Sanitation

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by carbonator, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. carbonator

    carbonator

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    Hey guys,

    Normally when cooking, I try to keep a sanitary environment - why shouldn't I, right? I haven't really ever studied food sanitation, so I don't have any theoretical foundation to know what may constitute a danger, so I tend to just play it safe. So, the other day a friend of mine cut up a couple of pieces of fruit (kiwis, oranges etc.) with a serrated knife on a plastic cutting board normally used for raw meat and poultry (dishwasher cleaned). When done, he just barely washed the knife under cold water (<2 sec. splash under the running water) so to just wash off the fruit solids on there. When pointing out what I thought was casual sanitary behavior (not in any supercilious way) I got an earful like I was insane for making a big deal out of it.

    So, can the situation described constitute a risk in the home kitchen, or is it perfectly safe to cut fruit vegetables on a (otherwise clean) raw meat cutting board and not clean a knife after usage in the manner described?

    BTW. I've had arguments before with this guy about tasting sauces multiple times with the same spoon. What's the expert opinion on this one? I mean, I don't want to risk a cold due to his laziness of not getting another spoon.

    Thanks guys.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2011
  2. chefedb

    chefedb

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    In a commercial food service establishment we or I carry disposable plastic spoons and have them on the soup and sauce station.

    As far as the board  I subject mine to bleach or sanitizing solution and rinse after anything I cut . I have different colored boards for each catagory, Meat,Fish,Dairy,Produce,Poultry.I was my hands after every different task.for mine and the patrons sake. Keep in mind a home kitchen is only subject to common sence laws .Commercial kitchen are subject to city, state and sometime federal regulation.. Make a long story short You are correct not your friend.
     
  3. granny smith

    granny smith

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    Dishwasher detergent contains bleach, so the board is sanitized everytime you wash it. I don't see a problem there.

    I DO have a problem with not washing the knife thoroughly, though. Any residue left on the knife could decay. I wouldn't want to eat at your friend's house.

    As for tasting a sauce or something, I keep a spoon on the counter and drip some of the sauce onto the spoon from the stirring spoon, so it isn't dipped into the sauce.
     
  4. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    In my Cafe we have a color code for cutting boards.

    Yellow Cutting board........Chicken/ all poultry

    Red Cutting board..........  Raw meats

    Green Cutting board....... .Raw Vegetables

    White Cutting board .......  Sandwich's

    Your right about being concerned, when we clean our boards we use a bleach water solution to sanitize the board and then send it through the dishwasher................ChefBillyB
     
  5. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    When it comes to sanitation we all fall on a spectrum.  There's no end to how far you can go with being sanitary and often it's possible to get carried away, as well as it is possible to not clean enough.

    In a general sense I would say it is not appropriate to use that board for cutting fruit, and that when a knife gets used it should always be cleaned with warm soap and water afterwards.  That's the basic rule in my house. 

    However, if the board was clean, the risk of contamination is very small.

    And also, if the fruit being cut was indeed citrus which has antibacterial properties in itself then rinsing off the knife shouldn't be a big issue either.

    It does become a problem though if you only rinse off the knife when cutting other things.  My knife that chopped raw sausage gets a different kind of cleaning than the knife I used to cut up my salad.  Both involve water and soap but the knife that cut raw meat gets more.... stern concentration from me lol.
     
  6. carbonator

    carbonator

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    Thank you very much guys. Thanks for the suggestions as well!

    Koukouvagia,

    I've not seen it happen with other items. I did suspect that an acid environment might not present the best circumstances for bacterial growth, but I'm pretty sure that was not a consideration.
     
  7. siduri

    siduri

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    I'm afraid I fall in the other end of the spectrum. Most of you apparently would not eat in my house!

    My mother was a germ freak and made life miserable for everyone. NOt only couldn't  I  take a lick of someone's ice cream but i couldn;t even touch anything that had not been directly in contact with anything but was on the same dish because germs "crawl" across the dish - so if my brother touched something on his dish with his fork, i couldn't take another thing from his dish because it was all "contaminated".  (Being in the same house and touching the same doorknobs would give me the same germs anyway unless i washed my hands every time i touched something or walked around like a surgeon with my hands up in front of me!)

    Result, my brother, who was 6 yrs older and subject to a far more rigid sterilization policy, (if any kid played with his toy, it was put to sterilize! and he was not allowed to crawl except in the playpen!).   When he started school at 6, naturally he got every disease in the book, including pneumonia, and was out for half of the first grade.  My kids were hardly ever sick compared to others. They crawled on the floor, put their hands in their mouths, and i wasn;t washing them or the floor every ten minutes.  And never, ever, sterilized something they put in their mouth.  (The whole thing of sterilization was introduced because of bottle feeding and the MILK goes bad easily if the container isn;t sterile.  It's not the contact with the germs that hurt the baby but drinking the milk that has been sitting, warm, in a non sterile container.) 

    If i taste something that's cooking, it's cooking for heaven's sake, and the heat will kill anything i can give it. 

    I'm not in a public kitchen.  I'm home,.  No police are coming to check. 

    A knife that cuts bread, a piece of fruit, a piece of carrot, or something that's not full of either grease or any contaminants that water won;t wash off is clean with water (soap doesn't remove bits of stuff attached, but rubbing does).  If you were doing an experiment with a petri dish and making cultures of bacteria that would be a different thing.  And maybe you can feel it's gross, which is a psychological thing, and fine, but it's not going to contaminate anything. 

    A board that's been in the dishwasher, i consider clean for all home purposes.  It would never occur to me to use bleach on it or to scrub it any further. 

    Nobody's ever refused to eat in my house, and i don;t have a dining room, i do all my stuff in the same room as the guests are. 

    If someone uses a glass and just rinses it, that's a different story, though again, in the same household, i have no problem with drinking out of someone else's glass, since we are exposed a hundred times over to each other's germs from doorknobs, telephone, computer keyboards, surfaces, etc. 

    What comes in touch with saliva should be washed with detergent, but what comes in touch with a (presumably washed) piece of fruit or vegetable?  Do you wash your fruit with soap?  do you (as was indicated in another thread) wash your salad with soap??!!  
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2011
  8. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Carbonator, could you clear up one thing? When your friend rinsed the knife after cutting fruit, was that before going on to the next task? Or before plutting up the knife for good? That's a significant difference, and one you weren't clear about.
     
  9. carbonator

    carbonator

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    He used the knife, cutting the fruits, rinsed it briefly, then put it back into the shelf.
     
  10. sparkie

    sparkie

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    First off, it sounds like you're in your house here. Your friend should abide to what ever level sanition you are comfortable with. If you where @ his house, although technically correct, you would be slighlty outta line.

    2) I'm only gonna address how I feel about sanitation @ home. At work, I don't mess around & use the highest levels I can reasonably uphold. You never know how strong someones immune system is. It's not a risk I'm willing to take.

    Risk is what this is really about. I lick my fingers, kiss my wife, drink from the same glass as my children.... I have no problem if anyone double dips. We share germs in so many ways w/o giving it a second thought. I just listen to siduri, I couldn't agree more. The important thing is to understand the risks & go with what your comfortable with. Better safe than sorry. Citrus is acidic enough to sanitize, a plastic cuttingboard is clean & sanitary after the dishwasher, I don't care what it was used for previously. Now you should re-read Koukou's post.

    My advice to you... don't let your friendsfriend cook @ your house. You fall on a part of the spectrum that most do not understand. And kudos to you for knowing! But it would be unfair to expect others to be on the same level. Alternately, you could research the risks more thoroughly so that you can be comfortable compromising. Maybe even educate a lil.
     
  11. dc sunshine

    dc sunshine

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    I think I have a foot in each camp here - and I also have not been educated professionally regarding sanitation as such.

    If a board and knife has been used for meat either raw or cooked in this house, it gets washed in hot water and detergent.  I use bleach on them once a week, they go into the dishwasher every night.

    Double dipping for tasting when cooking, yep it happens, but I'm not working in a professional environment where there are rules and regulations and liabilities.  I also kiss my family at least once a day :) and will rinse out a used glass to save on dishwashing.  They all get in there at least once a day.  The glasses, not my family.  I am a bit of a handwashing maniac, and all of us seem to be (touch wood) pretty hale and healthy with my practices here.

    It's a bit different when we have guests, I won't double dip in case they don't have the same immunities we've developed over the years.

    But I don't think there are many more Typhoid Mary's out there.
     
  12. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Slightly OT, Sunshine, but do I understand correctly? You put your knives in the dishwasher?

    He used the knife, cutting the fruits, rinsed it briefly, then put it back into the shelf.

    Thanks for the clarification, Carbonator. To put it as succinctly as possible: You are right. Your friend is wrong.
     
  13. carbonator

    carbonator

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    We're roommates, so technically it's ours to share ;)

    Just a follow-up; yesterday he was cooking up some chicken and he actually sneezed over the pan - he didn't try not to or at least turn away his head or put his hand over his mouth. Again, in his mind I was crazy when I told him I wasn't going to to eat that. Anybody looking for a new roommate? ;) The weird thing is that this guy is really anal about dust and stuff. Oh well...
     
  14. siduri

    siduri

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    Well, dust causes allergies in the allergic, but sneezing drops are more dangerous on a hand that then touches a doorknob than on something that is cooking - germs are being killed even as they are falling into the hot oil and chicken.  I think the question is more one of disgust than of actual danger.  Disgust is understandable - we're all disgusted at different things, usually at what otehrs we grew up with were disgusted at.  But for sure this is going to be a challenging roommate situation.  Either you BOTH adapt a little or you will end up really hating each other. 
     
  15. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I once had a roomate that was "seemingly clean" meaning her room was always tidy, and she constantly washed dishes.  But I doubt she ever washed her towels or bed sheets and I always rewashed the dishes because for as much time she took to wash them they always had bits of food stuck on them.  Some people don't care much about these things.  I agree with Siduri it's a case of disgust vs. real danger but if I see something I don't want to see there's no way I'm putting that food in my mouth.

    But sneezing?  Come on.  They even have commercials now about how to sneeze properly (into the crook of your arm.)  If your roomate doesn't understand something so widely accepted and understood then I would be real careful around him whenever he prepares food.
     
     
  16. deacon

    deacon

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    This is slightly off topic but still coincides with it. Today I walked into work and EVERYTHING was a freaking mess! From the expo window to the floor where you could plainly see it hasn't been swept or squeegeed. Dish was a disaster and the garbage and linen can were overflowing. The 3-sink, well, I could tell right away that the wash, rinse and sani water haven't been changed for a very long time (you know it's dirty when you can see the grease line on the sides of the sink in the sanitizing sink). I was mortified, especially since the Exec and the other sous have been there all day. So in order to get my shift off to the right path, I started with the linen, told the food runner to sweep in front of expo and dish and then I started taking trash out. I changed three cans one at a time so noone could throw more trash on the floor. Despite all of that, after each trash can I dumped and relined, I washed my hands and this idiot of a dishwasher (the same one that hasn't changed the waters) turned to me and asked, "I watched you wash your hands between every can you dumped, why?" I said to him, as i was washing my hands for the 4th time in 5 minutes, "obsessive compulsive, a condition that could help you" he looked at me in a confused manner so I let him know that if he was more aware of sanitation, he shouldn't have that greasy line along the sides of his sani sink and advised him to change his waters before he washes one more item. I'm hiring his replacement this week. 
     
  17. pcieluck

    pcieluck

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    So basically you believe that after cutting up some fruit, which are items safely eaten raw and kept out at room temperature, the knife was contaminated. You're absolutely right.  I used to work in a deli that did all of it's vegetable prep for sandwiches and salads on the deli slices. After which, they were THOROUGHLY cleaned because I was taught I was more likely to cross contaminate from the vegetables to the precooked meat, than vice versa.  I don't know the truth in that, but I've cut up many the fruit or vegetable that had or evidence of past pests living inside the vegetable. Lettuce especially. Can't tell you how many moths i've found in heads of romaine...gross...
     
  18. siduri

    siduri

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    One thing is a piece of washed fruit, anotehr is a head of romaine!  And what are rules for a deli, which are given generically so there can be no confusion, (as in, ALL utensils touching raw or cooked food, vegetable or meat, must be thoroughly cleaned) is very different from a home kitchen.  I can't see what possible "contamination"  you have on the knife that cut a raw washed apple and was rinsed in running water - you might have some microscopic apple particles, which will dry, and be like dried apple, not contaminated and not "dangerous".  You probably won't have anything if the knife is not serrated and it was rinsed with a good jet of water.  Just tell me, what specific "contaminants" will there be on that knife?  That is, what contaminants that would not just be floating in the air?  Put a petri dish in your kitchen for a day, and then see what grows.  Probably about the same as  would grow if you cut into the agaragar with your rinsed knife. 

    Romaine, that's another story - lettuce has snails crawling on it, leaving droppings that can contain tapeworm eggs.  There, you're talking danger.  I don't let my lettuce contaminate anything else.  But if it's been washed enough for me to eat it (usually three times in abundant water and lifted out, sometimes with a prior rinse under running water, leaf by leaf, if it's particularly dirty) then it's washed enough for my knife to then use to cut an onion or a carrot. 

    Let's get real and stick to the kitchen of a house and not a public kitchen with lots of un-informed people working in it (dishwashers don;t go to school to learn dishwashing chemistry or biology) and where general rules make sense (never leave a knife unwashed) because you can't count on someone without the knowledge which items are safe and which not - you wash everything well and with hot water and detergent.  (But i'm curious, do they rinse in a sink?  don't you rinse under running water?  that, for me, would be pretty gross.)  (I guess we all have our own grossness index). 
     
  19. sarah k

    sarah k

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    I've just read this whole thred and to me, i agree that a home kitchen is a home kitchen and a commercial kitchen is a commerical kitchen.

    If you are sharng a house with someone that has questionable food handling sanitation then address the matter, if the person does not agree then you explain to them in the most calmest manner that you will no longer place any food items that have been prepared by them until they inform themselves on the proper procedure.


    Your health, your index and your... well right i guess.


    As for me, i don't eat meat so it's not an issue at home. But all vegies and fruits are washed before preparation by all members of the household as both hubby and myself are in the industry and my sister in-law is a clean freak. But as for dust and other household matters, we are alil more relaxed as time and energy does not allow us to be so ridged.


    So as mny others have said, it's a personal thing and everyone has the right to there opinion...  
     
  20. chefedb

    chefedb

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    One of the biggest no no;s I see in home kitchens is the kitchen towl. People including my wife will wash or rinse something off then dry it with the towl. This spreads a lot of things around. Best way is drain or air dry.