Lunch meat safety

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by pastachef, Mar 8, 2002.

  1. pastachef

    pastachef

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    I'd like to again ask about the safety of lunch meats and deli sliced turkey. I say that turkey is good for three to five days in the fridge. But what about the prepackaged turkey and chicken? Does it last longer because it is treated with preservatives? I noticed that the stale date is often a month after purchase.
     
  2. suzanne

    suzanne

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    If you have pretty fast turnover, you probably don't have to worry. But, alas, there are so many preservatives added to processed cold cuts... As always, keep what you need out in the smallest possible quantities; keep EVERYTHING out of the danger zone as much as possible; ROTATE CAREFULLY; track everything you use. And, of course, once stuff starts looking sort of greenish, chuck it!
     
  3. pastachef

    pastachef

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    This is my situation - I cook for a sorority house and have been there for 11 years. The girls prefer deli sliced turkey breast, and rarely eat anything else. When I slice it, I put it in closed containers in the refrigerator. In order to make sure that it is safe through the weekend, I cut it up on wednesday or thursday. If I can't do that, I thaw out precut packaged turkey and ham. I am wondering if the lunch meat with the preservatives is safer and lasts longer. I've never seen a green piece:) I've never kept it that long. I've noticed that when the packaged kind is thawed, it feels sticky. The girls are cautious about its freshness. I thaw it only under refrigeration, so I know its safe. Food poisoning terrifies me. Nobody has ever had i since I've been working there, but I got it from the cook before me. On turkey breast, of all thngs. I am also wondering how long a plastic wrapped turkey breast, (original wrapping) lasts in the refrigerator before it is opened. If I don't get time to slice it on a particular day, (within a time fame of three - five days, I am afraid to use it. I am concerned aout waste as well as answering the girls questions.
     
  4. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Pastachef,

    I had the same problem as you before. What I did was to portion the turkey in 3oz packages so they wouldn't get their hands on every darn piece of turkey and leave the package open in the fridge all weekend. Also I gave up buying bottles of ketchup and mayo and just got PC's.

    They also say they only eat lo-fat stuff, but put out a tray of cookies at night and see how fast they disappear :) And tell me, how much skim milk do you go through each week?

    Kuan
     
  5. pastachef

    pastachef

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    I go through two cases of cookies along with several cases of other types of junk food every week. The rid me of fifteen gallons of milk a week:) It used to be skim only, but now its 2%. This new group of girls actually eat everything! The only thing they balk a little about is the turkey. I've had the low fat groups who count the fat grams of food and drink beer all nght. Do you work in a sorority house, Kuan?
     
  6. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Not anymore, but I used to work in a sorority house, KKG. It lasted a whole year. It can be one of the easiest jobs but also one of the toughest. My girls only counted fat grams when I was there, when I wasn't there, it was all about cookies and ice cream. Ours was a non-alcohol house so they had to go elsewhere if they wanted to get drunk, and you could tell every Saturday and Sunday morning too! :)

    Kuan
     
  7. pastachef

    pastachef

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    Hi Kuan, How come you left after a year? I got hooked on the kids and stayed. I probably wouldn't have had the 'mothering' attitude if I were younger though. Ours is a no alcohol house too. Unless I'm cooking with it. They do go out to bars and parties. What state was your sorority in? I'm in Maryland at KAO. It's sure nice to meet someone who knows what it's like:)
     
  8. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    KKG=Kappa Kappa Gucci :)

    Actually I really liked the job. The hours were great and the girls really appreciated real food. Problem was it didn't quite fit my career path, that's all. Other than that it was a great place to work. I was at the University of Illinois, typical college town, kinda nice midsized small town.

    Kuan
     
  9. pastachef

    pastachef

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    Kuan, did you have cleaning help in the kitchen? And did you have to cook for a bunch of special events? How about Rush? That's an incredible time, isn't it?:) I'm always looking for a short cut or a better way of doing things.
     
  10. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes I had help cleaning the kitchen and dining room. The girls didn't even have to bus their own tables at that house. They don't do it at home so why should they do it there right? :) I hired some Evans scholars, but I didn't pay them in dollars I did it in food, which was quite a good deal because they had to show proof that they worked.

    Rush was a not too bad because all they really needed was snacks and stuff. The tough times are when they have initiation or pledge night and you can't be in the house but still have to figure out some way to make lunch for them.

    I actually made more work for myself because I really liked them, and they liked me (I think). I even cut out my bread supplier and made all the bread myself. Sometimes if I needed time off I would bargain with my friend Rob across the way at the Sammies so he'd make lunch/dinner today and I'd make lunch/dinner for his guys the next day.

    Mom's day/Dad's day was a big brunch. I did some kinda nice things for the girls like carved Turkey and Roast Beef, Shrimp cocktail, that kind of stuff. :)

    Kuan
     
  11. pastachef

    pastachef

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    It sounds pretty much the same, Kuan. Except that I don't have any cleaning help for the kitchen or dining room. Didn't you have to do food for Peference and for the times other houses were invited to dinner? How big was your sororiy? Things never seem to be the same. Every year they find more occasions to have big dinners. I often complain that my stove is too small.
     
  12. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Our house was 60 girls, and yep, I forget about the times when the "boys" come over :) You didn't have cleaning help for the kitchen and dining room? Goodness! I hope your girls bus their own dishes, how about the dishes? I hope your girls do dishes too, at least a little?

    I only had a four burner stove, tiny, but I also had a steam kettle, a steamer, and best of all, double stack convention ovens. One good thing about a sorority is you always know that one of your dishes is going to be pasta, whether it's day or night, they always eat pasta. So you make pasta only every other day. Actually all of the girls pretty much ate the same thing. There was always a salad bar day and night, the food was always lo-fat, and if they didn't like any of that there was always 14 differerent kinds of cereal, plus Turkey in the fridge! :)

    Kuan
     
  13. pastachef

    pastachef

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    No, I don't have any help. The girls don't help with anything, but they do avoid messes. I have a really good group this semester. And after 11 year, I've got the job down pat with time to spare. It's the monday nights with 130 people that are killers. Then the giant food order on tuesday. I have the best sales rep in creation through Sysco. Yes, it sounds like home. Forty kinds of turkey and twenty kinds of chicken:) We DO hire frat boys to clean the dining room at night and put away the food. That's after I go home.
     
  14. marmalady

    marmalady

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    Pastachef, about that 'slick, slimy' feeling on the thawed meats' I've felt that too, and I wonder if it isn't just the preservatives? When I thaw out preservative-free turkey, that feel isn't there.
     
  15. pastachef

    pastachef

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    That's what I think it is too. It's definitely not on the fresh turkey. I am wondering if the turkey that is treated with the preservatives isn't safer than the fresh turkey. :confused:
     
  16. marmalady

    marmalady

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    Pasta - Define 'safe'----------

    A) Do you want to get sick from food poisoning, barf a few days, maybe need some antibiotics?

    B) Do you want to find out 10-20-30 years down the road that all those wonderful preservatives/hormones/antibiotics fed to the lil' turkeys are eating your liver?

    It's a no-brainer for me!
     
  17. pastachef

    pastachef

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    What I worry about is keeping it too long or throwing it away too soon. But now that you've posted it, I now know why they so often turn away from the prepackaged kind. They must be learning this in school. I haven't read it anywhere. I've only read about nitrates in hot dogs and bacon - which they're asking for. I would say that it is my job to make sure they don't get food poisoning.
     
  18. marmalady

    marmalady

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    Pasta - just reread your first post re the question - why are you cutting it up on Wednesday or Thursday for the weekend? Scheduling/time constraints? If I sliced fresh turkey on Wednesday, I couldn't guarantee how it would be by Sunday. But if you could cut it on Friday, with proper fridge and packaging, it should be fine through the weekend. That way, you could use preservative free turkey, and the girls won't throw it away because it's 'slimy' -eeeuuuuw! (is that the sound the girls make?:D )
     
  19. pastachef

    pastachef

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    This new group would eat it no matter. The reason I cut it up on wednesday is that on Mondays, I have to do the food for 130 people, clean the kitchen and dining room and equipment from the weekend, set the tables, etc. On tuesdays I have the huge food order to put away. I don't get time to cut it up until wednesday. It seems that all of the cooks there do it this way. Because I have always heard it is good for five days, I've always gone by that. My boss doesn't trust turkey unless it has just been cut up that day. A visiting chef told me that it was good for up to TEN days. I can't believe that,and yet the housekeeper argues with me that it is good longer than five days. From monday until wednesday I use prepackaged turkey. But I've had so many opinions that I'm getting more confused. Even the maintenance man teases me about my common sense attitude about germs in my kitchen. This guy would, (and has) gone outside and jumped up and down in the dumpsters to make more room for trash, and then come into the kitchen to put his hands inside the ice machine without washing them. That's why I'm asking the pros here about the turkey. One day I came in to find the salad bar unplugged and the food at room temperature, including the turkey breast that I sliced the afternoon before. God knows how long it had been this way. The housekeeper fussed because I threw it out! Not that it's any of HER business. So I'm looking for Some kind of safety gauge, since you can't smell or taste food poisoning.