Thawing Meats Incorrectly

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by maxs, Mar 5, 2017.

  1. maxs

    maxs

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    I have heard of restaurants thawing meats (poultry, lamb legs, etc) at room temperature on the speed rack over night. I know this is wrong (I've taken ServSafe twice). But apparently this practice is very common. How are these restaurants NOT making people sick?

    The only safe thawing methods are in the refrigerator or under cool running water.
     
  2. phaedrus

    phaedrus

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    The practice is hardly common, at least in my experience.  I don't recall seeing it done in the last 25 years of working in restaurant kitchens.  Where are you seeing this done?
     
  3. inabox

    inabox

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    Last time I did my safe food handlers course (canadian) I asked about thawing under warm water. My argument was that if I have an individual portion say a 400 veal cutlet it'll thaw in under to mins of warm water. Then it's getting cooked and served right away.

    The health inspector teaching the course said yes if I waliked in and saw that I wouldn't have a problem. The cold water rulls is there so people don't try and do hole turkeys under hot water because that will make someone sick. 

    So basically he said individual portions under warm water are ok for strive if using right away.

    I only use this as my emergency method. 

    I personly wouldn't leave food overy night. But look at how it is handled in the 3rd world. The locals don't get to much food poisoning.
     
  4. phaedrus

    phaedrus

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    Do you have evidence to back that up?  From what I've heard foodborne illness is just one of many diseases that kills millions in what we condescendingly call the "Third World".  But even if that's true it's not really relevant to food safety in North America.  If you're talking South America or sub-Saharan Africa then they aren't consuming the products of factory farming the way we do in the US and Canada.  A hundred years ago salmonella and e-coli weren't really big issues because we didn't raise animals that spend their entire life cycles living in feces a foot deep or defecating on each other in stacks of little cages.  Cattle in feed lots carry a lot more pathogens than you'd get hunting and eating wild game.  Again, a hundred years ago it was pretty safe to eat raw eggs but that's not remotely the case today.

    Even before the advent of Germ Theory people learned how to preserve and handle food safely.  To be sure people got sick and died from food poisoning but they still do circa 2017 with all of the advances in modern medicine.  We eat pickles, saurkraut and canned food today without thinking much about them but remember those were all invented to preserve food before we had refrigeration.  Same for fermentation, drying and smoking of food staples.
     
  5. butzy

    butzy

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    Quick remark about the 3rd world, specifically for sub saharan africa

    A lot of meat is bought alive, especially goat and chicken. They are slaughtered and cooked almost immediately and eaten.

    Left over food is kept outside fridges and freezers, as not many people in the villages posses them. It is then reheated till steaming hot and eaten the next day.

    Beef is bought from shops or open air markets and is always eaten well done

    This especially applies to the villages.

    In the towns and cities it can be a total different story as a middle class is evolving with all the mod coms (you would be surprised)
     
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  6. hookedcook

    hookedcook Banned

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    Having worked in the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Mexico and Asia things are different.  Yes, I thaw things overnight on a speed rack.  In the morning its thawed out but still cold.  It either gets refridgerated then or is cooked.  And spending years living and traveling in "3rd" world countries you would be surprised how much stupidity or mishandeling of food it takes to actually get people sick.  The USA/ EU has over the top sanitation laws but they have over the top laws on everything.  It is designed for peoples safety so I guess its good.  The last restaurant I ran in the South Pacific was an all Phillipino staff.  It was crazy taking over with absoutly no (western standards) of sanitation.  I literally didn't eat there for the first week I took over throwing out any thing the slight bit shady.  I taught them a lot about sanitation but I also learned the way they have been doing things for hundreds/ thousands of years and surviving.  Long story short is Sanitation is common sense.  Like usual the USA/ Western Culture makes everything sound scary and more dangerous than it actually is. This isn't Kitchen Nightmares or Restaurant Impossible where the chef "IS GOING TO KILL SOMEONE"!!  and we are shutting the restaurant down!!
     
  7. foodpump

    foodpump

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    I remember my time in Singapore in the 90's. Pork was never refrigerated in the open markets, chicken neither, goat and lamb were always frozen and hung invariably, under a naked 100 watt lightbulb. Fish was kept on ice.

    Singapore is by no means a 3rd world country, and has infrastructure and industry that puts most western countries to shame.

    I always faced the challenge of thawing meats there. For some reason no cook in S'pore at that time could get past the mentality of soaking frozen proteins in water. Thawing overnight in a fridge was a foreign concept and generally mistrusted. Municipal water was always p*ss warm, crystal clean, but warm, cold water only exists in your fridge.

    I believe by the early 2000's a law was put in place to ensure all pork was refrigerated at all times.

    No major food borne illness break outs to speak of in the 5 years I was there.

    Just my 2cents, thats all.....
     
  8. phaedrus

    phaedrus

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    Humans have survived for millenia without any health codes but bottom line- if you're operating a business in North America, follow the applicable health codes.  Problem solved, problem stayin' solved!
     
  9. hchaz

    hchaz

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    People get minor food born illness all the time and don't realize it. Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with the sweats and worse? Then you have the people who just ate at a restaurant and state they got sick immediately after eating (wrong). The food codes are set to protect the majority of people. This would include children, elders and others who have a compromised immune system. Have you ever gone to a restaurant and see a cook in the heat of service run into the bathroom and then 30 sec later come out straight back to the kitchen?
    I think some cultures become immune to certain illness also. I had a wife one time....Filipino, they would cook rice and fish in the morning and leave it on the table all day in 80+ deg weather and as family would come by throughout the day, just help themselves.
     
  10. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    Good info here.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017
  11. hank

    hank

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    I have read about ServSafe practices here many times and understand their purpose.  However I often thaw meat on the counter and more often in hot water.  I do this regularly with beef, chicken, pork, and fish.  I know other home cooks who do the same.  Once it's thawed or mostly thawed I either use it or put it in the refrigerator.  How much risk am I taking?
     
  12. hchaz

    hchaz

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    Thawing under hot water, in addition to effecting safety, effects quality of your product. It's most obvious with chicken. Thaw chicken under hot water and it starts turning white...because it's cooking. try this test. Take 2 properly frozen filet mignon, thaw one in the fridge and thaw the second in your hot water. Cook them up and let us know your findings.
     
  13. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Eh...no. Its most obvious with fish and seafood. Run frozen fish in even lukewarm water, and it'll poach.
     
  14. chefonfire

    chefonfire

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    I have good results with portioned vac pack fish cooked sous vide from frozen.
    Leaving meat to thaw room temp overnight? No.
     
  15. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Got a problem with that. People get sick, yeah, and then what?

    They see their doctor. Doctors know food borne illnesses, and if they get similiar complaints, they go to the health insoector. This is the way the system works in N. America and Europe, and I for one kinda like it that way.

    Yeah, and then what? Ye olde healthe inspector does his/het job and investigates, thats what. And 9 times out of 10 traces the illness to the source. And the restaurant in question either gets fined heavily or shut down. And suffers the worst P.R. imaginable and in most cases doesn't survive the ordeal.
     
  16. inabox

    inabox

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    That's how its suposed to work. That's not nessasrey how it works in realy life. I would wager that less the 40% of people will actually go to the doctor for mild food poisoning. 

    Also I would say the health department shouldn't not just shut someone down but they should work with them to teach them what there doing wrong and how to fix it. 
     
  17. foodpump

    foodpump

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    A-yup, thats what virtually all N.American health depts do as well: Offer serv-safe courses. They run them they issue the certificates. Its up to the employer to demand those certificates and boot out the ones who do stupid things.
     
  18. hchaz

    hchaz

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  19. phaedrus

    phaedrus

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    The figures I've seen indicate that 90% of foodborne illnesses are caused by home cooks.  I can't swear for the veracity of that claim but it has the ring of truth.  After all, how many home cooks are ServeSafe certified?  How often is your home kitchen inspected by the Dept of Public Health?  How many home cooks practice FIFO and religiously label, date and rotate food?  I'm guessing that number is pretty low in all cases.  Obviously there's no law saying you need to have training to cook at home but restaurants in North America are pretty highly regulated (the degree of regulation and the quality of the inspectors of course varies).
     
  20. someday

    someday

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    I usually just sit on my food I need to thaw, mother hen style...is that not OK?
     
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