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  #1  
Old 05-21-2001, 05:58 PM
Moe Moe is offline
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My friend is a bartender at this place that had a small buffet the other night (actually last Thurs.) which consisted of 2 big aluminum foil pans of (1) chicken and rice & (2)pasta shells.
Knowing I'm a poor college student, she wrapped up the very large amounts of leftovers for me. I would really hate to throw out this food (the shells I'm of course not worried about) but it's already been 4 days and there is still so much of the chicken and rice left. Of course, in hindsight I should've frozen it.
Is it still safe to eat?
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  #2  
Old 05-21-2001, 07:31 PM
Holly Holly is offline
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Too bad you didn't freeze it.

Questions: how long was the food sitting out on the buffet? Was it kept at any certain temperature there? How long between then and the time it made its way to your fridge (for example, did your friend leave it at room temperature for several hours until she finished her shift)?

Meat (including chicken) really shouldn't be kept in the fridge for more than 3 days before it's eaten. As stingy as I am, I'd freeze it right this minute and then eat it anyway. What's the worst thing that can happen?

Okay, well, you become deathly ill and even die, but you'd probably be okay- assuming you're in good health now. A caveat: even as stingy as I am, if that chicken had been sitting at room temperature for more than an hour or so, I'd toss it in the trash. If I had any doubts as to how it was prepared (for example, if it might not have been cooked thoroughly), I'd throw it in the trash. In any case, I wouldn't let anyone else eat it: if I kill myself through my own carelessness, fine, but I'd feel terrible if I accidentally poisoned someone else.

Let it be a lesson to you: don't waste food by mishandling it. Poor people like us can't afford to throw chicken away. Since it was free, though, at least you're not out of pocket.
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  #3  
Old 05-21-2001, 08:34 PM
Moe Moe is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Holly
Too bad you didn't freeze it.

Questions:
1. how long was the food sitting out on the buffet?
2. Was it kept at any certain temperature there?
3. How long between then and the time it made its way to your fridge (for example, did your friend leave it at room temperature for several hours until she finished her shift)?
Well, it seems I will likely have to, reluctantly, toss it. But just to answer your questions:
1. It was there when I got there but I'll guess they probably cooked it fresh and put it out shortly after at about 8pm and I left with it about 12.
2. I'm not sure but it was warm when I left. I didn't notice a flame or boiling water underneath or anything.
3. I took it right home, 5-10 minutes away tops.

Yes, it is true that it was free and was going to be thrown out after anyway so I didn't lose anything out of my own pocket, but it's just a shame to have to throw out so much food.

Tell me, the dish is mostly rice with chunks of chicken spread throughout. Do you think that the chicken, if bad, would contaminate the rice?
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  #4  
Old 05-21-2001, 08:45 PM
robby robby is offline
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There was a "Dateline" report recently about food safety. What I remember was that after more than 3 days in the refrigerator, there was enough bacteria on perishable food to possibly make you ill.

What really surprised me was that this included rice and pasta, not just meat and poultry.

I put two and two together and realized that all that "indigestion" I've had over the years may have been mild food poisoning.

I'm very strict now with the following rules:
--don't leave perishable food out for longer than an hour
--don't consume after 3 days in the refrigerator
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  #5  
Old 05-21-2001, 09:54 PM
sailor sailor is offline
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I am in good health and will eat anything my nose tells me is OK (an even sometimes it tells me it isn't). I have *never* gotten sick from bad food and only once from bad water. (The water thing was *really* stupid of me as I *knew* the water was *really* bad). A healthy person can tolerate a fair amount of bad stuff but food handling rules are for worst cases: people who are weak or sick. I have never followed them so I should be dead many times over. When I had housemates they would throw away so much good food that I used to eat regularly stuff I got out of the garbage can. I still remember one day I offered my girlfriend a yoghurt I picked out of the garbage and she she loved the taste. She had no idea where it came from.

If you are healthy you can get away with quite a bit. Use your nose and common sense.
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  #6  
Old 05-22-2001, 05:24 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Quote:
[i]Originally posted by sailor[i]
If you are healthy you can get away with quite a bit. Use your nose and common sense.
Some people are naturally more resistant to food poisining than others, it's not just a simple question of how healthy you are (although admittedly this plays a significant part)

You also need a lot of luck if you're going to use your nose instead of sensible food hygiene; under the right(wrong) conditions, the bacteria that cause food poisining can often reach dangerous levels a long time before the food starts to smell bad.

I'm a healthy person but I've had very bad food poisoning from pre-prepared food at parties that smelled and tasted perfectly OK.
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  #7  
Old 05-22-2001, 06:13 AM
Holly Holly is offline
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Moe:
Quote:
Do you think that the chicken, if bad, would contaminate the rice?
Yes, and the rice would contaminate the chicken, too.

Quote:
It was there when I got there but I'll guess they probably cooked it fresh and put it out shortly after at about 8pm and I left with it about 12.
Ugh! Too long! And if it was warm during this time (not hot enough to keep the germs at bay, but just warm) you've got a germ factory there.

sailor:
Quote:
I am in good health and will eat anything my nose tells me is OK (an even sometimes it tells me it isn't). I have *never* gotten sick from bad food and only once from bad water.
Contaminated food doesn't have to smell 'funny' to make you sick. How do you know you've never been sick from bad food? Even if you haven't, most people are not so lucky.

Quote:
If you are healthy you can get away with quite a bit. Use your nose and common sense.
Being healthy helps, but it doesn't make you safe. I've always been healthy, yet I've had several major cases of food poisoning (one which almost killed me last fall); in all cases the food looked and smelled fresh. I can give you some links to show that healthy people do sometimes die from food-borne illness and that healthy people do become sick surprisingly often from food. Also, using common sense will tell you that your nose cannot detect microbes and that it doesn't make sense to eat food that likely contains deadly levels of bacteria.
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  #8  
Old 05-22-2001, 08:32 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Let's face it, there are people who will say that you can eat food out of the bin and survive, but the people who ate from the bin and unfortunately didn't survive don't get the chance to relate their negative experiences.
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  #9  
Old 05-22-2001, 03:53 PM
sailor sailor is offline
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Having been eating sloppily all my life I have probably built a resistance to this. Probably people with such stringent higienic habits as you people would die on the spot if you ate what I eat. On the other hand, if humans were all like you, the human race would never have survived.

Some years ago a bunch of friends had a barbacue party by a lake and we had some small sail boats. On a whim, with a friend, we decided to take one of the boats and sail up the lake and just rough it for a few days. We took a ton of cooked meat which was left over and some soft drinks...

A couple of days later the situation was not so enticing. Quite lost up somewhere, nothing to eat but meat which by now smelled *very* bad... I ate it anyway. Hunger is a powerful force. The fourth day we came across some campers and they could not believe what they saw. They fed us some good breakfast and gave us enough food for us to make it back. Now I try to plan my adventures a bit better.
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  #10  
Old 05-22-2001, 04:55 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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I'd agree with what sailor is implying, that we have taken hygiene too far - just about anything you can buy is now available impregnated with antibacterial chemicals.

But let's not get mixed up here; yes, the modern obsession with hygiene may well be responsible for many of our ills - Asthma is now thought to be caused by the immune system turning on the body itself out of the equivalent of boredom (no regular small doses of benign bacteria to keep it busy), however, small doses of salmonella, clostridium or campylobacter will just make most people ill, time after time - most people can't develop resistance to them (I think this is because they infect the gut, which makes it hard for the body's immune system to get at them), so avoidance is the best option.

I'd also agree that the human race has been made generally stronger by people sloppy eating over the millenia, but I mean that in a darwinian sense.

It should also be noted that our nose is indeed designed to discern whether food is safe to eat, but nature knows nothing about refrigeration. In an animal carcass left in the open air, odour would be a reliable guide as to whether it's safe to eat, but now that we store food in the fridge, we create an enviroment where the harmful bacteria might be able to grow at a faster rate than those that cause the bad smell, so it's no longer a reliable indicator.
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  #11  
Old 05-22-2001, 11:05 PM
tsunamisurfer tsunamisurfer is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by sailor
I am in good health and will eat anything my nose tells me is OK (an even sometimes it tells me it isn't).

A healthy person can tolerate a fair amount of bad stuff but food handling rules are for worst cases: people who are weak or sick. I have never followed them so I should be dead many times over.

When I had housemates they would throw away so much good food that I used to eat regularly stuff I got out of the garbage can.

I still remember one day I offered my girlfriend a yoghurt I picked out of the garbage and she she loved the taste. She had no idea where it came from.

If you are healthy you can get away with quite a bit. Use your nose and common sense.
This gets my vote for "Post of the Year." Barbaric, vulgar, frightening, yet somehow uplifting in its embodiment of the indomitable human spirit. Bravo, Sailor--well done, lad!
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  #12  
Old 05-23-2001, 02:31 AM
Zenster Zenster is offline
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I personally would not freeze the chicken at this point. It is already dehydrated and getting on a bit as well. To preserve this for another couple of days eating, bone out the chicken off of all of the pieces and bring it to full temperature in some stock, mushroom soup, curry, or green enchilada sauce. Preferrably something with enough spice to mask the [i]mature[i] nature of the bird.
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  #13  
Old 05-23-2001, 02:55 AM
Redboss Redboss is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Moe
Well, it seems I will likely have to, reluctantly, toss it. [snip]
...but it's just a shame to have to throw out so much food.
[/B]
No no no dear Moe. Your head is in the wrong place. Having worked frequently in restaurants since I was a teenager has helped me feel very comfortable with throwing away food. It's not that bad.

Restaurants throw away food so they don't give food poisoning to all their customers. Every person who works in a restaurant had a mother who used to say "don't waste your food" but they all managed to defy the parental ghost-voice. You can too!

I work at a centre that often provides food at meetings. Volunteers who do the catering cannot bear to see their leftover food thrown out.

"Oh, let's keep it" they say "someone might have it for lunch tomorrow." I no longer bother to argue. I used to let them carefully wrap the stuff in plastic, then find that nobody ate it for lunch, and finally throw it out about four days later, when it was really disgusting.

Now I just wait till they've gone home and then I chuck it! Nobody goes hungry I assure you, and food hygiene is SO important.

Here in Australia, the Health department has now forbidden restaurants to wrap up food to take home. Good thing.

If economical eating is important to you I suggest you look at this very interesting, almost mouth-watering thread



Redboss
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  #14  
Old 05-23-2001, 08:36 AM
Holly Holly is offline
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sailor:
Quote:
Having been eating sloppily all my life I have probably built a resistance to this. Probably people with such stringent higienic habits as you people would die on the spot if you ate what I eat. On the other hand, if humans were all like you, the human race would never have survived.
This is valid, up to a point. However, food production and processing methods have changed. For most of human evolution, people ate food that they caught, found, raised, or grew in their own locality. Now, when you eat a hamburger, you're eating meat that was shipped from far away; that one hamburger may contain the meat from a dozen different animals. Those cattle were probably fed high doses of antibiotics, making them more resistant to the bacteria they carried. Hopefully, their feed wasn't contaminated with the remains of other cattle; I doubt even sailor could resist a nice case of BSE.

We now have such charming little germs as E.coli O157:H7.

Eggs now contain Salmonella because chicken ovaries are infected with the bacteria. One of childhood's greatest joys used to be licking the bowl and spoon when mom made a cake. Now, it's a very bad idea to let a child do this. Raw cookie dough is out of the question, too. ~sigh~

Interestingly, allergies are virtually unknown in those parts of the world where parasitic worm infestations are rampant. (Not coincidentally, the part of the immune system that goes haywire and causes allergies is the same part that fights parasitic worms.) Maybe all of us should contract a good case of hookworms to improve our immune systems. sailor, you go first.

sailor, it's great that you're so resistant to food-borne illness. Just don't feed the stuff you eat to your girlfriend. Her immune system may not be as studly as yours.
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  #15  
Old 05-23-2001, 07:49 PM
Moe Moe is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Redboss
Quote:
Originally posted by Moe
Well, it seems I will likely have to, reluctantly, toss it. [snip]
...but it's just a shame to have to throw out so much food.
No no no dear Moe. Your head is in the wrong place. Having worked frequently in restaurants since I was a teenager has helped me feel very comfortable with throwing away food. It's not that bad.

[/B]
I just yesterday watched a very inspirational speech given by Stephen King to the graduating class of Vasser college on tv. He concludes his speech by talking about international charity including some stats: (somewhat paraphrased)"The average leftovers that are thrown out after a Thanksgiving dinner for 8 would feed an entire village in (a malnurished African country, I forgot which one} for a week". (my bolding)

It is a shame to throw out so much food. I'm sorry you are desensitized to it.


I have indeed tossed out the whole thing, though not without helping myself to a decent 4.5 day old portion first (keeping fingers crossed and cheering on sailor's logic).
But I'm glad this discussion has come up because I've always wondered to what degree coddling our immune system actually weakens us, especially being someone with allergies and asthma all my life.

Thanks for all the input guys and gals.
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  #16  
Old 05-23-2001, 07:55 PM
Moe Moe is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Redboss
Quote:
Originally posted by Moe
Well, it seems I will likely have to, reluctantly, toss it. [snip]
...but it's just a shame to have to throw out so much food.
No no no dear Moe. Your head is in the wrong place. Having worked frequently in restaurants since I was a teenager has helped me feel very comfortable with throwing away food. It's not that bad.

[/B]
I just yesterday watched a very inspirational speech given by Stephen King to the graduating class of Vasser college on tv. He concludes his speech by talking about international charity including some stats: (somewhat paraphrased)"The average leftovers that are thrown out after a Thanksgiving dinner for 8 would feed an entire village in (a malnurished African country, I forgot which one} for a week". (my bolding)

It is a shame to throw out so much food. I'm sorry you are desensitized to it.


I have indeed tossed out the whole thing, though not without helping myself to a decent 4.5 day old portion first (keeping fingers crossed and cheering on sailor's logic).
But I'm glad this discussion has come up because I've always wondered to what degree coddling our immune system actually weakens us, especially being someone with allergies and asthma all my life.

Thanks for all the input guys and gals.
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  #17  
Old 05-24-2001, 01:07 AM
pluto pluto is offline
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I'm curious why no one has pointed out that the chicken will, in fact, actually stay in the fridge until you take it out. If it's walking around on its own you've got bigger problems than a little food poisoning.
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