P-Food-Safety-art - 7/19/01
"Pennsic Food Safety" by Andrew MacRobb.
This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.
This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.
The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.
Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).
Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2001 15:11:42 -0700 (PDT)
From: Philippa Alderton <phlip_u at yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Pennsic food
To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org
I've been discussing this thread with Andrew MacRobb, and, since he was a health inspector for many years before he retired, he thought he'd share with you some of the knowledge he's gained about food storage, specificly with Pennsic in mind (He's been to the last 26).
Pennsic Food Safety
by Andrew MacRobb
OK. There are several heat stabilized meat products that are available; in addition to canned meats (note: if it says PERISHIBLE:KEEP REFRIGERATED it is not safe to leave out, canned or not) there are a FEW products made the old fashioned way that actually can be left out of refrigeration. DAK sausages, Smithfield Hams and Turkeys (REAL SMITHFIELD BRAND ONLY!!!) are among these. Look for the fine print; there are three grades of warning:
1. Needs no refrigeration (safe to leave out)
2. Refrigerate After Opening (safe to leave out only as long as the original wrapper is intact)
3. Keep Refrigerated (Not safe to leave out of refrigeration- by the time you can get it to your campsite from the nearest store, it is not safe to eat).
Remember: it may look and taste like a product that was safe to leave out if made the old fashioned way, but most modern products are made by shortcut methods that are not safe to leave out more than an hour. Bringing an ice chest with you when shopping is RECOMENDED.
Cheeses: Whole, intact cheeses in wax (not wedges) are generally safe until cut. Then they should be eaten or placed in the ice chest. There are small individual size cheeses (ie Baby BonBel) that are safe. Most cheese is in the refrigerate after opening category. I know there are cheese clubs that send cryovac packaged wedges of cheese through the mail, apparently without problems, but I wouldn't trust a store wrapped cheese to be safe. Stick with small packages that you can eat at one time and you should be safe.
Eggs: Whole, uncracked eggs are reasonably safe to leave out of refrigeration, but should be kept cool (an evaporative cooler- a box covered with a damp cloth, or reasonable shade) should be sufficient to keep them safe. Cracked or broken eggs should be discarded.
Mayonnaise or similar "salad dressings": Keep in original container and only remove from the jar with CLEAN utensils. Keep lid on jar tight. Need NOT be refrigerated even after opening, but will taste better if they can be kept cool. I know this surprises a lot of people, but these products, by themselves, are not considered as "potentially hazardous foods" because of their low pH, but mix them with other foods and this changes, which is why salads made with these dressings are so hazardous.
Milk and milk products: Check label. There are ultra pasturized milk products that are shelf safe until opened. Small containers that can be finished at one meal are better than gallon size jugs.
Other dangerous foods: Cooked potatoes; raw potatoes can be left out because they contain a heat labile poison (strychnine) that prevents microbial growth. Cooking destroys the poison making them good to eat for both us and the bugs. High protein veggies like beans, lentils, peas etc are "dangerous when wet" and should be handled carefully once rehydrated from the dried state.
Ice Chests: As long as they contain enough ice to keep them cold they are safe for food storage, but this is a twice daily check. Cubes cool quickly but don't last. Blocks take longer to cool but may last 2-3 days or more. Chests stay cool longer if covered with a damp towel (white is best).
Dishwashing: after washing, utensils, pots and pans etc should be allowed to sit fully immersed in a one tablespoon/gallon solution of chlorine bleach for one minute before air drying or drying with disposable paper towels. Cloth towels should NOT be used.
Handwashing: The waterless cleaner in the portacastles is far better than nothing, but cooks should wash their hands in soapy water before cooking. Using a hand sanitizer after washing is also recomended.
Safe handling time: Generally, you have only about one hour of safe handling time for hazardous foods before they may grow enough pathogens to be dangerous. Cooking will not guarantee the food will be safe if mishandled; there are heat stable toxins that are produced by some types of pathogens. Under the primitive conditions at Pennsic, better to throw out most leftovers than try to save them.
Gastroenteritis is no fun at the best of times. Having the runs at Pennsic where the nearest "facility" may be 100 yards or more away is a REAL bummer. I have been there (remember Pennsic XIII?).
Any questions? If so, I can clarify them at:
macrobb at dnaco.net