What to do when the turkey hits the floor

Long-time friend of the barfblog.com and fellow WKRP groupie, Michéle Samarya-Timm, MA, HO, MCHES, REHS (right, exactly as shown) of the Somerset County Department of Health — Jersey represent – has once again contributed her Thanksgiving thoughts, which are shared below. Michele is one of the thousands of front-line public health folks who do a great – and largely thankless —  job in spite of frequent silliness from political overseers.

micheleFood. It’s the focal point of any celebratory gathering – birthdays, barbecues, parties, holidays — and often necessitates a fair amount of activity before the culminating moment of actual eating.  No doubt about it, planning, purchasing, preparing and serving a family feast takes a copious amount of physical and emotional energy when striving to assure a picture-perfect event for all.   In the hierarchy of meaningful meals, Thanksgiving may just be the poster-child of a culinary Everest.  It’s a family event that memories are made of…especially when things go wrong.

Picture this:  you are preparing a beautiful 20-pound bird, in hopeful anticipation of a Norman-Rockwell moment, where everyone around the Thanksgiving table will “oooh” and “ahhh” at your culinary prowess – when suddenly, and in slow motion, the turkey falls to the kitchen floor and masterfully executes an Olympic-style slide across the linoleum in a smearing trail of poultry juices.  You stand there, a witness to the carnage, in a speechless (or expletive-driven) moment of WTF…followed by the OMG rush of “what do I do now?”

How one addresses such a surreal moment and its potentially disastrous aftermath (your in-laws are in the next room after all), is reasonably predicated on your Martha-Stewart-like creativity or knee-jerk responsiveness. Turkey disasters are such common and comic occurrences that kitchen fiascos have been fodder for Thanksgiving themed sitcoms throughout the past few decades.   If you find need for a little humor these days, turn to classic TV,  to digest the Thanksgiving food-handling practices in such shows as Mad About You, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Friends.

However, in the real world, how does one handle a turkey-hit-the-floor occurrence?

If the turkey is raw, wash off any crumbs, pet hair, or visible dirt that the moist skin has picked up Continue with fully cooking the turkey, and verify safe cooking using a probe food thermometer. As oft quoted by food safety expert Larry Pong, even poop cooked to 165 degrees F is safe to eat!  Follow up by judiciously washing and sanitizing the sink and any surrounding areas that might be contaminated by wash spray.

If cooked turkey hits the floor – well, that’s another story.   The widely cited 5-second rule is an old-wives tale.  The USDA’s Consumer Advisor “Ask Karen” recommends consumers discard food that falls to the floor or comes in contact with unclean surfaces, and goes on to note that food can be contaminated as soon as it touches the floor or dirty surfaces.  There is no scientific evidence that proves food is safe from bacteria, viruses and parasites if it stays on the floor for less than five seconds.   This has been corroborated by Don Schaffner and the food safety researchers at Rutgers who found the ‘five-second rule’ is a significant oversimplification of what actually happens when bacteria transfers from a surface to food, as bacteria can contaminate instantaneously. Rutgers identified that the amount of moisture present, the type of surface, and how long the food is actually on the floor all contribute to cross-contamination and the potential for foodborne illness.

tdy_tren_fails_151126-nbcnews-ux-1080-600Decisions, decisions.  You could cut away the contaminated section.  You could return the bird to the oven for recooking, an additional germ-killing step, assuring the surfaces contaminated are heated to greater than the safety-threshold of 165 degrees F.  (You can’t over-cook a turkey – that’s what gravy is for!)   You could discard the contaminated food.  Or you could just focus on eating the sides.   Regardless, come clean by advising your guests – food contamination, and food safety should not be kept a secret.

At the crux of it all, in your home, you are the one in charge of deciding if you want to eat or serve dirty food.   Many folks, not understanding the risks, will.   Consider however, those who are very young, very old, or immunocompromised as they are all at higher risk of getting sick.   Do you really wish to chance it?   No one intends to cause Thanksgiving Day food disasters, so be careful in the kitchen, and follow the core steps of Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.   A little fore-thought and care can avoid the worst.

Perhaps the ultimate of all turkey disasters was brought to us in Turkeys Away, a classic episode of WKRP, a 1970’s era sitcom about Cincinnati-based radio station, with an eccentric cast of workers.   The well-meaning, but clueless Station Manager arranges his own Thanksgiving Day promotion, to a disastrously comedic conclusion for everyone — especially the turkeys.  It’s worth a view, its worth the laugh, and may just help foster food-safe Thanksgiving memories for years to come.

As God is my witness, I will cook my turkey to 165F!

Michéle Samarya-Timm is a public health educator with Somerset County (NJ) Department of Health.  She is a champion for handwashing, food safety and getting agencies to communicate food safety in a language everyone can understand.

samaryatimm@gmail.com

Thanksgiving is in the heart, or stomach: Clostridium perfringens outbreak associated with a catered lunch — North Carolina, November 2015

Yesterday, while picking Sorenne up from school I asked several of the attendees at our Thanksgiving feast in the park on Saturday, if there was any intestinal upset.

All clear.

doug-turkey-cater-nov-16I was especially concerned about C. perfringens, what with the prior cooking of the turkeys and the transporting to the park, and the outside temp of90F as we move into summer, but I would have heard by Sunday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that in November 2015, the North Carolina Division of Public Health was notified by the Pitt County Health Department (PCHD) that approximately 40 persons who attended a catered company Thanksgiving lunch the previous day were ill with diarrhea and abdominal pain. The North Carolina Division of Public Health and PCHD worked together to investigate the source of illness and implement control measures.

Within hours of notification, investigators developed and distributed an online survey to all lunch attendees regarding symptoms and foods consumed and initiated a cohort study.

A case of illness was defined as abdominal pain or diarrhea in a lunch attendee with illness onset <24 hours after the event. Risk ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated for all menu items. Among 80 attendees, 58 (73%) completed the survey, including 44 respondents (76%) who reported illnesses meeting the case definition; among these, 41 (93%) reported diarrhea, and 40 (91%) reported abdominal pain. There were no hospitalizations. Symptom onset began a median of 13 hours after lunch (range = 1–22 hours). Risk for illness among persons who ate turkey or stuffing (38 of 44; 86%), which were plated and served together, was significantly higher than risk for illness among those who did not eat turkey or stuffing (six of 14; 43%) (RR = 2.02; 95% CI = 1.09–3.73).

PCHD collected stool specimens from ill persons and samples of leftover food from the company that hosted the lunch. Stool specimens were tested for norovirus and bacterial enteric pathogens at the North Carolina State Laboratory for Public Health. Based on reported symptoms and short interval between the lunch and symptom onset, a toxin was suspected as the cause of the outbreak; therefore, five stool specimens from ill persons and 20 food samples were submitted to CDC for Clostridium perfringens detection.

debbiedownerthanksgiving_postStools were tested for C. perfringens enterotoxin (CPE) using reversed passive latex agglutination. Stool culture and enumeration of C. perfringens colony forming units (CFU) were performed for five samples of foods implicated by the epidemiologic investigation (one stuffing sample and four turkey samples). Because meat is the most common source of C. perfringens outbreaks (1), one ham sample also was analyzed, although consumption of ham was not associated with an increased risk for illness. CPE was detected in all five stool specimens. C. perfringens containing the C. perfringens enterotoxin gene (cpe) was recovered from all five stool specimens and from all four turkey samples; one turkey sample contained >105 CFU/g. C. perfringens was not recovered from samples of other foods. No other pathogens were detected in stool specimens. Collectively, laboratory results met CDC guidelines for confirming C. perfringens as the outbreak source (3).

PCHD environmental health specialists interviewed the caterer about food handling and preparation practices. The North Carolina Food Code requires that all commercial caterers operate in a facility that has been inspected for compliance and permitted by the regulatory authority (4). The caterer had previously maintained a permitted facility, but reported having prepared the lunch food served at this event in an uninspected, residential kitchen. Turkeys were cooked approximately 10 hours before lunch, placed in warming pans, and plated in individual servings. Food was then delivered by automobile, which required multiple trips. After cooking and during transport, food sat either in warming pans or at ambient temperature for up to 8 hours. No temperature monitoring was conducted after cooking.

C. perfringens toxicoinfection (a foodborne illness caused by ingestion of toxin-producing bacteria) is often associated with consumption of meat that has been improperly prepared and handled (1,2). Because diagnostic testing is not widely available, C. perfringens can go undetected as a cause of foodborne illness outbreaks (2,3,5). Diagnostic testing to assist with outbreak source identification is useful to corroborate epidemiologic information, document disease prevalence, and guide prevention recommendations.

Epidemiologic, laboratory, and environmental evidence indicate that this outbreak was caused by consumption of turkey prepared by a commercial caterer operating in an unpermitted kitchen. Inadequate facilities, extended time between turkey preparation and consumption, and failure to monitor and control temperature before and during transport resulted in an anerobic environment conducive to C. perfringens spore germination and growth (6). Prompt local health department response, use of an online survey, and rapid collaboration between local, state, and federal public health agencies were instrumental in identifying the outbreak source quickly and preventing additional cases.

These findings confirm the need for commercial food preparers to adhere to existing food safety regulations (4), including use of permitted facilities and having a certified kitchen manager on staff. Caterers should be aware of the risks associated with improper storage of prepared food for long periods and the importance of temperature monitoring and regulation during food preparation and handling.

2016 Thanksgiving turkey extravaganza combining Canadian, American and whatever it is Australia celebrates in honor of the harvest

Thanksgiving has always been our favorite holiday, a celebration of the feast, but there’s no damn turkeys in Brisbane for Canadian Thanksgiving, and it’s too damn hot to be cooking for American Thanksgiving at the end of November.

history-of-white-people-in-americaThere are also practical considerations.

Whole turkeys have started showing up in Coles and Woolies – the Australian  duopoly — in the past two weeks at about $10/kg; in North America they’re about $2.00/kg, but I may be aging myself.

Five years ago, I specially sourced a whole turkey for Canadian Thanksgiving in early Oct., in Brisbane, and it was about $20/kg. Never again.

Thanksgiving (French: Action de grâce), or Thanksgiving Day (Jour de l’action de grâce) is an annual Canadian holiday, occurring on the second Monday in October, which celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year.

Thanksgiving has been officially celebrated as an annual holiday in Canada since November 6, 1879, when parliament passed a law designating a national day of thanksgiving, although the first Canadian Thanksgiving is thought by some to have occurred on Baffin Island in 1578 while some English dudes were looking for the Northwest Passage.

The first Thanksgiving Day after Canadian Confederation was observed as a civic holiday on April 5, 1872, to celebrate the recovery of the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) from a serious illness.

Bloddy Monarchs.

amy-turkey-citrus-16According to wikii, tthe event that Americans commonly call First Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in 1621.[4] This feast lasted three days, and—as accounted by attendee Edward Winslow[5]—it was attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims.[6]

On Sat. Nov. 19 – it was the best date to fit around hockey schedules while accommodating the Canadian feast and the 6-week American orgy of food and shopping that begins this coming Thurs – we gathered 40 of our Australian friends at a local park on the river, and had a feast.

The two 10kg turkeys were purchased on Tues., Nov.15.

They sat on the counter for 12 hours and then 3-4 days in the fridge.

Amy made butter tarts, a carrot salad and a citrus-based turkey the day before.

Saturday, I was on the ice at 6.am. and then came home (sore) to make my bird, a traditional Alton-Brown-based variety (I like his science).

I took Amy to the park at 11ish a.m., to stake out BBQ and table space. (Brisbane has fabulous parks, especially along the river, because they have a 500-year-flood every 50 years, so parks better than houses. These parks have the best bathrooms, sanitation and free BBQs than in any other city I’ve been in.)

By our 1 p.m. start time, I had two turkeys, a gluten-free and a regular dressing (because it wasn’t inside the bird), and the best gravy I’ve ever made.

When I delivered to the park, people had started assembling, kids were running around, the river breezes were cool as Brisbane moves into summer,

dpturkey-16As I had written to our guests in the invite, “Think of it as a giant pot-luck, but you better practice decent food safety – no raw egg dishes, including homemade mayo, aioli or sauces – or your dish is consigned to the bin and covered in bleach (because that’s how health inspectors roll).

“The deal is, we’ve invited a bunch of people, and we’ll do it at Tennyson Park so the kids can run around.

Amy and I along with the capable assistance of chef Alex will bring the tip-sensitive digital thermometer-verified safe turkey (and gravy, you can’t overcook a turkey, that’s what the gravy’s for). Two kinds of stuffing – one gluten-free, one regular, which will be cooked outside of the bird (food safety 101).

thanksgiving-nov-16I mangled the turkey Amy cooked Friday night, and once I had started carving into the one I cooked Saturday a.m., a hockey parent who knows his why around a bird kindly asked, ”Would you like me to take over?

“Yes.”

The other families bring something: rolls, mashed potatoes, salad, cooked carrots, green beans, apple pie, beverages, cutlery, whatever, as long as it is microbiologically safe. And wash your damn hands before everyone gets hepatitis A (we’re vaccinated, the rest are on your own; for a pre-meal vindication, I can explain how hep A is spread amongst humans).

Oh, and I’ve got a face for radio and a voice for print. But it was fun.

However, in the videobelow,  I was trying to say, “You may know me because I coach your kid in hockey,” not “hit your kid in hockey.

Editing.

We are thankful to have so many and great friends in Brisbane.

Turkey holidaymakers hit with extreme vomiting at five-star resort leaving 11-week-old baby in hospital and man with kidney failure

Dozens of horrified holidaymakers have fallen seriously ill with a vomiting virus – that sounds more like Shiga toxin producing E. coli — after visiting a five-star holiday resort – including an 11-week old baby suffering severe dehydration and a man being hospitalised with kidney failure.

Overview

Overview

Over the past week The Sun has been inundated with calls from guests staying at the Liberty Lykia Hotel in Turkey throughout October claiming to have been affected by an “epidemic” sweeping the resort.

They’ve reported adults, kids and even babies projectile vomiting along pathways, in the swimming pool and in bushes – as well as many being unable to even leave their rooms after having been gripped by the sickness and diarrhoea bug.

Throughout October guests have been falling ill – but say staff at the hotel, and from Thomas Cook, have done nothing to stop it spreading and continue to deny there is a problem.

One guest, who arrived with another family on October 21 but have asked to remain anonymous, said her stepdaughter was “projectile vomiting” and suffering from diarrhoea within hours of getting to Turkey.

Within a few days four out of their group of six had been struck down with the bug.

The mum and others claim they were told they had to fork out 50 Euros to see the hotel doctor, or 100 Euros for the medic to visit them in their room.

She said: “They checked her pulse and said it was double what it should be and to call an ambulance for her straight away.

“They didn’t ask if we had insurance or an E111 or anything they just told us to bring our passports

“At the hospital they ran tests and put her on a drip, said she had a blood infection or something like gastroenteritis.

According to Thomas Cook it is “standard procedure” for customers to pay for a doctor’s visit and to claim the cost back through travel insurance.

Several families report having at least one family member being taken to hospital, while video footage shows young children being transported away by ambulance.

32,000 hospitalized over contaminated water in Turkey

The number of people hospitalized due to contaminated water in the Elbistan district of the Mediterranean province of Kahramanmaraş has risen from 5,000 to some 32,000, while a group of officials announced a norovirus infection in caisson wells within the water supply network from Ceyhan River was the cause of the contamination. 

norovirus-2“We needed to find what the microorganism causing diarrhea was and the source of it. In light of the samples we took from the patients, we determined that what caused their diarrhea was a norovirus, which means bacteria and viruses together,” Health Ministry Health Services Department General Manager İrfan Şencan told journalists at a press briefing on Aug. 29, adding it can spread very easily.

“It’s a type of virus that can cause stomach ache, nausea, vomiting, fever and diarrhea. It can spread very easily and affects a lot of people. I need to stress that in addition to the infection occurring through drinking water directly, one can be infected through several other ways including kissing, washing hands, preparing meals, shaking hands and so on,” he added. 

Şencan noted there was no issue concerning the chemical quality of the water.

 

Losing my religion: Turkish family celebrating food poisoning survival gets sick again

Nathan Francis of The Inquisitr writes that a Turkish family decided to hold a dinner party for 20 guests this week to celebrate recovering from food poisoning, but were stricken again.

animal.sacrificeA report from the Turkish province of Tekirdag claimed that the family’s matriarch, Asiye Erdal, decided to sacrifice an animal to show gratitude to God for the entire family recovering from the earlier illness. But after serving the animal to the guests, all 20 of them fell ill with food poisoning again and ended up in the hospital, the U.K.’s Independent reported.

The family had just returned from spending an entire week in the hospital after a meal prepared by Asiye Erdal, the report indicated. The meal this week was supposed to be a celebration for the family successfully getting through the illness.

Alattin Erdal, Asiye’s husband, said he couldn’t believe that the family would be struck twice in such a short time.

“We don’t get it. First we were poisoned and then sacrificed an animal for God as a sign of gratitude for gaining our health back. Then we were poisoned once again, as well as the neighbors. May God save us from the worst,” he told Anadolu. “Food poisoning became our nightmare.”

Turkey skin is the deliciousness part – and a Salmonella source

Turkey skin is used as a source of fat in finished ground turkey products. Salmonella-contaminated skin may potentially disseminate this pathogen to ground turkey. The objective of this study was to determine and compare Salmonella levels (presence and numbers) associated with the skin of turkey parts (i.e., drumstick, thigh, and wing).

turkey.tom.bradyOver a 10-month period, 20 turkey flocks expected to be highly contaminated with Salmonella based on boot-sock testing data of turkey houses were sampled. A total of 300 samples per type of turkey part were collected post-chill and were tested for Salmonella using the most-probable-number (MPN) and enrichment methods.

Overall, Salmonella was detected in 13.7, 19.7, and 25.0% of drumstick skin, thigh skin, and wing skin samples, respectively. Salmonella prevalence from wing skin was significantly higher (P < 0.05) than in drumstick skin, but the difference was not significant (P > 0.05) when compared with thigh skin. Salmonella was 2.4 times more likely to be present from thigh skin (odds ratio = 2.4; P < 0.05) when the pathogen was found from wing skin. Salmonella mean numbers from drumstick, thigh, and wing were 1.18, 1.29, and 1.45 log MPN per sample, respectively; these values were not significantly different (P > 0.05).

Based on our findings, the high prevalence of Salmonella associated with the skin of turkey parts could be a potential source for ground turkey contamination.

Salmonella levels associated with skin of turkey parts

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 5, May 2016, pp. 696-889, pp. 801-805(5)

Peng, Ye; Deng, Xiang Y.; Harrison, Mark A.; Alali, Walid Q.

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/iafp/jfp/2016/00000079/00000005/art00015

Food porn shot of the day: roasted turkey breast

Not being a huge fan of deli meat, I like to make my own sandwich-ready roasted turkey. About once a week I roast a boneless turkey breast (to 165F) with some wine, salt, sage and onions (below, exactly as shown).

According to the NZ Herald, I don’t fit the typical male Kiwi profile, where only 32 per cent of men cook, and are more likely to use semi-prepared foods.IMG_0397

Turkey’s are sorta boring: Re-create Christmas a 12-day drunken festival in centuries past

It’s a line I use frequently, from our Christmas movie tradition, Mystery, Alaska, or second fave, Trailer Park Boys Christmas:

historic-xmas-7_custom-c9322f035d60b76c3ab1fcedd928a3512b503b99-s1600-c85The only fun things to do in cold weather are fornicate and play hockey.

If you are eating turkey this Christmas out of some sense of tradition, food historian Ivan Day says, put down that drumstick. After studying English cookbooks hundreds of years old, Day says the giant bird isn’t even that traditional. Besides, he says, “It’s a dry wasteland of flavorless meat.”

Sure, the first turkey came to England in the 1600s. It was an exotic “treat” from the New World. But a time traveler from Shakespeare’s time wouldn’t understand why everyone in the modern world was having the same dull bird on Christmas night.

At his farmhouse in northern England, Day collects old cookbooks and food illustrations. He says in olden days, Christmas celebrations were all about novelty and variety. The tables of the rich might include a turkey and a goose, but also peacocks, swans, partridges and plovers. A rack of venison would sit beside a giant turtle. The eating would go on for days.

Christmas used to be a 12-day drunken festival. Imagine Mardi Gras with snow. Cooks were always trying to top one another in outrageousness, from the traditional presentation of the boar’s head to the array of sickeningly sweet puddings. Day shows me a 19th-century illustration of a pie that took a crowd of servants to carry. It was filled with boned geese, woodcocks, hares and any other game they had around.

“This was the original turducken,” he says.

Ivan Day will be having beef roasted in front of an open fire for Christmas, and he says you really should stop and appreciate how Christmas must have felt to people, say, 400 years ago. They might have gone months eating the same thing every day, bacon and bread. The Christmas meal, with its exotic fruits and endless variety, must have felt like a miracle. “It was a moment of sunshine in a dreary year of grayness,” he says.

Say it ain’t so: Irish follow Brits on bad turkey advice

Safefood Ireland asks: Want to know the cooking time for your turkey to ensure the best (and safest) results?

turkey.calculator.dec.15This year it’s quick and simple. Just enter the weight of your turkey in the calculator, and it will calculate the correct cooking time to ensure your turkey is cooked to perfection.

Our calculated turkey cooking times are for use in electric fan assisted ovens only. See below for guidance on cooking turkeys using other oven types.

I’ll spare you the convoluted details.

Whoever thought a calculator with all the variables such as oven temp, time, etc. was simpler than sticking it in has probably never cooked a turkey. With a tip-sensitive digital thermometer.

CurtisStoneAnd of course, the piping-hot-no-pink mantra: “As with cooking any poultry, always double check that the turkey is properly cooked before serving. Your turkey should be piping hot all the way through with no pink meat left and the juices should run clear when the thickest part of the thigh and breast are pierced with a clean fork or skewer.”

Curtis Stone from Coles in Australia gets it sorta right when he says, “Baste the turkey and continue roasting uncovered for about 1 hour longer, basting occasionally with more spice butter, or until a meat thermometer reads 75°C when inserted deep into the breast. If you don’t have a thermometer, insert a clean skewer into the thickest part of the thigh and if the juices run clear the turkey is ready.”

Just stick it in. Three times.

We’re having fish.

barfblog.Stick It In