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12/20/13 2:47 P

You can't escape contamination no matter what you do. But you have to eat...At least I cut down on my chances by being a vegetarian. I don't eat sprouts because I've heard so many stories about them being contaminated.

Edited by: ANAMORPHOSIS at: 12/20/2013 (14:48)
LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 4,690
12/20/13 2:29 P

Food poisoning is extremely common. It's way more common than most people realize. In fact the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that, each year, 1 in 6 people acquires a foodborne illness. In most people who get food poisoning, the disease is mild and self-limiting. This means they aren't hospitalized and the vast majority of them don't even bother going to the doctor. So, the next time you have a case of diarrhea (+/- vomiting, etc.) it food poisoning? There's a decent chance that it is.

So far as organic foods, anyone who believes they are not contaminated with things like bacteria, just like non-organic foods, is in serious denial. Your friend who likes to eat raw hamburger meat (thinking it's safe because it's organic) is basically just asking for it.

No vegetarians aren't safe, as vegetables are frequently contaminated. How could anyone have missed the news reports about all the contaminated lettuce, sprouts, etc? Vegetables can even be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria commonly associated with the intestinal tracts of animals. For example, E. coli 0157:H7 often comes from cows. So, it's no surprise that undercooked hamburgers were implicated in some outbreaks of food poisoning caused by this organism. However, other outbreaks have occurred and non-meat items were found to be contaminated. The contaminated foods were things like unpasteurized apple juice, unpasteurized apple cider, raw milk, alfalfa sprouts, radish sprouts. Non-vegetable/non meat items are also commonly contaminated (e.g. cooked rice).

Edited by: LOVE4KITTIES at: 12/20/2013 (14:34)
LYNNIEV Posts: 394
12/20/13 11:24 A

Tina, yeah, I've seen it too. I know people who avoid buffets because of all the possible germs in the food - people touching things and putting them back, coughing, sneezing, etc. And truth be told, it's really no more of a risk than food that comes directly to you from the kitchen.

I'm not saying ALL restaurants have bad practices, but I've worked in enough of them to make me wonder how often it happens.

I p'd my boss off bigtime once. I was salad prep at a nice Italian place and I accidentally knocked a bucket of sliced (in wedges) tomatoes onto the floor. So I cursed myself briefly, then began scooping them back into the bucket so I could go toss them out, then clean the floor. I scooped them up and began carrying the bucket of tomatoes over to the big trash bin that was there in the kitchen. My boss came in about then and saw me getting ready to dump something into the trash. He asked me what it was. I told him what had happened and that I was tossing the tomatoes and I'd cut more. He shrieks "No, we don't have time for that! Just wash them off!"

I looked at him like he had 2 heads and said "What? Wash them off?"

"Yes, wash them off and serve them anyway!"

I told him I wasn't going to serve tomatoes that had been on the floor to the customers. He told me "If you dump those tomatoes, you can just go home."

I said "fine" and dumped the tomatoes as everyone looked on; some with looks of fear as to what the bossman would do next and a couple of them were laughing at the whole thing. Needless to say, my job ended that day. After I dumped the tomatoes, I went and grabbed my purse and my car keys from the back room and left. A couple days later the bossman calls me and tells me my job is still available if I wanted it (he was just short-staffed is all that was about) and I told him I couldn't work in a restaurant where the owner of the place condones serving food that has been on the floor. Because I saw the cooks a few times drop steaks and whatnot onto the floor and they'd pick them up and put them back on the grill.

So nope.

TINA8605 SparkPoints: (99,668)
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12/20/13 9:53 A

I try to avoid food issues by keeping a spray bottle of bleach water always present when preparing food. You never know what you're buying. Its not just all foods. And don't forget....clean off those cans before you pour the contents.
Having worked in restaurants, I have seen more than I care to know what goes on behind that cook line. I have to turn off my memory when I go out to eat.

SHERYLDS Posts: 17,273
12/20/13 9:08 A

I've worked with people who loved high end Italian restaurants and 2 of my colleagues had a fondness for Carpaccio ...a dish of raw meat or fish (such as beef, veal, venison) that is shaved super thin. I tried it once...not bad...but definitely not my choice.

Like anything else ...freshness and handling is key to anything. In our society, even whole food gets handled improperly along the way. And few people know how long food should be kept before it goes bad.

LYNNIEV Posts: 394
12/20/13 7:40 A

Yeah, the big scare with the spinach (lots of people became sick and I think some even died) the scallion thing, the bell pepper thing. Fruits and vegetables can become infected with listeria and E. Coli.

So no one is really TRULY completely safe from food borne illnesses.

MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,238
12/19/13 11:53 P

All I can say is eww to the raw salted hamburger. That needs to be cooked to done.

Vegetarians are not safe. How many times in the past couple years have vegetables been recalled?

ANARIE Posts: 13,175
12/19/13 10:56 P

The article is alarmist to the point of being silly. As a previous poster said, OF COURSE raw meat has germs on it! Then they throw in this gem:

"Last year, at least 48 million Americans became sick in the US."

They're throwing in a large number to scare people, and putting it in the middle of an article about bacteria in food so you'll think all those people got sick from bad chicken. But what it really means is that 269 million Americans didn't get so much as a tummyache for a full year. It means that 85% of Americans were perfectly fine for at least 365 days in a row. That's pretty impressive when you think about it.

So, yes, raw chicken is germy. You should cook it before you eat it, and you should keep your kitchen clean. But you knew that. Your grandma knew that. I'm willing to bet that on a page of the magazine very close to where this article was, there was an advertisement for special soap or "air-chilled" chicken or frozen prepared organic food or something. Please don't let sensationalistic articles like this push you into wasting money on scam "health" products!

ETHELMERZ SparkPoints: (249,799)
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12/19/13 9:31 P

Vegetarians can't pat themselves on their backs, either, look at all of the recalls of produce, because the people out in the fields tend to "go" when nature calls, and there isn't a lot of washing going on, because, well, you know, it's all "natural"............

JANIEWWJD SparkPoints: (542,752)
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12/19/13 8:00 P

Oh wow, thanks for the information!!!!

12/19/13 3:13 P

This news makes me glad I'm a vegetarian! I always buy organic fruit and vegetables to try to cut down on contaminants.

LYNNIEV Posts: 394
12/19/13 3:03 P

Well, then let me tell you about my friend Kim (not the same one I spoke of who thinks all organic food is perfect).

Kim loves raw hamburger. She rolls the ground meat up into a ball (about meatball size) sprinkles it with salt and eats it. As is.


LEC358 SparkPoints: (11,135)
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12/19/13 2:57 P

Fair enough. I was always taught that food isn't clean until you've washed/prepared it...basic food safety that was drilled into us in middle school home ec. It's really difficult for me to wrap my head around the idea that there is a group of people out there who don't regard raw meat as disease ridden and in need of careful handling.

LYNNIEV Posts: 394
12/19/13 1:43 P

The problem is, though, that many people who buy organic (like my friend I mentioned) automatically assume their food is safe and completely free from any contaminants. Which is probably why articles such as these are necessary. Just because it's organic doesn't mean it's a completely clean, pure food. Unfortunately, though, there are people who believe it is.

Sheryl, I agree that even the best restaurants can have problems. Years ago I worked in the kitchen of a very upscale Italian bistro. The things I witnessed in that kitchen were horrifying. People would be surprised at what happens to their food before it reaches their table.

LEC358 SparkPoints: (11,135)
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12/19/13 1:29 P

This is absolutely not shocking at all. *Of course* raw chicken is going to have bacteria present. This is why you never, ever, EVER see chicken served raw. I buy organic meats because a) it tastes better and b) its pretty well accepted that the antibiotics that we consume via the food chain increase our resistance to antibiotics when we take them for an infection.

SHERYLDS Posts: 17,273
12/19/13 1:05 P

emoticon that contaminants are all around us...from the kitchen counter, to the food, from the way we handle foodstuffs, to the way we prepare them. And with all the hype on contaminants, I''ve seen people do all kinds of things to follow the rules, and then eat without washing their hands before time. I've gotten food poisoning on a few occasions. I don't buy from street vendors, but I once worked in the restaurant industry and I can tell you that even the best restaurants have issues. I've read that Consumer Reports found that more than half of ground turkey was contaminated with fecal bacteria. Contaminants and toxins are everywhere...I guess you have to do what you can to make sure you avoid adding to it, and that your immune system is healthy enough to fight it. .

LYNNIEV Posts: 394
12/19/13 12:50 P

Yes, I agree with that. There's nothing wrong with buying organic foods. But with some foods, it apparently doesn't matter, if all you're looking to do is avoid contamination. In the past I've read that even organic produce was found to have a certain degree of pesticides.

If you're wanting to avoid hormones and antibiotics, by all means, grab the organic stuff. But it's no guarantee that your organic meat will be free of contaminants.

SHERYLDS Posts: 17,273
12/19/13 12:29 P

I don't buy organic but
I think those that do are trying to avoid the hormones and antibiotics in meat and poultry.

LYNNIEV Posts: 394
12/19/13 12:25 P

Apparently buying organic makes no difference. It's contaminated too. I better send this article to a friend of mine who is always boasting that she only buys organic food and tells me, in so many words, that by NOT buying organic, I'm killing myself. Well here ya go, sister, so are you.

This really doesn't surprise me, considering the FDA and USDA lifted the ban on chicken imported from China (although this particular story/finding may have absolutely nothing at all to do with that). They initially said it was for processed chicken, but in one article I read, it stated that fresh chicken may [eventually] be from China as well.

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