Once I saw this on The Today Show, I knew I’d have to share it here:
Now, I don’t remember everything from my time working in a restaurant, but the [not-so-funny] thing about this is cooking your meats only kills the bacteria that speeds up the rotting process, no? It doesn’t necessarily kill the bacteria that could grow within the product and make you ill.
This is another reason why trying to eat locally (and support restaurants that purchase their ingredients locally) – minimal transfer and transporting time. There’s nothing more traumatizing than hearing “they do it on purpose – running the refrigerator costs more fuel.”
The fact that the second day of investigations yielded NO law-breakers lets us know that they are capable of abiding by the rules… they’re just not.
So what can you do?
- You can start with trying to support your local farms via CSAs (community supported agriculture) and farmers’ markets.
- You can follow up with visiting well-kept grocery stores that support local agriculture – that way, even if they are, for some strange and foolish reason, still only importing food without refrigerating it, it won’t have had to travel two thousand miles to get there.
- Support mostly restaurants that make it a point to talk about how they get their produce from local sources.
- And, lastly, cut down on the amount of out-of-season fruits and veggies you consume. Please don’t think your avocados in December are being home-grown in Snowville, USA. It’s just not financially wise nor is it sensible.
This is one of the most informative blogs on food I have read. Seriously, I never thought food traveling from one place to another. But it makes sense now why my strawberries go ‘bad’ two days (or even a day sometimes) after I buy them. I also read your older post about buying food in/out of season. I’m SO glad you posted a list of what produce is good to buy for certain seasons. I am a more educated shopper now and seeing that one fruit/veggie is in season may also help us to keep variety in our lives and try new things. #excited!
I saw this on the Today show as well and became quite concerned as well. While, I am changing my relationship with food as well as the types of food I consume, I prefer shopping at the local farmer’s market in my area. It’s a bit of a drive, but well worth it. I’ve also started buy what is about to go out of season, like certain fruits–and freezing them myself. Raspberries and blueberries were on sale at the grocery store, I just brought them home, bagged them and put them in the freezer for smoothies. It’s so much easier that way. I’ve also done the same with certain veggies, so sometimes it’s worth it to go an extra mile.
Thank you! This is horrifying.
I worked as a restaurant manager in two kitchens, one in the state listed and one in Texas. We were nuts about food safety. All those scary things you hear about happening in restaurants? Didn’t happen in ours, and I can’t personally take credit for that. My cooks would freak out if I made my own lunch without gloves. We walked around with thermometers twice a shift, and always glanced at the cooler thermometers.
I *still* cook several foods with gloves on at home because some habits just can’t be broken, and my fridge at home has a thermometer in it. I go green around the gills when I’m shopping in the grocery store and see a 50 degree cooler with milk for sale, and I’ve definitely touched gallons that feel tepid.
I don’t think we took the temp of the food coming off the truck. We never thought to! I didn’t unload the trucks, so perhaps the kitchen manager and our dedicated prep cooks checked the temp on the truck, but it’s not something I had an awareness of, and that’s very unusual for a food safety issue. I suspect it’s under a lot of restaurant manager radars . . . which, as I said, is very unusual in any of the places I worked. A food safety issue can easily end the restaurant and your career. Making the decision between a $40 tub of butter that got left out vs several jobs, bad press, and healthy customers? Easy decision! I suspect restaurant managers that catch wind of this will start unloading with thermometers in hand. It’s the best we can do, since we can’t track the temp until it gets to us.
Wow! This post made me think about the freshness of my favorites restaurents :\ I’m a bit scared at the moment. Do everybody take good decisions concerning food? I don’t think so…
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