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Old 04-01-2011, 10:58 AM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2011
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How do you nicely tell someone about food safety?

I have a friend who is a great cook but she does not adhere to any food safety practices. For instance, she will use the same fork to stir raw pork and eat out of. She will also use her hands to mix raw marinated chicken then go on to hand toss a salad after just a quick rinse with no soap.

Does anyone have an suggestions on how to nicely tell her that it's dangerous?


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Old 04-01-2011, 11:19 AM   #2
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Why not cook for her, then she could see how you use food safety practices. You could always get her a book on food safety.

Happy Cooking!!

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Old 04-01-2011, 11:45 AM   #3
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Wow, that's a hard question to answer. Are you eating her meals? Is she cooking for people other than herself? Do you think she really doesn't know any better, or is she just careless? If you've watched her in the kitchen I assume you havn't said anything at the time. If it had been me, I know I couldn't have kept my yap shut, and would have had a hissy fit. Well, not really, but I sure would have brought it to her attention. I wonder if you really should be so concerned about doing it nicely. I'd simply ask her if she knows anything about safe food practices, and let the chips fall where they may.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but rather by the moments that take our breath away.

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Old 04-01-2011, 12:18 PM   #4
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This is a hard one, and can strain a friendship. But I feel it has to be brought up. I would be kinda tactful, something like:
"I used to be casual about cross contamination, but ever since the outbreaks of e coli and salmonella nationally, I've been fanatical about food safety."

OK so it's not so tactful, lol, but ... it's no where near as bad as, "I can't believe you're trying to kill your family like that!"
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Old 04-01-2011, 03:03 PM   #5
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the hard part is that it could strain the relationship. She is proud of her cooking and sometimes takes offense to any advice I can give. I do eat her food, but only try to eat things that are cooked.

Thanks all for the advice, if anyone else has any other tips, I'd be happy to hear them.
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Old 04-01-2011, 03:58 PM   #6
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Express it as your personal opinion.

I'm hesitant, too, to express mine. I might potentially be asked by DC Administrators to resign my account for its irresponsible and harmful heresy. Yes, there are good practices for food safety. But, the distinction has to be noted whether it is commercial or in the home.

At a restaurant, it's not a precautionary if, but an absolute when, you will some day serve a bad chicken. The difference in practicing food safety is whether one patron goes home with a queasy stomach or whether 300 people report sick, including 1 child who dies. The restaurant is boarded and all its well-meaning employees are blacklisted.

In my kitchen, if I should be so unlucky one day to buy, cook and eat a bad chicken, it makes absolutely no difference to me whether the side of salad I ate with it was cross-contaminated with sloppy food safety practice. Even if the dinner was prepared with level 2 hazmat standards, I'd still get sick from the meal.

At my home, as well as a circle of some friends who vary in their culinary skills, it is a given that we've gathered to share, whether its voluntary or inadvertent. That includes any misfortunes like salmonella.

Cook with her. But, if your urge to tell her how is insistent, I would google a list a excuses to cancel and cook more for yourself. Sorry, JD. I think tact is a virtue, but if it has motive, I think it's an affront to the person even if I believe the reason to be right. Don't give advice unless asked; always feel free to give opinion.
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:25 PM   #7
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I agree with Spork. Refuse to cook or eat with her, giving polite excuses, if or until she asks you why your change of heart. Then, after reassuring her that your friendship is steadfastly intact, say that you have an observation that she may think about for the future. However you say it, make it all "POSITIVE" and not condemning from you in any way. I wouldn't even offer to help her. Give her time to let her think about it. Just plant a seed and see what grows.

Something like, "There are certain foods that my family and I have to be careful of, for instance chicken. There's been a lot of salmonella in food recently, peanut butter for instance, and also chicken from stores and restaurants, so we're being cautious... and you should too! [smile] I've made it a point to learn how to handle food safely."

Don't say anything about you teaching her. Let it go and let her make the next move. Make it a "soft" sell. Then, the next time you're invited, ask her if she has thought about her food safety handing. Change the flow of the conversation from "her invitation" to now telling her what it is that YOU do in your kitchen. Using yourself as an example, sell your safety program, making it attractive to her with the simple things and the advantages to her family - making her feel just a slight twinge guilty of she doesn't.

Be a diplomat, and good luck!
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:16 PM   #8
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If it were my close friend I would jokingly and bluntly tell him or her that you're lucky I'm still alive from the all the food you've fed me and point out the offenses. I know my friends well enough that to some I can be this blunt without them being offended in any way. If I were the offending cook I'd want them to point these things out to me so I can change my habits.
We're talking about food safety here and not about someone's bad tennis form, although I've pointed that out to some friends in the past.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:32 PM   #9
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I would probably do something like bring up something I saw on TV or read in a magazine about safe food habits in casual conversation when not in the kitchen. My mother was a nurse and I was brought up to constantly wash my hands when I am cooking. I touch something, cut it up, wash my hands. Touch something else, cut it up, wash my hands. I also don't use the same utensil for meat that I use for veggies or the same cutting board. Common sense should prevail...I know I've gotten my DH to change some of his habits by recounting something I saw on TV or read in a magazine ... he won't listen to me when we're in the kitchen (the compost pail location is a constant point of contention--I like it parked under the sink--he parks it on the counter--drives me MAD). If Dr. Oz or Oprah said to do this or that, he'll go the web site and work on changing his habits...or, if you have a favorite cutting board, handwashing soap dispenser, etc., you could "gift" the person with that...Fortunately, he does understand that "this cutting board is for meat, and meat only" and "that one is for veggies and veggies only." And, he's a fanatic about bleaching them every day.
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Old 04-01-2011, 10:49 PM   #10
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i agree to express it gently as an opinion, turning down the food by mentioning that you'd gotten sick from contaminted food recently and were a bit queasy at the thought of eating something that might make you feel poorly again.

if nothing else, it should open a discussion about how to handle food properly, again - in your opinion.

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beidh ar la linn.
wisdom is often in short supply within ones' ego.
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