I enjoy going out to eat every now and again. It’s nice to not have to cook all the time. But, I’ve had a string of bad luck when it comes to eating out at restaurants. 4 out of the last 5 times I have been served improperly cooked food. Once was a steak, one hamburger, and twice it was chicken. Okay, the steak probably wasn’t that big of a deal but, the hamburger and chicken those were bad. Only the outside of the hamburger was browned. Thankfully, I always cut a hamburger in half before eating so, I caught this right away. The server apologized and said, “we aren’t suppose to serve a hamburger less than medium well.” Mine was rare. 🙁 Last two times were with chicken. The first one was grilled chicken. I took a bite and saw the chicken was pink and shiny. That’s a clear sign it isn’t cooked properly. Most recently, I ordered “crispy” chicken thinking it’s fried, they can’t mess that up. Well, I’m here to tell you, yes they can. To add to my “safe food” issues some of these restaurants are so dimly lit you can barely see what you are eating.
Okay, I’m a bit obsessed with food safety. It is so easy to get sick from improperly cooked or mishandled food. I for one don’t enjoy getting sick, and I definitely don’t want the people in my life to get sick. Some would say stick with veggies and you don’t have to worry. Sadly, veggies are safe from bacteria either….
- Bacteria is everywhere and most is harmless
- Some bacteria are beneficial while others cause illness
- Bacteria can be controlled by controlling the food’s temperature during every stage of storage and preparation
Listeria Monocytogenes Bacteria
- Listeria most common in hot dogs and lunch meats.
- Listeria is unlike many other germs because it can grow even in the cold temperature of the refrigerator.
- Symptoms include fever and chills, headache, upset stomach and vomiting
- Incubation is 12 hrs to several days
Escherichia Coli Bacteria
- Ecoli – most common in raw and undercooked beef.
- Symptoms: diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, cramping, nausea, vomiting.
- Incubation 12-72 hours, duration up to 8 days
Staphylococcus aureus bacteria
- Most common in high protein items such as cooked meats, eggs, milk. Also in fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Causes severe diarrhea and nausea and is evident within ½ hr to 6 hr of after ingestion. Lasts 24-48 hrs
- Salmonella occurs in raw poultry, eggs, beef, and sometimes on unwashed fruit and vegetables.
- Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and headache.
- Incubation 6-48 hours, lasts 1-2 days
- The only way to help prevent contamination is by cooking foods to the proper temperature
- Temperatures of 165°F kill most bacteria within a few seconds
Remember that Listeria can grow at cold temperatures and in the refrigerator
Temperature Danger Zone
- The key to keeping food out of this “Danger Zone” is to make sure cold food stays cold and hot food stays hot
- Store food in the refrigerator (40 °F/4°C or below) or freezer (0 °F/-18°C or below)
- Maintain hot cooked food at 140 °F/60°C or above
- When reheating cooked food, reheat to 165 °F/ 74°C
Wash Your Hands
- Wash during food preparation, as often as necessary to remove soil and contamination and to prevent cross-contamination when changing tasks
- When switching between working with raw food and ready-to-eat food