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Ping: Stike

Semolina PilchardSemolina Pilchard Posts: 768
edited 2:13PM in EggHead Forum
Often when the topic is safe temps and time such as the 40 to 140 degrees in less than 4 hours rule, it is said that all we need to be concerned with is the exterior. I understand that is because the bacteria is supposedly only on the exterior. But what about when you put a thermometer probe in it, or use an injector?


  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    One would hope you cleaned these devices before you stuck them in the meat.

    Yes there is a possibility that either of these devices can introduce bacteria, but not enough to be of too much concern.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    you'd have to be a mad jabbing fool to contaminate the meat. is it technically cross contaminated when you jab the thermometer? yes.

    how contaminated?

    if you are injecting a salty brine, good luck to the bacteria. but yes, if you are injecting all over, you should be mindful of the idea that you could be introducing bacteria into the meat.

    but i have to go back to being reasonable about this...
    it was more likely this summer that you'd die of e. coli poisoning from vegetables than it was from meat.

    i maintain that all of the FDA recommendations are correct, but i also maintain they are designed for utterly worst case scenarios.

    here's a thought experiment. cook a roast to 150 internal. leave it on the counter four hours, untouched. why is it bad to eat, but the chocolate cake sitting next to it, made with eggs and milk and all, is ok to eat? both were left out at room temp fir fours hours, both were made from potentially bacteria contaminated products. both were cooked (except maybe the milk in the frosting..), etc. etc. the only reason no one worries about the cake, or the butter on the counter, is that no one has warned you against it with nearly the same hysteria.

    yes, there are differences, and i'm over generalizing. but there are a lot of folks who can't explain why their steak is ok served rare, but their hamburger may not be (even though it is likely the burger is safe too, though LESS likely).

    i'm no expert, but i find the most dire warnings tend to come from folks who say things like "when in doubt, throw it out". there shouldn't be doubt. 'doubt' means you are guessing, and guessing is bad.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Even if the devices were sterile, the point was if there is bacteria on the exterior of the food it will hitch a ride on the probe. I am not really concerned about this, it is simply that when I hear people say only worry about the outside I always wonder about probes and injectors.Thanks for the replies guys.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    it will. but if you aren't rinsing your meat, you should be. i know, i know, it doesn't get rid of it all.

    like i said, a whole lot of things need to go wrong, though.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,521
    Wow Stike. That's some heavy chit. But I like it.

    I always wondered why the 4 hour rule is the same for raw and cooked meat. Say you gots a nice cold chunk of raw meat with tad of ecoli on the surface. just a few squirming around. Not to the point where toxins have built up. Maybe you shoved a few of 'em into the meat with your polder or injector. You cook it. It dies. What is it....137 and that stuff is toast anyways??

    But take that same raw meat and let it sit out for a few hours and the bacteria multiply and create toxins that can't be killed by heat. 4 hours could easily push it over the edge. Not good.

    But now...back to the meat you just cooked where you killed everything. Ding dong, the ecoli is dead. Leave that cooked meat on the counter. Well...there is nothing to grow. The ecoli is dead. The wicked ecoli is dead. You need new bacteria now to make you sick. And 4 hours on the counter aint gonna do it.

    I love this kinda discussion as opposed to throwing away good food ;-)
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  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    it's a good rule because it applies to all things and is easy to remember. there's no way they could issue a slide rule of bacterial rates of growth etc.

    i think i first bonked heads over this issue on the forum when i made the comment that there was no way in hell bacteria knew it had been four hours. i mean... "honey, it's 80 degrees in the kitchen and the meat has been out on the counter". him: "how long?" her: "three hours and 50 minutes" him: "then it's still good". but in ten minutes you'd need to throw it out? let's use our heads, people.... hahaha

    bacteria growth is exponential, and increases with temp. bacteria at 40 degrees replicate very slowly. at 135, they replicate like gangbusters. yet after four hours on the counter, a piece of meat at 40 degrees is just as unsafe as one at 135 degrees ? the answer is 'no', yet the rule says yes.

    there's just no way to capture it all in something easy to remember, and so "four hours between 40 and 140...". exceptionally safe, but also overkill.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    Just dunk the meat in bleach. Problem solved.

    Yea, it's bedtime for me. Eggnog + bourbon = sleepytime.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    i made real egg nog last year. it was a giant punchbowl of flatulence. dairy, eggs, etc. all foaming up in your gut, and you'd drink, like, seven of them. it was (for a guy) awesome.

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    I had to go look this up but I was thinking that the cooling process is actually longer.

    Per USDA you have two hours to get the food from 140 degs. to 70 degs. and from 70 to below 40 in 4 hours for a total of 6 hours.

    Guess this is why we don't kill off more CBJ's hahaha
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