|Re: common kitchen food prep safety||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: cynthia . e . carpenter (cynthia.e.carpenterus.arthurandersen.com)|
|Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 16:22:13 -0700 (MST)|
I laughed when I got the digest today because I forwarded one of the first messages in this thread to our Cambridge Cohousing email list and we've now got parallel discussions going, with almost all the same themes! I believe that it is really worth the effort to follow safe food prep guidelines in coho communities. I cooked at a summer camp many years ago and found that the actual techniques were simple to follow once you knew and understood them. Because we're a community, we can educate each other at meetings and while cooking without a lot of difficulty. And because we are a community, think about what the effects of even a single food poisoning event would be. How long would it be before the community regained trust in common meals and the cooks at that meal? If someone became seriously ill or even (g-d forbid) died, would the community ever recover? We put child protection devices in outlets in the common house, signs up in the parking garage about watching for cars, and smoke detectors and fire alarms... I think preventing food poisoning is worth a similar effort. While the statistical risk of food poisoning may seem low, in our community (and I think most others) we are feeding some of the most vulnerable demographic groups, people who are most likely to become seriously ill or die from food poisoning: the very young, the elderly and the immune suppressed. We were able to get free food prep safety training from our local Cooperative Extension because our elderly members qualified us for special services. The Coop Extension educator recommended that all dishes be washed in a dishwasher on the hot cycle or be rinsed in a disinfecting solution by immersion for one minute, followed by air drying. She said we can skip the rinse and towel dry pots and pans since they will be heated by cooking. She recommended that all kitchen prep surfaces be cleaned with a disinfecting solution after each meal, and during meal prep after any contact with raw food, especially poultry, meat, eggs, unwashed veggies or fruit and foods to which any member is allergic. The disinfecting solution they recommend for both types of cleaning is 1 tablespoon of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Bleach is indeed a toxic chemical whose use should be minimized, but we haven't turned up any less toxic, equally effective alternatives so far and the net impact of a common meal for 40 some people is usually only about 2 tablespoons of bleach. Other recommendations included color coded cutting boards, as discussed here; using paper towels instead of sponges (they are bacteria breeding grounds); and making sure that all foods are properly heated and re-heated and cooled. She gave us some amazing stats about how long it takes for a large pot of stew to cool if left at room temperature or even refrigerated and told us to divide it up into smaller containers and use cold water baths to cool before refrigerating. One last FYI, I don't have the reference handy, but the Boston Globe ran an article a few months ago warning people *not* to use antibacterial soaps for exactly the reason suspected here - families using them harbored much higher populations of resistant bacteria. - Cindy Cambridge Cohousing *******************Internet Email Confidentiality Footer******************* Privileged/Confidential Information may be contained in this message. If you are not the addressee indicated in this message (or responsible for delivery of the message to such person), you may not copy or deliver this message to anyone. In such case, you should destroy this message and kindly notify the sender by reply email. Please advise immediately if you or your employer do not consent to Internet email for messages of this kind. Opinions, conclusions and other information in this message that do not relate to the official business of my firm shall be understood as neither given nor endorsed by it.
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