Is food borne illness a made up American/ Western idea?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by hookedcook, Jan 25, 2018.

  1. hookedcook

    hookedcook Banned

    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    43
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    I'm starting to question this? First off, I would never intently put my guests in harms way. This question is from experience living, working, and traveling around the world for the last 13 years. Most of my work and life is spent in places off the beaten path.

    I haven't refrigerated an egg in the last 8 years. Living/traveling in a lot of third world/ developing countries where refrigation is a luxury. I ran a restaurant on a small island in the South pacific and no matter what I tried my reach in was always 60 degrees F. I made due , kept my proteins frozen and tried to balance a time line. I work on yachts now and because of limited refrigation space thaw out everything on a counter overnight on a daily basis. Including the turkeys for Christmas and thanksgiving. Spending time in Asia, Indo, Philippenes, the Caribbean, Central/South America eating anything and everything haven't got sick. I seriously am starting to think you have to royaly f*** something up like leaving chicken out for 2 days baking in the sun to actually make a food borne illness.
     
    Gone A. likes this.
  2. frankie007

    frankie007

    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    26
    Exp:
    professional chef over 20 years
    if there is a chopper hovering over your head it's Health and Safety Executive, they are on to you already......
     
    drirene and Friend_of_Epicurius like this.
  3. hookedcook

    hookedcook Banned

    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    43
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    As for eggs, your reply sounds logical. As for my real life experience of having went through around 50,000 unfridge rated eggs. A lot of them from the US working in the Bahamas and Caribbean and never an issue. I wash my hands and use soap and common sense. Dysentery usually comes from drinking bad water .
    Not joking, was the army feeding you guys that bad that your friends got deathly I'll?
     
  4. chefross

    chefross

    Messages:
    2,670
    Likes Received:
    345
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    I hear that in Canada they pasteurize their milk with a higher heat and this makes it shelf stable for up to a month as opposed to here in the US where it is pasteurized for a shorter time making it perishable.
     
  5. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

    Messages:
    2,068
    Likes Received:
    408
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    I think we need to wonder why Chipotle Mexican Grill has so many problems with their restaurants. CMG uses a Hell of a lot of fresh meats that are marinated and grilled on site. They also use a Hell of a lot of fresh produce. Take all these factors and try to set up sanitation standards for close to 3000 units. Then try to train a staff of minimum wage works that could care less about even being there. Most chain restaurants know you need to take extensive food handling and cooking out of the equation. The more the employee touches any product the more problems you'll have.
    One of the major problems I see in my area are unskilled and untrained cooks/managers and owners being sited by the health dept. I see this happening in more and more ethnic owned restaurants. The lack of food safety knowledge isn't really a high priority. I agree in the USA washing your hands would solve many of the problems. I also agree the water outside the USA is a problem because it's used for not only drinking and washing hands but also for washing produce. I'm a big street food guy. When I'm in any country I always look for the foods coming right off the grill. Cooking food properly will kill anything before it kill me. I avoid anything thats fresh and has to be washed.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
  6. chefwriter

    chefwriter

    Messages:
    1,785
    Likes Received:
    351
    Exp:
    Professional Cook
    Is food borne illness a Western idea? No, it's an illness, not dependent on artificial government borders.
    Otherwise it's a complicated answer.
    Some cultures take it more in stride as inevitable, others take it more seriously as a preventable condition. Every culture has their own ways of dealing with/preventing it.
    Here in the US we tend to overdo it with sell by and use by dates, over packaging and various other artificial limitations that people follow mindlessly, ending up in a tremendous waste of otherwise good food.
    While food safety programs intended to educate the foodservice workforce such as Serv Safe are a good way of implementing general safe food practices to protect the public, many of the regulations enforced by US government agencies like the local Health Department are arbitrary and legislative boondoggles, with little to do with actual food safety.
    From my limited knowledge of other cultures I'll say that part of the answer for them is the acknowledgement that food spoils and a better general awareness of when it's spoiled. And the use of food preservations techniques like salting, fermenting and the like that are a bigger part of the daily food supply. Then there is the nearness and availability of foods relative to the general population, availability or lack of transportation for getting food supplies over long distances, availability or lack of infrastructure of things like refrigeration, long term storage and even cooking options.
    Many factors influence the outbreak of food borne illness. Then too there is the reporting of it. Here in the US a food illness outbreak is considered a big news event. It may be that it happens more or less often in other places, but may not make the daily paper with the same emphasis.
     
    sgsvirgil likes this.
  7. It'sGoat

    It'sGoat

    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    7
    Exp:
    Sous Chef, line cook, prep monkey.
    I'd like to add that how we raise animals has a big effect as well.
    For instance our chickens are largely kept cramped together and In massive numbers, which is heaven for disease growth and transmission. I use pictures of large chicken operations to show my J1 employees why salmonella is such a huge danger and why raw poultry should be handled with the upmost care and attention. They usually tell me that in their country you'd handle raw chicken like any other meat or produce, and that cross-contamination isn't even a concern. I imagine this is because their birds are likely kept in yard areas with plenty of open space and not cramped together like sardines they way they are here.
     
    pete likes this.
  8. hookedcook

    hookedcook Banned

    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    43
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    I'm still not sure. Chipolete f****d up at a mass produced factory probably trying to save a buck or two from their cororate acountants who have never woorked a real day in a real restaurant and shipped contaminated meat to lots of stores. It had to be someone who didn't dot their i's and cross their t's. Someone said it here before, its not rocket surgery
     
  9. capecodchef

    capecodchef

    Messages:
    267
    Likes Received:
    39
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    Yeah....as long as we wash off the bloody fish in toilet water, everything should be okay.
     
    hookedcook likes this.
  10. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,721
    Likes Received:
    327
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    I guess your query can be answered by looking at databases of foodborne illnesses in Southeast Asia. This for example quote from this website:

    http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/...-estimates-of-foodborne-disease/#.WmpExKinG70

    "The WHO South-East Asia region has the second-highest burden of foodborne diseases per population. In terms of absolute numbers, though, more people living in the region fall ill and die from foodborne diseases every year than in any other WHO Region, with more than 150 million cases and 175 000 deaths a year."

    Unless this is inaccurate, very inaccurate, I would say foodborne illness is prevalent throught the world.
     
    phaedrus likes this.
  11. hookedcook

    hookedcook Banned

    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    43
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Thinking about this more? What proceti coating
    What database? An article off the internet? Spent years over there, if the article is right everyone would be on the toilet all day every day. Granted the bathrooms are horrible and you carry a roll of toilet paper on you just like carry a wallet.
     
  12. hookedcook

    hookedcook Banned

    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    43
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    That's really good info and do appreciate it. Real world in the Caribbean went on over 350 eggs last trip.. I would like to have the option to refridgerate eggs. But can't fit them in limited space
     
  13. panini

    panini

    Messages:
    5,165
    Likes Received:
    281
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    Food Borne Illness, is just that. an illness. In reality, only a minute fraction of FBI gets reported. There are different side effects of eating different spoiled foods. Some cultures will incorporate a different food or ingredient into their diets to lessen the side effects. FBIllness does not have to be fatal or something that will effect your entire life.
    Here in the US it's just another media news piece. Like TV. When your watching a national program, the show itself is just something to take up time in between advertisements , news, hype, fear, etc.
    I don't concern myself with food freshness at a reputable restaurant as I do when we visit people to eat in their homes.
    I'm a firm believer that a major percentage of food borne illness take place in the home.
    After eating, when you get a belly ache, runs, etc. That's not a normal body function. That's your brain sensors sending shock waves to eliminate the poison.
    I work with people where eliminating 5-9 times a day for lengthy periods of time is normal. That's all they've ever known.
    Disclaimer: not looking for argument or banter, just my personal opinion.
     
    phaedrus likes this.
  14. hookedcook

    hookedcook Banned

    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    43
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Lol, if life was only that easy. I'm on a boat in the Caribbean and its not like pulling up to the local supermarket is an option. I was trying to bribe anybody and everbody where it was virtually impossible to find eggs around Christmas in St. lucia. Walking across horse pastures, literally stoping random people on the road offering 100 usd if they can find me eggs. Spending a month in Cuba, cooking for 10 guests and 8 crew. Finding eggs, milk, cheese was an adventure. And buying potatoes on the black market, like making a drug deal! I have to cook for 8 crew and up to 10 guests when the owners are on board. It doesn't matter time or where I'm at. My job is to feed people
     
    Friend_of_Epicurius likes this.
  15. hookedcook

    hookedcook Banned

    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    43
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    I think your knowledge is way more than mine. I just like to work on boats and chase tan girls around. So something like blue cheese, gorg, ect, dry aged beef for a really long time, if we go to asia fish/squid dried in the sun, fermented anything,phillipines balut,. I agree that its much safer and your toilet routines will be a lot better eating food from someones hands who were educated in any way. Just think the whole us/western europe 40 to 140 and all of the ice wands to chill your food in this amount of time or that amount of time is something made up in my opinion ., is it good to chill food fast, yes, its not rocket surgery
     
  16. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,279
    Likes Received:
    854
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Before I start, let me say that when it comes to the places I work, I follow all the rules and regulations regarding "safe" sanitation practices. That being said, I think we, as a society, have become a little overly paranoid regarding our food. I grew up in a household that never refrigerated our eggs-ate them over easy and never got sick. I still eat leftover pizza, from the night before, that never made it to the fridge and I'm still here. I see people throw out prefectly good milk and eggs, just because they hit the "use by" date. The media is making us afraid of our food. If it doesn't kill you because you screwed up the sanitation issue it's gonna kill you because of the chemicals in it, or it has too much of this, or too much of that, or not enough of that other thing.

    On the other hand, with modern, industrial farming and processing practices we now have products that are less safe then they were many years ago. Years ago, tainted meat didn't get very far. Now if meat is infected with E. coli that infected meat may now, accidentally get ground into thousands of pounds of burger meat instead of 15 pounds, creating larger problems. Eggs used to be much safer than they are now.

    I guess what I am really saying is that it is a complicated issue. Sure, I do believe that we have gotten a little crazy about food handling, but part of that is due to our modern practices that have the capacity of making not just a few people sick, but hundreds, if not thousands.
     
    hookedcook, fatcook, drirene and 2 others like this.
  17. Pat Pat

    Pat Pat

    Messages:
    421
    Likes Received:
    161
    Exp:
    Chef Emeritus
    I believe that people in other undeveloped countries just have more tolerance than Americans/Europeans people.

    I many countries, the street food is dirty as hell. Yet millions of people eat it without getting sick, except for travelers visiting those places.
     
    Gone A. likes this.
  18. Gone A.

    Gone A.

    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    1
    Exp:
    25 years
    I often wonder the same. I wonder if we've become so unhealthy we canyc tolerate a GD thing .my ex grew up practically Amish. He would eat anything in spite of how long it sat out, as long as it didn't smell or look gross. Never sick. IIalso think it's generational. Us older folks remember a time when things weren't so rigid . Of course the excessive food safety regulations in America are primarily to cover your ass legally, and to appease pshychotic suburban women. We all know that stuff we have to throw away has been snatched up by dishwashers and cooks who know damn well it's fine. Our standards are different thantwhat we serve . But sadly there are so many inexperienced cooks out there that I'm actually okay with how strict things are. I always say my last words will be "this shrimp isn't THAT old".