Attitudes on food safety.

Inspired by the fairly common threads here where there are widely different views on food safety guidelines. Some people seems to follow the rules to the letter, others of us are pretty surprised to see what the officials actually say.

One area is how long food are kept refrigerated and when they get thrown out. Or the common “I left it out all day, will it kill me?”

Another side is cooking food to recommended internal temps, Avoiding runny yolks etc.

Personally coming from parents who were depression era, throwing stuff out was not really done. There was an attempt to use left-overs fairly quickly, but if something got lost for a little while it was used by the standard if it has nothing growing on it, and it smells basically like it did when it was new, then go ahead. And burgers were eaten rare, pork was eaten medium(pretty pink, but past the point where it has a tecture like jelly. Chicken and turkey were cooked till done, but because rare chicken is not very good rather than temperaure concerns.And raw or runny eggs abounded.

So where would you say you fit on the scales? I know some people have immune system concerns which changes what they would like to do into what the have to do.


I also should add just cause it’s growing does automatically mean throw it out to me, i.e. If cheese has mold, cut it off and eat the rest.

I’m probably 2 on both.

My attitude with raw depends on what I’m eating. Beef? Eggs? Fish? I’ll eat, and do eat with regularity, all those raw in one way or another. Pork I’ve eaten raw, but don’t make a habit of it (unless you count cured meat that’s just been salted and dried, not cooked or smoked). Chicken I’d really avoid unless I knew it was from a trustworthy source (apparently, there’s chicken sashimi in Japan. I can’t imagine the texture or flavor of raw chicken being appetizing, but who knows.)

I’m pretty paranoid about dealing with raw poultry. There’s an awful lot of salmonella out there. It has to be fully cooked, and I never share cutting boards between chicken and any other food product.

I don’t worry so much about beef or pork. Trichinosis (the reason you used to cook pork to a high temp) is actually pretty much eradicated, and with regard to general bacteria, the USDA officially lowered the required temp in 2011. That said, I’ll eat beef that’s basically raw, but pork doesn’t appeal to me when its really rare.

I put myself as a 3 in the throw it out department. I’ll throw it out LONG before there is visible mold. Usually after a week.

But not NASA, how ridiculous. Why would I go to NASA when the NIST Department of Weights and Measuresis rght there in Reston, VA?

Seriously though, I do cook meat to near desiccation, I think that one should be int he bottom choice. I cook them through the hard and rubber stage and on back to melt-in-your-mouth.

I’m a 2.75 (I clicked 3) /2. I try to consider more of the science than simple hours/degrees. Something with a whole lot of vinegar or other acid I’m more likely to eat past the recommended “toss” date (salsa, pasta sauce), while something with a whole lot of surface area, little or no acidity and lots of yummy simple starch for bacteria gets tossed by the letter of the rule even if it doesn’t smell or look bad (rice, pasta). I will “autoclave” stock, soups, stews and chili (boil it for >10 minutes with a tight lid on) so I can cool it on my porch instead of the fridge. I think the “Food Police” rules are oversimplified, for the average person who doesn’t have the time, training or skill to take this sort of stuff into account. Do I? I’m not entirely sure, but I haven’t had a documented case of foodborne illness come out of my kitchen! :smiley:

Raw chicken is just nasty. My husband tends to roast chicken so that it’s still a little bloody in the joints, which totally grosses me out. If I’m eating without looking, I’ll hit a nasty metallic mooshy point, and look down to find pink chicken juice in my mashed potatoes. EEEEEWWWWWWW! I’m fairly concerned with the salmonella risk, but I’m more grossed out by the taste/texture/appearance.

Pork I’ll do to pink, because the Food Police say that’s okay now, and it stays juicier that way. I don’t notice a lot of taste difference between pink and white, but I do notice a juiciness difference.

Very rare beef is yummy though. I eat burgers just off mooing. While I know I should buy my own steaks, cut off the exterior and grind the interior for safe ground beef…in reality, I don’t care that much. Gives the ol’ GALT a workout.

I lick beaters. 1/20,000 is a risk I’m willing to take for deliciousness.


I follow the same principles in my kitchen. If milk still smells okay and tastes fine after the date on the container, no problem. Same for many, many packaged/processed foods, like salad dressings or marinades. Once they’re open, I’m a little more cautious, because I’m not using sterile instruments in my kitchen and some nasties may have gotten in. Not all illness-causing bugs will be obvious to the naked eye or nose, so I have a “good for a few days” rule for most leftovers and half-used jars of stuff. Containers whose insides never really get touched (ketchup, squeezey mayo, etc) stick around in my fridge a lot longer.

I was having trouble editing to the box max size. I was trying to also give the middle option for people who don’t care about the rules, but end up cooking everything to them coincidentally because that’s how they like it.

I’m a twoish on both, though it varies from food to food. I should also note, though, that most meats I do cook thoroughly, because I prefer them that way (well-cooked meat is more tender than raw or rare, and the people who say otherwise either don’t know better, or have a really peculiar definition of “tender”).

2, 3. It might’ve been 2, 2 if you didn’t use the word “deuce” in conjunction with my food :(. Plus 2 alludes to eggs, 3 = cookie dough and pancake batter. I made my choice.

Ah, we now have “well-done” snobbery.

There are certain cuts and grades of meat that come out more tender marinaded and cooked longer. There are certain cuts and grades that are more tender cooked rarer. There is no objective way that you can tell me that a choice-grade-and-up tenderloin is “more tender” than a well-done one. That’s just not possible. It’s fine if you think it is. It’s fine if you like it this way. Hell, I’ll cook it for you this way and I’m not going to give you a shitty piece of meat just because you want it well done. I won’t even turn my nose up at you or make any snide remarks about your tastes. That’s how my mom eats it, and she gets the same meat I eat. I mean, do you think all the great chefs and rare eaters of steak are fooling themselves and lying to you in some weird sort of conspiracy by saying that rare meat is juicier and more tender? Does that really sound likely? Or, more likely, your definition of “tender” is the odd one out (or, even more likely, you’ve just had shitty steak served to you.) I eat a lot of raw to medium rare steak. And I eat a lot of medium-well to well done meat. Free steak is free steak; I’m not going to refuse one just because it’s well done. It’s not like I don’t have plenty of experience eating both.

The last time I got into a discussion about this, I pointed out that I’ve had well-done steaks that I could cut with the side of my fork, and which almost fell apart from pronging it, and that I’d never seen any rare piece of meat do the same. One of the posters on the rare side of the debate said "Well, yeah, sure, but that’s not what I mean by “tender”.

Or maybe I’ve just had actually good steak served to me. I’ve seen quotes from famous restaurant chefs that when a customer orders “well done”, they deliberately serve them the absolute worst cut of meat in the house, that they wouldn’t give to a dog. When chefs do things like that, is it any wonder that people come to the conclusion that well done is tough?

Also, mind you that I’m not trying to be snobbish about this. You get a significantly different flavor from rare meat than from done, and if you prefer that flavor, and value it over the tenderness of done, then go right ahead, eat it that way. Heck, you might even prefer the texture of rare meat to done, no problem. Just don’t lie to yourself that it’s more tender that way.

As far as I’m concerned the only things that you should ever need a thermometer for is for stuff like a whole turkey or roast or something of that sort, or if it’s something like some kinds of candy where you have to get it right to a certain exact temp or the whole thing just won’t come out right. I am so sick of food labels now always putting those stupid disclaimers on telling you to check the temperature of everything. NO! I don’t wanna! And I’m still alive so I clearly don’t need to.

What would the motive be to lie about such a thing? That makes no sense.

But I do think we have different definitions of tender. To me, it’s the amount of resistance a piece of meat offers when chewed. A good-quality raw steak, let’s say filet–I’m not even going to cook it, is like butter. It practically melts in your mouth when you chew it. When I eat it well done (as I have many, many times in my life), there is resistance to it. It’s still soft, but it’s not the buttery texture of a raw steak.

Meat tightens up as it cooks and gets “less tender.” That’s a simple fact. That’s how you traditionally test doneness. You poke the meat with your finger. Is it soft? Then it’s rare. Is it firm? Then it’s well done. In between lie the other various levels of doneness.
That’s objective. (And I’m talking steaks here. Slow cooked meats like short ribs that are braised for hours are another story.)

Your description of a well-done steak that was fork-tender to me sounds more like the description of long, slow-cooked meat (that is well done) than steak.

But I really don’t understand you. Do you really think we’re lying to you and ourselves about rare meat and its tenderness? Like I said, what would be the point? There’s no “cool points” to be won for liking rare vs well-done steak, nor is “more tender” or “less tender” objectively better. When it comes to ribs, for instance, I don’t like “fall-of-the-bone” tenderness. I want chew to them. Fall-off-the-bone ribs are for people without teeth.

And, since this is the SDMB, here’s some science on it:

Or here:

I mean, come on, Chronos. It looks like there’s even objective methodologies to evaluate such things. Who is lying to whom? Find me one source that says well done steak is more tender than lower levels of doneness.

ETA: Actually, here’s something even more relavant

There isn’t? Since when? Damnit, now I need to find another way to get cool points.

Make your chili without beans. Extra “cool points” for leaving out the tomatoes. “King of cool” for nixing the onions, too. :wink:

I’m not picky (or I’m a heathen, depending on POV.) I’ve left food out too long to thaw, I still cook it and eat it. If I drop something on the floor, I pick it up and eat it. If it doesn’t smell bad, it probably isn’t. That’s not a guarantee, mind, but Homo Sapiens didn’t get where it is by sanitizing every single fucking thing it encountered.

the first time I tried to make sauerbraten, I used an eye of round roast. I could cut it with the side of a fork, but that was because it was so dry and crumbly that no sane person would want to eat it. look, when people talk about “tender” cuts of meat, they generally mean one of a couple of things. 1) cuts like tenderloin/filet mignon which are minimally worked muscles and don’t have the opportunity to become tough and are best cooked rare, or 2) cuts like brisket or pork butt which have a lot of connective tissue which converts to slippery gelatin when cooked for hours at low temperatures.

Yeah. I’m not bringing a food thermometer to work so I can be sure I’m heating up my Penne Marinara Lean Cuisine to the recommended temperature in the break room microwave. That’s a little insane.

Poor guy. Eye of round is just evil stuff. There is only one way I’ve found to cook it to make it palatable. Here. It’s just a pain in the ass.: it’s one of these cuts that doesn’t work very well rare (except in the CI recipe above, but even then I don’t really think it’s worth bothering with) and doesn’t work very well as a pot roast, as it’s too lean and doesn’t have enough connective tissue. I’d suggest top round for sauerbraten (as far as round roasts go.)