.

I do think the salmonella has become resistant to the drugs they used to use to kill it, but I'm not sure of the current state of affairs with that, except I wish my local suppliers would quit washing the eggs. Washed eggs are porous and allow lots of stuff to pass through the shell, and go stale practically overnight. Unwashed eggs keep forever, and I'd bet are a much lower salmonella risk.

The answer isn't killing the bugs after the fact, it's preventing the contamination to begin with. Killing the contamination after the fact is a bandaid, and a poor approach born of pandering to agribiz and their bottom line mentality.

I won't even mention the practise of feeding antibiotics and steroids ...

Edited for clarity...

Edited by Hawthorne (log)

Lynn

Oregon, originally Montreal

Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "holy shit! ....what a ride!"

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I've also worked in places that were so clean I'd eat off the floor.  Every stainless counter shined, the cooler was in perfect order, all the product was stored properly...  These were also the places with the best food, as the cooks who worked there actually cared about their trade.

Here's one I don't get (maybe somebody could explain it to me). There's a local place that fits the above description, and if you're lingering there at closing, you see them cleaning and sanitizing every inch of the restaurant and the open kitchen. And the food's great.

And the people who own it and work there are extremely friendly. So when you arrive (even in the middle of cold and flu season), the owner if he's there, and several of the wait staff greet you warmly and shake your hand. Then they turn around and pick up dishes from the counter that leads from the open kitchen, placing their thumbs squarely on the tops of the plates, and serve them (passing along to the diners any germs that you had on your hands if you had a cold or the flu and sneezed or blew your nose before you shook their hand).

How would they not realize this? Certainly, they're clean and sanitation-savvy!

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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Y'know, I'm not going to worry too much. I've got a better half who came up through Food Science, and I've had all the scares anyone can hand out.

I've had bad oysters in Houston, I've had to deworm myself in Vietnam, and the homemade whiskey they poured down my throat in Luang Prabang didn't exactly add to my general attractiveness for the week after. Yes, I could end up dead at some point, but then I don't have to go to work, at least.

Yes, there is a responsibility on the part of commercial enterprises to ensure that their exposure to risk is limited. This is called "I don't want to get my derriere sued off....or closed down by the Provincials". But should we all start obsessing over this? Do I want to go back to bleaching my vegetables like we did in Cairo? Do I want to live in fear of every bite I take? Let it go.....

Like that 18 year old gold miner in Ecuador told the BBC when they informed him he might be dead by the age of 30 due to his in situ mercury amalgaming process:

"I could live to be 30? Cool!"

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you know, the real concern that we should all have is the heavy use of dihydrogen monoxide in the cooking process.

scary stuff.

:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:

Have you seen the MSDS for that stuff? Look especially at the Health Hazards Risks in Section V. :shock:

Material Safety Data Sheet for Dihydrogen Monoxide

I'm personally also very leary of unsubstituted hydroethanol.

Edited by Kouign Aman (log)

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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As far as making large quantities of dense protein rich stuff, and other liquids (stock, soup, beans, or stew), don't do it too much it's too much of a hassle to cool to room temp.

Don't make stock or soup or stew? Are you kidding me?

I've never had food poisoning. I make a lot of stock. This kind of paranoia is beyond me.

Paranoia would make sense if you lived 100+ years ago in any American city, when the risk of dying from tainted foods (ie spoiled milk) was quite high. Compared to most any other time in history, our food supply is incredibly safe.

I'm much more concerned about the decline in the quality of food production due to overzealous health dept. rules-making sushi chefs wear gloves, new EU regulations killing artisinal products in Europe, etc.

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As far as making large quantities of dense protein rich stuff, and other liquids (stock, soup, beans, or stew), don't do it too much it's too much of a hassle to cool to room temp.

I use an Ice Paddle, which I got at a restaurant supply store, to cool off large pots of sauce, stew, and soup safely. I also don't start even trying to cool the pot down until it gets down to about 150 degrees (140 is the start of the danger zone). The paddle was about $25 and it really takes the chore out of cooling things.

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

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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As a once was chemistry major - dihydrogen monoxide ...

is water

Funny!

Maliaty

groooaaann ... so it is :-)

Should we start a new thread on water quality .. ?

Don't get me started!java script:emoticon(':laugh:')

Lynn

Oregon, originally Montreal

Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "holy shit! ....what a ride!"

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As far as making large quantities of dense protein rich stuff, and other liquids (stock, soup, beans, or stew), don't do it too much it's too much of a hassle to cool to room temp.

Don't make stock or soup or stew? Are you kidding me?

I've never had food poisoning. I make a lot of stock. This kind of paranoia is beyond me.

Paranoia would make sense if you lived 100+ years ago in any American city, when the risk of dying from tainted foods (ie spoiled milk) was quite high. Compared to most any other time in history, our food supply is incredibly safe.

I'm much more concerned about the decline in the quality of food production due to overzealous health dept. rules-making sushi chefs wear gloves, new EU regulations killing artisinal products in Europe, etc.

I'm just saying for the home cook making vast quantities of anything is asking for trouble, unless you keep it warm until service. How are they going to cool this down, more often than not they stick it in their fridge which, more than likely, is poorly equipped to handle large quantitys of steam and heat radiation it causes. A quart or two of leftovers is one thing, a couple of gallons of hot stock you better have an ice paddle, shallow pans, or some serious cooling set up or your asking for trouble especially if you are serving anybody who is at risk. I for one don't know any home cook who has any of these things. And the argument that it was much easier to die 100 years ago, sure, but are we comfortable with what we acheived?

I hear you on ridiculous rules however.

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As far as making large quantities of dense protein rich stuff, and other liquids (stock, soup, beans, or stew), don't do it too much it's too much of a hassle to cool to room temp.

Don't make stock or soup or stew? Are you kidding me?

I've never had food poisoning. I make a lot of stock. This kind of paranoia is beyond me.

Paranoia would make sense if you lived 100+ years ago in any American city, when the risk of dying from tainted foods (ie spoiled milk) was quite high. Compared to most any other time in history, our food supply is incredibly safe.

I'm much more concerned about the decline in the quality of food production due to overzealous health dept. rules-making sushi chefs wear gloves, new EU regulations killing artisinal products in Europe, etc.

I'm just saying for the home cook making vast quantities of anything is asking for trouble, unless you keep it warm until service. How are they going to cool this down, more often than not they stick it in their fridge which, more than likely, is poorly equipped to handle large quantitys of steam and heat radiation it causes. A quart or two of leftovers is one thing, a couple of gallons of hot stock you better have an ice paddle, shallow pans, or some serious cooling set up or your asking for trouble especially if you are serving anybody who is at risk. I for one don't know any home cook who has any of these things. And the argument that it was much easier to die 100 years ago, sure, but are we comfortable with what we acheived?

I hear you on ridiculous rules however.

In the time it takes to make a good stock ......make ice bags or bottles. Use clean saved litre bottles to make ice, ziplock bags will work also. Drop these right into the stock pot.

just like the ice paddles at work

tracey

they forgot Dihydrogen Monoxide is also Slippery

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

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  • 2 years later...

I decided to try a new (for me) method of making chicken stock, using a low oven and a long cooking time. I brought about 15 quarts of chicken, vegetables and water to a boil, then put the pot into a low (225 F) oven, intending to let it cook for 20 hours or so. Everything seemed to be working fine until this morning, when I discovered that my oven has an energy-saving device, and shuts itself off after 12 hours of cooking. That means the oven was off for around 6 hours.

The stock was down to 145 F. According to the FDA, the danger zone for bacteria is below 140 F, but I don't know if the type of food makes makes a difference here. I brought the stock back up to a boil and returned it to the oven. Now I'm trying to decide whether I should finish cooking it, or toss it.

Any food safety mavens have advice here?

Edited by Andrew Fenton (log)
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225 should sterilize the oven after 12 hours. The stock only cooled to 145 which is still too hot for most bacteria to grow. The oven stayed closed so no bacteria entered (and pasteur disproved spontaneous generation in the 1800s).

Heat it up again and use it without fear.

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I wouldn't use it at work but, if it passed the sniff test and didn't taste funky, I'd probably still use it for myself at home. Sometimes I'll take small risks on myself, I just don't take risks at other's expense. If it was brought to a boil and cooked at 225 f for 12 hours, it was cooked before the oven shut off. It probably took a few of those hours for that amount of mass to cool down below "food safe" temps in a hot oven. To make a long story longer, nobody can say "no, it won't make you sick" but the odds would be good enough for me to risk it for myself.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Yeah, it didn't smell funky: in fact, I tasted a spoonful and it was pretty terrific.  I've pretty much decided to eat it.  I don't know whether I'll let my daughter (19 months old) eat it, at least until her mom and I have served as guinea pigs...

Bringing it back to a boil for 15 min should take away all worries.

After all look at the temps used in sous vide.

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I decided to try a new (for me) method of making chicken stock, using a low oven and a long cooking time.  I brought about 15 quarts of chicken, vegetables and water to a boil, then put the pot into a low (225 F) oven, intending to let it cook for 20 hours or so.  Everything seemed to be working fine until this morning, when I discovered that my oven has an energy-saving device, and shuts itself off after 12 hours of cooking.  That means the oven was off for around 6 hours.

The stock was down to 145 F.  According to the FDA, the danger zone for bacteria is below 140 F, but I don't know if the type of food makes makes a difference here.  I brought the stock back up to a boil and returned it to the oven.  Now I'm trying to decide whether I should finish cooking it, or toss it. 

Any food safety mavens have advice here?

Obviously many new ovens have a similar feature as I had the identical experience a few months ago. Read the instructions that came with your oven. Mine, a Wolf, has something it calls a "sabbath mode" which turns out to be a way of avoiding the automatic turn-off. I can now switch to that mode and the oven will stay on until I choose to turn it off. I make all my stocks over night in the oven now (195°F) and get much more flavor out of the ingredients.

Ruth Friedman

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