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Thread: Bending the Rules on Bacteria

  1. #1
    Victor Sack Guest

    Default Bending the Rules on Bacteria

    Bending the Rules on Bacteria
    By HAROLD McGEE
    International Herald Tribune

    PEPPERED as we are by government warnings about the potential health
    hazards of eating and drinking just about everything, it was refreshing
    (and perplexing) to see a widely respected food writer assert recently
    that "people are unnecessarily afraid of bacteria" in the kitchen.

    In April, Michael Ruhlman, author of "Ratio" and "The Elements of
    Cooking" and co-author of books by Thomas Keller and other chefs, said
    on his blog that he likes to make chicken stock and leave it out on the
    stovetop all week, using portions day to day to make quick soups and
    sauces.

    But what about the harmful microbes that could grow on foods if they
    were not kept either chilled or hot? "Once your stock is cooked, it's
    safe to eat," Mr. Ruhlman wrote. "If there were bad bacteria in it,
    you'd have killed them." After the stock has cooled, simply reheat it,
    he continued, and "any bacteria that landed there and began to multiply
    will be dispatched well before the stock hits a simmer."

    Sounds plausible, and Mr. Ruhlman and his family are alive and well. But
    after checking with an independent expert on food safety, I wouldn't
    follow this recipe without slapping a biohazard label on my stockpot.

    The Food and Drug Administration sets regulations for commercial food
    production. These specify that cooked foods should sit out at
    temperatures from 41 degrees to 135 degrees, the range in which bacteria
    can grow and multiply, for no more than four hours.

    Guidelines for the consumer and home cook, which come from the
    Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, are even
    stricter. The current brochure, "Keep Food Safe! Food Safety Basics," on
    the U.S.D.A. Web site, says not to leave prepared foods in the bacterial
    growth zone for longer than two hours. And if it's a 90-degree summer
    day, cut the two hours to one.

    Mr. Ruhlman's stock spends days in the bacterial growth zone, and he
    happily makes it into chicken soup for his children.

    I'll admit to violating the guidelines in my own stock-making, though by
    a few hours, not days. When I cook a roast for dinner, I use leftover
    scraps and bones to start the stock, simmer it while I clean up, and
    take the pot off the heat right before I go to bed. At that point it's
    too much trouble to cool the hot stock so it won't warm up its neighbors
    in the refrigerator. Instead, I cover the pot, leave it at room
    temperature and reheat it in the morning, about eight hours later,
    before straining, cooling and refrigerating it. And my stock hasn't made
    me or my family ill, either.

    Can I be even more relaxed about my stock-making? Or have Mr. Ruhlman
    and I just been lucky? For an expert opinion, I sent our recipes to O.
    Peter Snyder, a food scientist and veteran educator and consultant to
    the food-service industry, who has at times taken issue with government
    guidelines he considers unnecessarily conservative.

    Dr. Snyder replied in an e-mail: "The process described by Mr. Ruhlman
    is a very high-risk procedure. It depends totally on reheating the stock
    before it is used to be sure that it doesn't make anyone ill or possibly
    kill them."

    It's a basic fact that every cook should know: bacteria that cause
    illness inevitably end up on nearly every ingredient we cook with, and
    even boiling won't kill all of them.

    Boiling does kill any bacteria active at the time, including E. coli and
    salmonella. But a number of survivalist species of bacteria are able to
    form inactive seedlike spores. These dormant spores are commonly found
    in farmland soils, in dust, on animals and field-grown vegetables and
    grains. And the spores can survive boiling temperatures.

    After a food is cooked and its temperature drops below 130 degrees,
    these spores germinate and begin to grow, multiply and produce toxins.
    One such spore-forming bacterium is Clostridium botulinum, which can
    grow in the oxygen-poor depths of a stockpot, and whose neurotoxin
    causes botulism.

    Once they've germinated, bacteria multiply quickly in nourishing stock.
    They can double their numbers every 90 minutes at room temperature,
    every 15 minutes at body temperature. A single germinated spore can
    become 1,000 bacteria in a matter of hours, a billion in a few days.

    As Dr. Snyder put it, "After sitting on the stove and growing bacteria
    for two or three days, Mr. Ruhlman's stock almost certainly has high
    levels of infectious Clostridium perfringens cells, or Clostridium
    botulinum or Bacillus cereus cells and their toxins, or some combination
    thereof."

    Why has the Ruhlman family survived? Because Mr. Ruhlman boils the stock
    before he serves it, Dr. Snyder wrote. Any active bacteria are killed by
    holding the stock for a minute at 150 degrees or above, and botulism
    toxin is inactivated by 10 minutes at the boil.

    But quickly reheating a contaminated stock just up to serving
    temperature won't destroy its active bacteria and toxins, and the stock
    will make people sick.

    "If Mr. Ruhlman ever has a cup of his three-day-old stock without
    thoroughly boiling it first, he will probably only do it once," Dr.
    Snyder wrote. "It is irresponsible of any cook to prepare food in a way
    that actually creates a new and significant hazard, even though the
    hazard may be eliminated in a later step."

    Safety is one problem with keeping a stock at room temperature. Flavor
    is another. A reboiled three-day-old stock may be safe to eat, but it is
    now seasoned with millions to billions of dead bacteria and their
    inactivated toxins. It's conceivable that they might add an interesting
    flavor, but more likely that the bacteria have feasted on the stock's
    sugars and savory amino acids, the air has oxidized and staled the fat,
    and the stock has become less tasty.

    I spoke with Mr. Ruhlman about Dr. Snyder's analysis of his
    stovetop-stored stock. "I agree that I should have been clearer about
    the importance of the 'kill step,' a good 10 minutes at the boil," he
    said. "And certainly to make the freshest, cleanest stock, it's always
    best to strain, cool and chill it as rapidly as possible."

    What about my lazy method of letting stock cool overnight, then
    reboiling and refrigerating it first thing in the morning? Dr. Snyder
    gave it a pass because it would spend only a few hours below 135
    degrees, not enough time for the bacterial spores to germinate, start
    growing and reach hazardous numbers.

    Like meat stocks, all moist cooked foods are susceptible to being
    recolonized by survivalist bacteria. (Baked goods are generally too dry
    for bacteria; they're spoiled by molds.) That's why we should avoid
    leaving cooked foods out at room temperature for long when we're
    preparing for a party or holiday feast (or enjoying their lazy
    follow-ups), or having a picnic, or packing lunch boxes for young
    children, who along with the elderly and ill are more vulnerable. It's
    best to keep moist lunch items either cold or hot, surrounded by cold
    packs or in a thermos.

    What are the actual odds of getting sick from casual food handling at
    home? No one really knows. There are many variables involved, and only a
    small fraction of illnesses are reported, even to a family doctor, since
    they're usually brief. But one unambiguous and heartbreaking story can
    bring home the value of handling food carefully.

    In 2008, a 26-year-old Japanese mother in the Osaka region shared a meal
    of leftover fried rice with her two children, ages 1 and 2. She had
    prepared and served the rice the day before and kept it at room
    temperature.

    All three became ill 30 minutes after eating the leftovers, and were
    hospitalized. Both children lost consciousness, and the youngest died
    seven hours after the meal. Pathologists later reported in the journal
    Pediatrics that the rice contained a very common spore-forming
    bacterium, Bacillus cereus, along with a heat-resistant toxin that the
    bacterium tends to make on starchy foods, and that can cause vomiting
    even after being heated to the boil.

    It may be true that most cases of food-borne illness aren't that
    serious, and that most reported cases can be traced to foods that were
    contaminated during their production or processing. But it is also true
    that one simple mistake at home can be fatal.

    Even though I know this, I tend to discount specific government
    guidelines because they seem to change arbitrarily, and they don't seem
    workable in real life. This is true of the latest U.S.D.A. numbers. It's
    unrealistic to expect home cooks to chill or reheat or discard dishes
    every two hours during a dinner party, or every hour at a summer
    barbecue.

    Dr. Snyder agreed that official pronouncements on food safety can be
    inconsistent and self-defeating. "The F.D.A. Food Code is very
    conservatively written," he wrote. "Four hours after it's cooked is
    plenty fast enough to get food into the refrigerator." And slow enough
    to relax and enjoy the meal.

    Dr. Snyder added that it's safest to cool leftovers uncovered and in a
    mass no thicker than two inches, so they cool through quickly. If
    they're still hot, start the cooling on the countertop. When the
    container is no longer hot to the touch, put it in the refrigerator, and
    cover it once the food is good and cold.

    My own everyday approach to safety is to try to keep cooked foods either
    hot or cold until I'm ready to serve them, get leftovers in the fridge
    during the pause before dessert or soon after, and reheat leftovers that
    need it until they're boiling or steaming.

    This set of habits isn't dictated by an unnecessary, pleasure-killing
    fear of microbes. It simply acknowledges their inevitable presence in my
    kitchen, and the fact that both my food and anyone who eats it will be
    better off if the care I give it doesn't end with the cooking.

  2. #2
    Kent Guest

    Default Re: Bending the Rules on Bacteria


    "Victor Sack" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:1k6iwyo.tbargyfmi6ggN%[email protected]..
    > Bending the Rules on Bacteria
    > By HAROLD McGEE
    > International Herald Tribune
    >
    > PEPPERED as we are by government warnings about the potential health
    > hazards of eating and drinking just about everything, it was refreshing
    > (and perplexing) to see a widely respected food writer assert recently
    > that "people are unnecessarily afraid of bacteria" in the kitchen.
    >
    > In April, Michael Ruhlman, author of "Ratio" and "The Elements of
    > Cooking" and co-author of books by Thomas Keller and other chefs, said
    > on his blog that he likes to make chicken stock and leave it out on the
    > stovetop all week, using portions day to day to make quick soups and
    > sauces.
    >
    > But what about the harmful microbes that could grow on foods if they
    > were not kept either chilled or hot? "Once your stock is cooked, it's
    > safe to eat," Mr. Ruhlman wrote. "If there were bad bacteria in it,
    > you'd have killed them." After the stock has cooled, simply reheat it,
    > he continued, and "any bacteria that landed there and began to multiply
    > will be dispatched well before the stock hits a simmer."
    >
    > Sounds plausible, and Mr. Ruhlman and his family are alive and well. But
    > after checking with an independent expert on food safety, I wouldn't
    > follow this recipe without slapping a biohazard label on my stockpot.
    >
    > The Food and Drug Administration sets regulations for commercial food
    > production. These specify that cooked foods should sit out at
    > temperatures from 41 degrees to 135 degrees, the range in which bacteria
    > can grow and multiply, for no more than four hours.
    >
    > Guidelines for the consumer and home cook, which come from the
    > Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, are even
    > stricter. The current brochure, "Keep Food Safe! Food Safety Basics," on
    > the U.S.D.A. Web site, says not to leave prepared foods in the bacterial
    > growth zone for longer than two hours. And if it's a 90-degree summer
    > day, cut the two hours to one.
    >
    > Mr. Ruhlman's stock spends days in the bacterial growth zone, and he
    > happily makes it into chicken soup for his children.
    >
    > I'll admit to violating the guidelines in my own stock-making, though by
    > a few hours, not days. When I cook a roast for dinner, I use leftover
    > scraps and bones to start the stock, simmer it while I clean up, and
    > take the pot off the heat right before I go to bed. At that point it's
    > too much trouble to cool the hot stock so it won't warm up its neighbors
    > in the refrigerator. Instead, I cover the pot, leave it at room
    > temperature and reheat it in the morning, about eight hours later,
    > before straining, cooling and refrigerating it. And my stock hasn't made
    > me or my family ill, either.
    >
    > Can I be even more relaxed about my stock-making? Or have Mr. Ruhlman
    > and I just been lucky? For an expert opinion, I sent our recipes to O.
    > Peter Snyder, a food scientist and veteran educator and consultant to
    > the food-service industry, who has at times taken issue with government
    > guidelines he considers unnecessarily conservative.
    >
    > Dr. Snyder replied in an e-mail: "The process described by Mr. Ruhlman
    > is a very high-risk procedure. It depends totally on reheating the stock
    > before it is used to be sure that it doesn't make anyone ill or possibly
    > kill them."
    >
    > It's a basic fact that every cook should know: bacteria that cause
    > illness inevitably end up on nearly every ingredient we cook with, and
    > even boiling won't kill all of them.
    >
    > Boiling does kill any bacteria active at the time, including E. coli and
    > salmonella. But a number of survivalist species of bacteria are able to
    > form inactive seedlike spores. These dormant spores are commonly found
    > in farmland soils, in dust, on animals and field-grown vegetables and
    > grains. And the spores can survive boiling temperatures.
    >
    > After a food is cooked and its temperature drops below 130 degrees,
    > these spores germinate and begin to grow, multiply and produce toxins.
    > One such spore-forming bacterium is Clostridium botulinum, which can
    > grow in the oxygen-poor depths of a stockpot, and whose neurotoxin
    > causes botulism.
    >
    > Once they've germinated, bacteria multiply quickly in nourishing stock.
    > They can double their numbers every 90 minutes at room temperature,
    > every 15 minutes at body temperature. A single germinated spore can
    > become 1,000 bacteria in a matter of hours, a billion in a few days.
    >
    > As Dr. Snyder put it, "After sitting on the stove and growing bacteria
    > for two or three days, Mr. Ruhlman's stock almost certainly has high
    > levels of infectious Clostridium perfringens cells, or Clostridium
    > botulinum or Bacillus cereus cells and their toxins, or some combination
    > thereof."
    >
    > Why has the Ruhlman family survived? Because Mr. Ruhlman boils the stock
    > before he serves it, Dr. Snyder wrote. Any active bacteria are killed by
    > holding the stock for a minute at 150 degrees or above, and botulism
    > toxin is inactivated by 10 minutes at the boil.
    >
    > But quickly reheating a contaminated stock just up to serving
    > temperature won't destroy its active bacteria and toxins, and the stock
    > will make people sick.
    >
    > "If Mr. Ruhlman ever has a cup of his three-day-old stock without
    > thoroughly boiling it first, he will probably only do it once," Dr.
    > Snyder wrote. "It is irresponsible of any cook to prepare food in a way
    > that actually creates a new and significant hazard, even though the
    > hazard may be eliminated in a later step."
    >
    > Safety is one problem with keeping a stock at room temperature. Flavor
    > is another. A reboiled three-day-old stock may be safe to eat, but it is
    > now seasoned with millions to billions of dead bacteria and their
    > inactivated toxins. It's conceivable that they might add an interesting
    > flavor, but more likely that the bacteria have feasted on the stock's
    > sugars and savory amino acids, the air has oxidized and staled the fat,
    > and the stock has become less tasty.
    >
    > I spoke with Mr. Ruhlman about Dr. Snyder's analysis of his
    > stovetop-stored stock. "I agree that I should have been clearer about
    > the importance of the 'kill step,' a good 10 minutes at the boil," he
    > said. "And certainly to make the freshest, cleanest stock, it's always
    > best to strain, cool and chill it as rapidly as possible."
    >
    > What about my lazy method of letting stock cool overnight, then
    > reboiling and refrigerating it first thing in the morning? Dr. Snyder
    > gave it a pass because it would spend only a few hours below 135
    > degrees, not enough time for the bacterial spores to germinate, start
    > growing and reach hazardous numbers.
    >
    > Like meat stocks, all moist cooked foods are susceptible to being
    > recolonized by survivalist bacteria. (Baked goods are generally too dry
    > for bacteria; they're spoiled by molds.) That's why we should avoid
    > leaving cooked foods out at room temperature for long when we're
    > preparing for a party or holiday feast (or enjoying their lazy
    > follow-ups), or having a picnic, or packing lunch boxes for young
    > children, who along with the elderly and ill are more vulnerable. It's
    > best to keep moist lunch items either cold or hot, surrounded by cold
    > packs or in a thermos.
    >
    > What are the actual odds of getting sick from casual food handling at
    > home? No one really knows. There are many variables involved, and only a
    > small fraction of illnesses are reported, even to a family doctor, since
    > they're usually brief. But one unambiguous and heartbreaking story can
    > bring home the value of handling food carefully.
    >
    > In 2008, a 26-year-old Japanese mother in the Osaka region shared a meal
    > of leftover fried rice with her two children, ages 1 and 2. She had
    > prepared and served the rice the day before and kept it at room
    > temperature.
    >
    > All three became ill 30 minutes after eating the leftovers, and were
    > hospitalized. Both children lost consciousness, and the youngest died
    > seven hours after the meal. Pathologists later reported in the journal
    > Pediatrics that the rice contained a very common spore-forming
    > bacterium, Bacillus cereus, along with a heat-resistant toxin that the
    > bacterium tends to make on starchy foods, and that can cause vomiting
    > even after being heated to the boil.
    >
    > It may be true that most cases of food-borne illness aren't that
    > serious, and that most reported cases can be traced to foods that were
    > contaminated during their production or processing. But it is also true
    > that one simple mistake at home can be fatal.
    >
    > Even though I know this, I tend to discount specific government
    > guidelines because they seem to change arbitrarily, and they don't seem
    > workable in real life. This is true of the latest U.S.D.A. numbers. It's
    > unrealistic to expect home cooks to chill or reheat or discard dishes
    > every two hours during a dinner party, or every hour at a summer
    > barbecue.
    >
    > Dr. Snyder agreed that official pronouncements on food safety can be
    > inconsistent and self-defeating. "The F.D.A. Food Code is very
    > conservatively written," he wrote. "Four hours after it's cooked is
    > plenty fast enough to get food into the refrigerator." And slow enough
    > to relax and enjoy the meal.
    >
    > Dr. Snyder added that it's safest to cool leftovers uncovered and in a
    > mass no thicker than two inches, so they cool through quickly. If
    > they're still hot, start the cooling on the countertop. When the
    > container is no longer hot to the touch, put it in the refrigerator, and
    > cover it once the food is good and cold.
    >
    > My own everyday approach to safety is to try to keep cooked foods either
    > hot or cold until I'm ready to serve them, get leftovers in the fridge
    > during the pause before dessert or soon after, and reheat leftovers that
    > need it until they're boiling or steaming.
    >
    > This set of habits isn't dictated by an unnecessary, pleasure-killing
    > fear of microbes. It simply acknowledges their inevitable presence in my
    > kitchen, and the fact that both my food and anyone who eats it will be
    > better off if the care I give it doesn't end with the cooking.
    >
    >

    Michael Ruhlman and his chicken stock was kicked around on this NG quite
    severely recently. Michael Ruhlman is not a cook. He is the coauthor of a
    number of cookbooks, and the author of several, including "Ratio" and
    "Elements of Cooking", that don't say anything.





  3. #3
    Sky Guest

    Default Re: Bending the Rules on Bacteria

    (top posting on purpose)

    Thanks for sharing such an interesting article. The comments made by
    the author are succinct, to the point, and clearly show how/why the
    preparations and preservation of foods are so important to the
    prevention of food-borne illnesses and the potential consequence of a
    diner's death!

    Sky

    --

    Ultra Ultimate Kitchen Rule - Use the Timer!
    Ultimate Kitchen Rule -- Cook's Choice!!


    On 8/24/2011 4:12 PM, Victor Sack wrote:
    > Bending the Rules on Bacteria
    > By HAROLD McGEE
    > International Herald Tribune
    >
    > PEPPERED as we are by government warnings about the potential health
    > hazards of eating and drinking just about everything, it was refreshing
    > (and perplexing) to see a widely respected food writer assert recently
    > that "people are unnecessarily afraid of bacteria" in the kitchen.
    >
    > In April, Michael Ruhlman, author of "Ratio" and "The Elements of
    > Cooking" and co-author of books by Thomas Keller and other chefs, said
    > on his blog that he likes to make chicken stock and leave it out on the
    > stovetop all week, using portions day to day to make quick soups and
    > sauces.
    >
    > But what about the harmful microbes that could grow on foods if they
    > were not kept either chilled or hot? "Once your stock is cooked, it's
    > safe to eat," Mr. Ruhlman wrote. "If there were bad bacteria in it,
    > you'd have killed them." After the stock has cooled, simply reheat it,
    > he continued, and "any bacteria that landed there and began to multiply
    > will be dispatched well before the stock hits a simmer."
    >
    > Sounds plausible, and Mr. Ruhlman and his family are alive and well. But
    > after checking with an independent expert on food safety, I wouldn't
    > follow this recipe without slapping a biohazard label on my stockpot.
    >
    > The Food and Drug Administration sets regulations for commercial food
    > production. These specify that cooked foods should sit out at
    > temperatures from 41 degrees to 135 degrees, the range in which bacteria
    > can grow and multiply, for no more than four hours.
    >
    > Guidelines for the consumer and home cook, which come from the
    > Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, are even
    > stricter. The current brochure, "Keep Food Safe! Food Safety Basics," on
    > the U.S.D.A. Web site, says not to leave prepared foods in the bacterial
    > growth zone for longer than two hours. And if it's a 90-degree summer
    > day, cut the two hours to one.
    >
    > Mr. Ruhlman's stock spends days in the bacterial growth zone, and he
    > happily makes it into chicken soup for his children.
    >
    > I'll admit to violating the guidelines in my own stock-making, though by
    > a few hours, not days. When I cook a roast for dinner, I use leftover
    > scraps and bones to start the stock, simmer it while I clean up, and
    > take the pot off the heat right before I go to bed. At that point it's
    > too much trouble to cool the hot stock so it won't warm up its neighbors
    > in the refrigerator. Instead, I cover the pot, leave it at room
    > temperature and reheat it in the morning, about eight hours later,
    > before straining, cooling and refrigerating it. And my stock hasn't made
    > me or my family ill, either.
    >
    > Can I be even more relaxed about my stock-making? Or have Mr. Ruhlman
    > and I just been lucky? For an expert opinion, I sent our recipes to O.
    > Peter Snyder, a food scientist and veteran educator and consultant to
    > the food-service industry, who has at times taken issue with government
    > guidelines he considers unnecessarily conservative.
    >
    > Dr. Snyder replied in an e-mail: "The process described by Mr. Ruhlman
    > is a very high-risk procedure. It depends totally on reheating the stock
    > before it is used to be sure that it doesn't make anyone ill or possibly
    > kill them."
    >
    > It's a basic fact that every cook should know: bacteria that cause
    > illness inevitably end up on nearly every ingredient we cook with, and
    > even boiling won't kill all of them.
    >
    > Boiling does kill any bacteria active at the time, including E. coli and
    > salmonella. But a number of survivalist species of bacteria are able to
    > form inactive seedlike spores. These dormant spores are commonly found
    > in farmland soils, in dust, on animals and field-grown vegetables and
    > grains. And the spores can survive boiling temperatures.
    >
    > After a food is cooked and its temperature drops below 130 degrees,
    > these spores germinate and begin to grow, multiply and produce toxins.
    > One such spore-forming bacterium is Clostridium botulinum, which can
    > grow in the oxygen-poor depths of a stockpot, and whose neurotoxin
    > causes botulism.
    >
    > Once they've germinated, bacteria multiply quickly in nourishing stock.
    > They can double their numbers every 90 minutes at room temperature,
    > every 15 minutes at body temperature. A single germinated spore can
    > become 1,000 bacteria in a matter of hours, a billion in a few days.
    >
    > As Dr. Snyder put it, "After sitting on the stove and growing bacteria
    > for two or three days, Mr. Ruhlman's stock almost certainly has high
    > levels of infectious Clostridium perfringens cells, or Clostridium
    > botulinum or Bacillus cereus cells and their toxins, or some combination
    > thereof."
    >
    > Why has the Ruhlman family survived? Because Mr. Ruhlman boils the stock
    > before he serves it, Dr. Snyder wrote. Any active bacteria are killed by
    > holding the stock for a minute at 150 degrees or above, and botulism
    > toxin is inactivated by 10 minutes at the boil.
    >
    > But quickly reheating a contaminated stock just up to serving
    > temperature won't destroy its active bacteria and toxins, and the stock
    > will make people sick.
    >
    > "If Mr. Ruhlman ever has a cup of his three-day-old stock without
    > thoroughly boiling it first, he will probably only do it once," Dr.
    > Snyder wrote. "It is irresponsible of any cook to prepare food in a way
    > that actually creates a new and significant hazard, even though the
    > hazard may be eliminated in a later step."
    >
    > Safety is one problem with keeping a stock at room temperature. Flavor
    > is another. A reboiled three-day-old stock may be safe to eat, but it is
    > now seasoned with millions to billions of dead bacteria and their
    > inactivated toxins. It's conceivable that they might add an interesting
    > flavor, but more likely that the bacteria have feasted on the stock's
    > sugars and savory amino acids, the air has oxidized and staled the fat,
    > and the stock has become less tasty.
    >
    > I spoke with Mr. Ruhlman about Dr. Snyder's analysis of his
    > stovetop-stored stock. "I agree that I should have been clearer about
    > the importance of the 'kill step,' a good 10 minutes at the boil," he
    > said. "And certainly to make the freshest, cleanest stock, it's always
    > best to strain, cool and chill it as rapidly as possible."
    >
    > What about my lazy method of letting stock cool overnight, then
    > reboiling and refrigerating it first thing in the morning? Dr. Snyder
    > gave it a pass because it would spend only a few hours below 135
    > degrees, not enough time for the bacterial spores to germinate, start
    > growing and reach hazardous numbers.
    >
    > Like meat stocks, all moist cooked foods are susceptible to being
    > recolonized by survivalist bacteria. (Baked goods are generally too dry
    > for bacteria; they're spoiled by molds.) That's why we should avoid
    > leaving cooked foods out at room temperature for long when we're
    > preparing for a party or holiday feast (or enjoying their lazy
    > follow-ups), or having a picnic, or packing lunch boxes for young
    > children, who along with the elderly and ill are more vulnerable. It's
    > best to keep moist lunch items either cold or hot, surrounded by cold
    > packs or in a thermos.
    >
    > What are the actual odds of getting sick from casual food handling at
    > home? No one really knows. There are many variables involved, and only a
    > small fraction of illnesses are reported, even to a family doctor, since
    > they're usually brief. But one unambiguous and heartbreaking story can
    > bring home the value of handling food carefully.
    >
    > In 2008, a 26-year-old Japanese mother in the Osaka region shared a meal
    > of leftover fried rice with her two children, ages 1 and 2. She had
    > prepared and served the rice the day before and kept it at room
    > temperature.
    >
    > All three became ill 30 minutes after eating the leftovers, and were
    > hospitalized. Both children lost consciousness, and the youngest died
    > seven hours after the meal. Pathologists later reported in the journal
    > Pediatrics that the rice contained a very common spore-forming
    > bacterium, Bacillus cereus, along with a heat-resistant toxin that the
    > bacterium tends to make on starchy foods, and that can cause vomiting
    > even after being heated to the boil.
    >
    > It may be true that most cases of food-borne illness aren't that
    > serious, and that most reported cases can be traced to foods that were
    > contaminated during their production or processing. But it is also true
    > that one simple mistake at home can be fatal.
    >
    > Even though I know this, I tend to discount specific government
    > guidelines because they seem to change arbitrarily, and they don't seem
    > workable in real life. This is true of the latest U.S.D.A. numbers. It's
    > unrealistic to expect home cooks to chill or reheat or discard dishes
    > every two hours during a dinner party, or every hour at a summer
    > barbecue.
    >
    > Dr. Snyder agreed that official pronouncements on food safety can be
    > inconsistent and self-defeating. "The F.D.A. Food Code is very
    > conservatively written," he wrote. "Four hours after it's cooked is
    > plenty fast enough to get food into the refrigerator." And slow enough
    > to relax and enjoy the meal.
    >
    > Dr. Snyder added that it's safest to cool leftovers uncovered and in a
    > mass no thicker than two inches, so they cool through quickly. If
    > they're still hot, start the cooling on the countertop. When the
    > container is no longer hot to the touch, put it in the refrigerator, and
    > cover it once the food is good and cold.
    >
    > My own everyday approach to safety is to try to keep cooked foods either
    > hot or cold until I'm ready to serve them, get leftovers in the fridge
    > during the pause before dessert or soon after, and reheat leftovers that
    > need it until they're boiling or steaming.
    >
    > This set of habits isn't dictated by an unnecessary, pleasure-killing
    > fear of microbes. It simply acknowledges their inevitable presence in my
    > kitchen, and the fact that both my food and anyone who eats it will be
    > better off if the care I give it doesn't end with the cooking.



  4. #4
    Goomba Guest

    Default Re: Bending the Rules on Bacteria

    Kent wrote:

    > Michael Ruhlman and his chicken stock was kicked around on this NG quite
    > severely recently. Michael Ruhlman is not a cook. He is the coauthor of a
    > number of cookbooks, and the author of several, including "Ratio" and
    > "Elements of Cooking", that don't say anything.



    for someone whom you clain is "not a cook" he certainly does seem to
    cook a lot as well as study the topic and write about it. He rocks in my
    book.

  5. #5
    Nunya Bidnits Guest

    Default Re: Bending the Rules on Bacteria

    Victor Sack <[email protected]> wrote:
    > Bending the Rules on Bacteria
    > By HAROLD McGEE
    > International Herald Tribune


    Thank you for posting another debunking of Ruhlman's dangerous stovetop
    stock disaster. As long as he's feeding people this dangerous notion, others
    need to keep tearing it down.

    MartyB



  6. #6
    Goomba Guest

    Default Re: Bending the Rules on Bacteria

    Nunya Bidnits wrote:
    > Victor Sack <[email protected]> wrote:
    >> Bending the Rules on Bacteria
    >> By HAROLD McGEE
    >> International Herald Tribune

    >
    > Thank you for posting another debunking of Ruhlman's dangerous stovetop
    > stock disaster. As long as he's feeding people this dangerous notion, others
    > need to keep tearing it down.
    >
    > MartyB
    >


    You should check out Rulman's blog then. He has altered his stand it seems?

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