Remember..

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Remember..

Postby ChefCarey » Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:32 am

when we were discussing the various prewashed bagged raw vegetables (lettuce, spinach etc.) and I said *always* wash them? No?

Well, maybe this latest spinach and e.coli outbreak will convince you.
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Re: Remember..

Postby Karen/NoCA » Fri Sep 15, 2006 12:02 pm

I don't have a bag of spinach, but I do have organic spinach in one of thos clear, plastic box like containers. I wonder if that make any difference? CA was not on the list of states given in this mornings paper. I am searching for more info on this. Right now, the facts are rather vague.
I wonder if soaking the spinach in water and rinsing well (I do this to any bagged green) would take care of the E Coli?
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Re: Remember..

Postby ChefCarey » Fri Sep 15, 2006 12:07 pm

Karen/NoCA wrote:I don't have a bag of spinach, but I do have organic spinach in one of thos clear, plastic box like containers. I wonder if that make any difference? CA was not on the list of states given in this mornings paper. I am searching for more info on this. Right now, the facts are rather vague.
I wonder if soaking the spinach in water and rinsing well (I do this to any bagged green) would take care of the E Coli?


Well, I know greens from around Salinas have been implicated in the past.
Studies have indicated that washing the individual leaves (I know this is a pain in the butt, but it might prevent a worse pain later) under cold running water removes most of the e. coli.
Last edited by ChefCarey on Fri Sep 15, 2006 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Remember..

Postby Alan Wolfe » Fri Sep 15, 2006 2:55 pm

Well, I know greens from around Salinas have been implicated in the past.
Studies have indicated that washing the individual leaves (I know this is a pain in the butt, but it might prevent a worse pain later) under cold runnign water removes most of the e. coli.


Chef,

For what its worth, FOX News reported this morning that with this particular e-coli, washing didn't help much. I'm not qualified to say, but until the problem is resolved I'm not eating any raw spinach.

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Re: Remember..

Postby Gary Barlettano » Fri Sep 15, 2006 3:28 pm

ChefCarey wrote:when we were discussing the various prewashed bagged raw vegetables (lettuce, spinach etc.) and I said *always* wash them? No?

Well, maybe this latest spinach and e.coli outbreak will convince you.


I work in the packaging industry and sell the machines which weigh the produce and form, fill and seal the bags in which the produce comes. I've spent a goodly amount of time in Salinas in places like Fresh Express, Tanimura & Antle, River Ranch, Fresh Kist, NewStar and more. They do take great pains to wash (with water and chemically) the produce. Their efforts at sanitation are usually quite extensive. Still, la merde se passe, and despite my respect for their efforts, a little washing doesn't hurt.
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Re: Remember..

Postby Larry Greenly » Fri Sep 15, 2006 6:41 pm

ChefCarey wrote:when we were discussing the various prewashed bagged raw vegetables (lettuce, spinach etc.) and I said *always* wash them? No?

Well, maybe this latest spinach and e.coli outbreak will convince you.


I had a friend who always soaked produce in a weak bleach solution. Waddaya think of that?
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Re: Remember..

Postby Howard » Fri Sep 15, 2006 6:44 pm

Larry,

*gack*
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Re: Remember..

Postby Gary Barlettano » Fri Sep 15, 2006 6:56 pm

Larry Greenly wrote:I had a friend who always soaked produce in a weak bleach solution. Waddaya think of that?


That's not unlike what's done commercially. I understand there are chemical cleansing agents, such as diluted bleach solutions, which do not even cause a product to lose its "organic" status. As long as they don't add Fabreze to the bleach to give it that "fresh from the fields" scent, I shrug and eat.
Last edited by Gary Barlettano on Fri Sep 15, 2006 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Remember..

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Sep 15, 2006 7:24 pm

Larry Greenly wrote:I had a friend who always soaked produce in a weak bleach solution. Waddaya think of that?


In spite of Howard's not-unreasonable response, Larry, it's really not that wacky. As I recall from having had to learn a little about home beer brewing in order to moderate that section on CompuServe back around 1990, brewers sanitize their equipment in a solution of 1 tablespoon Clorox per 1 gallon of water. This is ample to provide anti-bacterial sanitizing, but most people find Clorox at that level undetectible by smell or taste, even though it's significantly higher in proportion than the chlorine in city tap water.

Has to be cold water, by the way. Hot water, somewhat counterintuitively, blows off the chlorine and dramatically <i>reduces</i> the anti-bacterial effect. Or so says Charlie Papazian, brewing guru and author of <i>The Complete Joy of Home Brewing</I>.
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Re: Remember..

Postby Howard » Fri Sep 15, 2006 7:35 pm

Good point Robin. I remember from my beer brewing days that we took care to rinse that stuff carefully before using the equipment. I forgot the details now but it seems to me chlorine isn't all that good for humans to ingest.
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Re: Remember..

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Sep 15, 2006 7:41 pm

Howard wrote:it seems to me chlorine isn't all that good for humans to ingest.


I think moderation is the key here, Howard. People gassed with it in the trenches of the Somme - or the Iran-Iraq war - would certainly agree, if they lived to tell the tale. But at lower levels of concentration, it's in most municipal public-water systems, and a good thing, too, as we rarely see much incidence of typhoid any more.
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Re: Remember..

Postby Gary Barlettano » Fri Sep 15, 2006 7:41 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Larry Greenly wrote:I had a friend who always soaked produce in a weak bleach solution. Waddaya think of that?


In spite of Howard's not-unreasonable response, Larry, it's really not that wacky. As I recall from having had to learn a little about home beer brewing in order to moderate that section on CompuServe back around 1990, brewers sanitize their equipment in a solution of 1 tablespoon Clorox per 1 gallon of water.


Fun facts for those who are interested at this link: Guidelines for the Use of Chlorine Bleach as a Sanitizer in Food Processing Operations.

It's Friday and this is work stuff ... :roll:
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Re: Remember..

Postby Howard » Fri Sep 15, 2006 7:44 pm

Gary,

That's really helpful stuff.
Thanks
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Re: Remember..

Postby Randy Buckner » Fri Sep 15, 2006 7:51 pm

You're exactly right, Alan.

The FDA is warning people not to eat bagged spinach -- believed to be the source of the outbreak -- and to throw it out. "If you wash it, it is not going to get rid of it," said the Center for Food Safety and Nutrition.

A medical flyer emailed to me by State Health said the same thing. This is a serious health hazard, now confirmed in at least 20 states.
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Re: Remember..

Postby Bob Henrick » Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:05 pm

ChefCarey wrote:Studies have indicated that washing the individual leaves (I know this is a pain in the butt, but it might prevent a worse pain later) under cold running water removes most of the e. coli.


One caveat Chef. If the e. coli is systemic in the vegetable rather than just ON the vegetable, washing is not going to do ANY good at all.
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Re: Remember..

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:04 pm

Randy, does steaming spinach kill e coli?

We cook ours on high in the microwave for about two minutes.

Thanks, Bob
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Re: Remember..

Postby Randy Buckner » Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:18 pm

E. coli O157:H7 produce toxins that cause bloody diarrhea or even kidney failure in humans. It is recommended all foods be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees to insure its safety.
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Re: Remember..

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:23 pm

Randy Buckner wrote:It is recommended all foods be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees to insure its safety.


Ruling out rare steak, rare duck breast, sushi, salads and oysters on the half-shell? No thanks!

More seriously, how about dishes that aren't normally cooked, from cheeses to salad ... heating to 160F isn't going to help there.
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Re: Remember..

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:24 pm

Bob Ross wrote:Randy, does steaming spinach kill e coli?

We cook ours on high in the microwave for about two minutes.


That's an awfully long time to cook spinach, Bob ... I'd much rather wash it carefully and then steam it just for a few seconds, until it just wilts.
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Re: Remember..

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:36 pm

It doesn't seem to change the taste, Robin. I've been really surprised, but two mintues tastes the same as a few seconds -- and in fact that funny sulfur taste doesn't appear when I steam longer.

We both love spinach raw with no steaming. But if you're going to steam, a minute or two minutes doesn't seem to make much difference.

I suppose I should add that we steam eight to twelve ounces at a time, even 16 ounces.

It will be very flaccid, I admit, but the taste is great and you can spread it out over other vegetables, or just fluff it up a little, and it tastes great. The juice is good too.
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Re: Remember..

Postby Randy Buckner » Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:37 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Ruling out rare steak, rare duck breast, sushi, salads and oysters on the half-shell? No thanks!

More seriously, how about dishes that aren't normally cooked, from cheeses to salad ... heating to 160F isn't going to help there.


Roll the dice; take your risks. I don't really think about it myself -- I just polished off a medium-rare steak with green peppercorn sauce tonight along with a garden salad.

Bob wanted an answer as to killing the bug -- I regurgitated the FDA and CDC recommendations.
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Re: Remember..

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:40 pm

Thanks, Randy. I'll check my finishing temps. As I mentioned to Robin, if you are going to steam spinach, it will taste ok cooked for a minute or two. Once the early bloom is gone, it's all the same -- and luckily we both like it raw or well cooked.

Thanks. I'll check the temps and the taste and mouth feel and see what we think. I would hate to give up such a useful vegetable.
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Re: Remember..

Postby ChefCarey » Sat Sep 16, 2006 12:00 am

Gary Barlettano wrote:
Robin Garr wrote:
Larry Greenly wrote:I had a friend who always soaked produce in a weak bleach solution. Waddaya think of that?


In spite of Howard's not-unreasonable response, Larry, it's really not that wacky. As I recall from having had to learn a little about home beer brewing in order to moderate that section on CompuServe back around 1990, brewers sanitize their equipment in a solution of 1 tablespoon Clorox per 1 gallon of water.


Fun facts for those who are interested at this link: Guidelines for the Use of Chlorine Bleach as a Sanitizer in Food Processing Operations.

It's Friday and this is work stuff ... :roll:


Guess I haven't mentioned this here before. Several times per day, every day, we sanitize our work surfaces where we've had raw food with a 10% bleach (I don't quote brand names) solution. Been doing this from time immemrorial. The chlorine evaporated quickly and we just need to wait a few minutes to use the surface again.
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Re: Remember..

Postby Bob Ross » Sat Sep 16, 2006 12:05 am

Chef, how about sending me an email with a brand name. They suggested one at CIA during Boot Camp but I can't find it here and the disinfectants here usually have alcohol. I'm not sure that's very effective.

I use it several times during prep -- after every new ingredient for example, but not so good in big areas like cutting boards or counter tops.

email: robcurtross@hotmail.com

Many thanks, Bob
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