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'[OT] Food handling guidelines'
2004\12\27@181206 by Russell McMahon

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Most people should probably glance at this.

NZ site giving official coordinated guidelines on health-safety
procedures
for food cooking, refrigeration, freezing,  thawing and more.

Brief but useful.
Not how most food gets handled!

Not quite so relevant at present for our more frozen
northern hemisphere brethren but still worth a look.

       http://www.safefoodonline.com/article.asp?article=653

Guidelines follow almost exactly what my wife Val has been insisting
on for years and which I have been happily ignoring where possible :-)


       RM

2004\12\27@215106 by William Chops Westfield

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On Dec 27, 2004, at 3:11 PM, Russell McMahon wrote:

>
> NZ site giving official coordinated guidelines on health-safety
> procedures
> for food cooking, refrigeration, freezing,  thawing and more.
>
> Brief but useful.

About as useful as the California warnings on everything suspected of
causing cancer.   Bah, humbug.  No one should eat a steak less cooked
than 'well done.'  Sushi, sashimi, steak tartar, carpacio, etc: right
out.  No runny yolks in your fried eggs.  No eggnog.  Most cases of
food poisoning aren't even worth worrying about...

BillW

2004\12\27@224412 by Russell McMahon

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>> NZ site giving official coordinated guidelines on health-safety
>> procedures for food cooking, refrigeration, freezing,  thawing and
>> more.
>> Brief but useful.

       http://www.safefoodonline.com/article.asp?article=653

> About as useful as the California warnings on everything suspected
> of
> causing cancer.   Bah, humbug.  No one should eat a steak less
> cooked
> than 'well done.'  Sushi, sashimi, steak tartar, carpacio, etc:
> right
> out.  No runny yolks in your fried eggs.  No eggnog.

It's not quite that bad. It does point out that people with certain
specified problems or conditions should avoid the above.
And it does give some good quantitative data on eg temperatures, max
times before refrigeration, max times after thawing and it gives a
little insight into why it recommends what it does. I get the feeling
that these people, while somewhat mother-henish, do know why they are
giving the advice that they do.

> Most cases of food poisoning aren't even worth worrying about...

Unfortunately, that may be less true than most people realise. While
you can't (or shouldn't) be slave to the risks from every possible
danger, more people die of apparently trivial trigger conditions than
is generally realised.  Recent research is showing that appropriately
taken antibiotics are liable to reduce fatalities from heart attacks.
HA's (presumably mainly in people prone to them) are apparently often
enough triggered by infections at levels that aren't notable for other
reasons. Not getting infections in the first place is a good start.
I'm not a mask wearer, ultra health nut or rabid sickness avoider, but
i wash my hand more than many and try to be sensible about food
hygiene.

Do a survey in your local public toilet and see how many men wash
their hands either before or after urinating. (Be careful how you
survey or you may attract the wrong sort of attention :-) ). Watch
people buying food from cafes etc and see how many wash their hands in
advance. Do YOU handle the door handles in public lavatories as you
leave? In such locations, I don't if at all possible. I also don't
usually dry my hands with the provided media or machines but do try to
get my hands dry asap - wet hands greatly increase germ acquisition
rate. paranoia? Maybe, but effort required is very small and potential
benefits are significant. I get enough 'germs" to keep my antibodies
at a reasonable level without courting others' bugs.


       RM



2004\12\28@075002 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Russell McMahon wrote:

>>> NZ site giving official coordinated guidelines on health-safety
>>> procedures for food cooking, refrigeration, freezing,  thawing and
>>> more.
>         http://www.safefoodonline.com/article.asp?article=653

>> About as useful as the California warnings on everything suspected
>> of causing cancer.   Bah, humbug.  
> It's not quite that bad. It does point out that people with certain
> specified problems or conditions should avoid the above.
> And it does give some good quantitative data on eg temperatures, max
> times before refrigeration, max times after thawing and it gives a
> little insight into why it recommends what it does.
Not enough insight for my taste... :)

"Keep domestic fridges at temperatures of 5°C or below."
Why is that? Most fridges below 5°C tend to have places where stuff freezes
uncontrolledly in certain places and gets bad (greens for example).

"Do not use pre-packaged foods beyond the manufacturer¢s ¡use by¢ date."

While it is a wise thing to check things out before use, this "use by" date
has not much to do with whether the content is good, it has to do with the
manufacturer's liability. There's lots of food where you can check for
yourself whether it's still good or not -- and you should do so, even
/before/ the "use by" date has gone by, and you can trust your judgment
better than the stamped-on date even after the date.

"The maximum length of time that home-prepared food should be stored at
refrigerated temperatures is 3 days."

That depends /a lot/ on the type of food.

And so on.
> I get the feeling  that these people, while somewhat mother-henish, do
> know why they are  giving the advice that they do.

I found they give few if any reasons for their rules, and it seems to be
that these rules are pretty broad generalizations. Of course, they seem to
be a governmental agency, and sometimes they are bound by regulations that
prevent them from giving actually useful advice :)

Gerhard

2004\12\28@104716 by Mike Hord
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> >> NZ site giving official coordinated guidelines on health-safety
> >> procedures for food cooking, refrigeration, freezing,  thawing and
> >> more.
> >> Brief but useful.

> > About as useful as the California warnings on everything suspected
> > of causing cancer.   Bah, humbug.  No one should eat a steak less
> > cooked than 'well done.'  Sushi, sashimi, steak tartar, carpacio, etc:
> > right out.  No runny yolks in your fried eggs.  No eggnog.

About three years ago, my wife picked up a minor in food safety as a
part of her microbiology course of study.  She still eats runny eggs
(yolk only) and mayo, and has given a stamp of approval to my
consumption of criminally undercooked beef and sushi.  She is (and
has made me into) a manic handwasher, but that's okay (more or
less).

> > Most cases of food poisoning aren't even worth worrying about...
>
> Unfortunately, that may be less true than most people realise.

A very dear friend of mine from college may be hindered for life by a
food-borne disease which was maltreated by a doctor, given his
diabetes, and spread into his knees.  It doesn't take much for the
nastier bugs, and it's also important to note that in the case of
things like botulism where the active pathogen is a toxin rather than
an organism, even cooking the food won't prevent illness.  Hence the
rather harsh recommendations on food temperature.

> Do a survey in your local public toilet and see how many men wash
> their hands either before or after urinating. (Be careful how you
> survey or you may attract the wrong sort of attention :-) ).

I work in a University, at a Veterinary Medicine school.  Most of my
coworkers have, at a minimum, a Master's degree usually in some
health-related study.  I recently saw a man in the restroom towel off
his hands after using the restroom, without washing them first.

> Watch
> people buying food from cafes etc and see how many wash their hands in
> advance.

My wife freaks out when people handle food with gloved hands, then
handle cash and operate the till with those same gloves, then go back
to preparing food.  Subway and other sandwich shops are usually the
worst about that sort of thing.

> Do YOU handle the door handles in public lavatories as you
> leave? In such locations, I don't if at all possible. I also don't
> usually dry my hands with the provided media or machines but do try to
> get my hands dry asap - wet hands greatly increase germ acquisition
> rate. paranoia? Maybe, but effort required is very small and potential
> benefits are significant. I get enough 'germs" to keep my antibodies
> at a reasonable level without courting others' bugs.

As flu season passes, I've taken to washing the local knobs around my
office.  Just a precaution.  I also use the paper towl I dried my hands
with to open the door.  I haven't figured out a general alternative to
paper towels or air dryers; if I'm wearing jeans they can usually absorb
quite a bit of moisture without looking or feeling too wet.

Of course, when wearing khakis or other types of pants, that habit
CAN lead to embarassment.  ;-)

Mike H.

2004\12\28@113258 by Lawrence Lile

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A coworker contracted a nasty bacteria from some shellfish and an open cut.  He almost died, and lost four fingers on one hand.  The doctors said that this infection was well known on the Gulf coast, but the hospital had never seen a case in Missouri before.  Apparently the bacteria involved likes to eat Antibiotics with it's breakfast cereal, quite resistant.  Yes, food bourne disease can be pretty serious.  

No more raw shellfish nor Sushi for this guy...

--Lawrence

{Original Message removed}

2004\12\29@070804 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Mike Hord wrote:

> My wife freaks out when people handle food with gloved hands, then
> handle cash and operate the till with those same gloves, then go back
> to preparing food.  

I've seen this a lot, and always thought that this was probably worse than
without gloves at all... :)


> I also use the paper towl I dried my hands
> with to open the door.  

I usually take out the paper towels before I wash my hands -- don't see
much of a point in washing my hands and then touching /anything/ in a
public rest room -- they probably would have been cleaner before :)

Gerhard

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