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Old 07-03-2009, 10:44 PM   #21
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Laury, you managed to find a hot button here. (are you surprised?) I hear you, I get a bit tired of the latest "scare of the week"

I think as foodies we are all pretty careful with our food prep and we are all interested in good solid information. Some of the stuff out there is (as I think GB said) just there to hook you in to watching the news that night. Its not based in science, just in PR.

You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams
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Old 07-03-2009, 11:23 PM   #22
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chances are if you are going to cook it to death, you can probably handle it anyway you want. (however, Mad Cow does not get killed by heat so there is one problem)

If you are keeping it whole (whole steak or chop, but not poultry) as long as you cook the outsides well, the insides can be pretty safely on the rare side.

The ACF (American Culinary Federation) and the US Govt have guidelines to doneness etc and what is safe. What was safe in grandma's times is slightly different today. Poultry and pork need to be at temp but not necessarily free of a gentle pink or cooked to drydeath.

Once you start grinding up the meat be it beef pork chicken turkey or aardvark, you begin to cause outside germs to get inside, and if it gets warm even a little, it starts to grow. Cooking may not get it all.

So safe handling is essential.

I used to think, well it's well sealed so it should be ok. But then we know that meat packing plants may be clean but can't really be sterile. A little research shows that food safety is no accident.

Keeping a clean kitchen, following safe food practices, using disposable gloves for some tasks (makes some jobs much easier too btw), and checking to see that fridge and oven are properly calibrated are all part of the deal.

now if all that doesn't sway you, know this: The Culinary Institute of America, one of my alma maters, begins all students who enter with 3 weeks of sanitation and food safety before they ever see the kitchens. yeh, it is that important.

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Old 07-04-2009, 12:11 PM   #23
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Botulism toxin is another food-borne poison that's not eliminated by cooking. The germs are killed, but what they've left behind can be deadly, depending on the dose and the victim.
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Old 07-04-2009, 02:38 PM   #24
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I think in the world with the population as it is, requires that the "food police" or any other "scare-the-bejabbers-outta-me" people need to exist so that reminders are there for your protection. The swine flu pandemic was a good example of this, they nearly had Americans staying indoors or only going out with masks on within a few days of the first outbreak reported in Mexico. But if they didn't scare the bejabbers out of everyone, people might possibly have taken it much lighter and the pandemic couldn've been a lot worse. I prefer to be safe and not sorry, tell me the latest scare and I'll make up my own mind after researching it myself to warrant my defense ... if needed at all.
"A man has to believe in something ... I believe I'll have another drink."
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Old 07-04-2009, 02:56 PM   #25
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This is such a hard thing to address, probably because there are iffy things put out there in the media that change from day to day. There's one organization that I don't guess I'll name because they come out with so many ridiculous, obvious "revelations" (i.e., the extra pseudo butter on movie popcorn is fattening. That if all you eat at Chinese restaurants is deep-fried pork with a sugary sauce, deep fried egg rolls, etc, it isn't healthy? It seems every few years this organization comes out with a new healthy risk that strikes me as so obvious that all I can hope is that they aren't getting millions in grants from my money!

A few years ago a friend refused to eat some sauteed greens I served, because of the spinach scare. I looked at him and said, this isn't bagged spinach, from Mexico or California or anywhere else. It is from right over there in my garden, I grew it from seed, harvested it myself, had a good year and used no fertilizer or insecticide, washed it and my hands. But still, I don't think he ate greens for something like two years. Sometimes a little common sense is in order.

No one has gotten sick from my table, and I'm not paranoid about every food safety revelation that comes out. I do have friends with immunity problems, and some with stomach cancer/diverticulitis. If I can cook without them getting sick then common sense obviously rules the day.

A comic (I chose to laugh at it) is that I like my beef anywhere from rare to raw. I would never, and I do men NEVER impose that choice on anyone else. I'll take my chances. But when I cook for others, I ask, and if they're in the "cook it until it looks gray" camp, I buy two pieces, or slice theirs off and cook it some more (if it is a roast). Do you know what happens, every danged time? After everyone else has taken their beef, my husband and I go to get ours, and it is gone. GONE. Everyone who swears they cannot stomach beef that is even remotely pink, grab our red meat and eat seconds. When we go to get our meal (or the platter is passed to us) there isn't a drop of pink to be found!

I do think there is a bit of panic mode out there. The food that has given me the most trouble in recent years has been restaurant salads. Don't know if it is part of the harvesting process or the personal habits of the "salad chefs". I've never been sick-sick, but have had an uncomfortable night or weekend. I notice that a lot of the food problems are from prepared foods -- pre-made hamburger patties, fast food, and the aforementioned prepared salads in restaurants. Just an interesting observation.
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Old 07-04-2009, 03:44 PM   #26
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Well, I think it is time to weigh in here on behalf of my good friend Laury. She knows me well enough to know that I agree with her. We have often bemoaned together about all those people who seem to know better than we do what is good for us. Not that I am a libertarian - obviously there is a role for government and others who look out for our safety. Just because we rode around in the backs of pickups when we were kids doesn't mean that it is a good idea (although everyone in Mexico seems to do it, and I have never seen anyone fly out).

Having said that, I will share my particular pet peeve in this regard. Many of our US or Canadian friends who live here are absolutely paranoid about fresh produce. They buy a bottled disinfectant (Microban) and soak all their fruits and vegetables in it. I have never done that, not wanting to soak these beautiful fresh fruits and vegetables in chemicals, and we have never become ill from eating any fruits or vegetables...of course, we also entertain alot, and I imagine that some of our guests might be uncomfortable if they knew this....
Saludos, Karen
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Old 07-04-2009, 04:22 PM   #27
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I think the "food police" are essential to our culture and population now. People are lazy. They "assume" just because they buy something from a "nice" store that it was handled well. Or if it's small town, then bubba would never drop ground meat on the floor and then throw it back in the bin to be used. Or that the migrant workers have some place to go to the bathroom beside my head of lettuce and it getting a spash.
If people are not cautioned about something then they have short memories and get lazy again. H1N1 was waning until the "scary people" started backing off, saying that it wasn't as bad as they'd thought. Next thing you know WHO has issued a pandemic alert.

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