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Listeria - who knew?

 
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Mats
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PostPosted: Wed 27 Aug, 2008 8:40 am    Post subject: Listeria - who knew? Reply with quote

Eating processed meats usually involves deciding whether to put mustard or mayo on your sarni. It all works well with impartial government agencies inspecting the products before they reach market. This all breaks down when government decides to transfer the inspection to the producer. This has taken place here in Canada, where the federal government handed over the bulk of inspection responsibility to producers. One consequence is the outbreak of literiosis across the country. One meat packing plant in Toronto is the source of this outbreak; it used to have a federal inspector on-site. No longer the case.
Short term cure - heat meats to 74°C (165°F)
Long term cure - don't re-elect current government


http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/food-aliment/listeria-eng.php



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Lawless in Lotusland
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PostPosted: Thu 28 Aug, 2008 7:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Listeria - who knew? Reply with quote

MEF wrote:
...the federal government handed over the bulk of inspection responsibility to producers.


I hadn't realized that the government has been privatizing inspections! Thanks, MEF, for giving us the heads up on this important issue.



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PostPosted: Fri 29 Aug, 2008 10:39 am    Post subject: Re: Listeria - who knew? Reply with quote

MEF wrote:

Short term cure - heat meats to 74°C (165°F)
Long term cure - don't re-elect current government


I'll certainly support the long term cure (and hope that the new government will be able to fix the mess) and of course, the short term cure is fine as well, if you have any prepackaged processed meats (or cheese now???) in your fridge.

But I'd add a second part to the long term cure: stop buying packaged processed meats from big companies. Support your local butcher who is proud of what he is doing and happy in his profession. I can't imagine that there is a very high percentage of workers at the giant meat packing plants who could say the same thing.

One thing we heard on the news yesterday was that not ALL of the meat can be inspected. Apparently, complete inspection means destroying the product. So if they inspect everything, they cannot sell anything; it's all destroyed.



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Mats
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PostPosted: Fri 29 Aug, 2008 11:52 am    Post subject: Local Butcher? Reply with quote

By local butcher, I guess you mean small meat processing operations, as butchers mostly buy carcasses and cut them up. I really don't think something like listeria outbreaks can be tied directly to the size of a processing facility. It is a pathogen present in all processing facilities; it needs to be kept in check by inspection.
I guess the main issue is - do we really need raw (or rawish) meats. Don't we heat most things we eat to the point where biological pathogens are killed? Who needs raw wieners????



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PostPosted: Sat 30 Aug, 2008 9:25 am    Post subject: Re: Local Butcher? Reply with quote

Yes, MEF, I meant small meat processing operations. Our favourite butcher (alas, he has just moved his store out of the neighbourhood; we're devastated) smoked his own hams, bacon and made fantastic sausages. Many of these were all ready to eat, without requiring extra cooking. The difference between the ham that this fellow produces and packaged presliced ham is like night and day. We never saw that horrible rainbow shine on any of his ham.

MEF wrote:
I really don't think something like listeria outbreaks can be tied directly to the size of a processing facility.

It's my feeling that the larger the processing facility, the more likelihood there is of error like this. A large facility requires lots of staff. And to keep costs down, I'd wager that many of those workers are paid minimum wage and are simply there because they need a job. It's a situation just waiting for carelessness. And it's unlikely that any of the meat that is processed in those giant facilities comes from free-range, grass fed animals. (I keep thinking of "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair.)

And this is a nation wide problem. From one processing plant. That has to be a large facility! Canada may have a smallish population by world standards but it is over 30,000,000 now. And this one plant in Ontario has caused death of people in BC. That's about 4000 km away. That's just craziness that British Columbians are buying meat processed in Toronto!

This is not to say that a smaller processing plant might not have the same issues. But if there were a problem, far fewer people would be affected. It could be much more easily contained.

Here is a list of what has been recalled. And here is another list of things recalled because of being made with ingredients on the first list Really really frightening. (And not because of the possibility of food poisoning - edit: "Breaded Mock Chicken"? "Party Delight Tray"? Brrrrrr stomp )


MEF wrote:
I guess the main issue is - do we really need raw (or rawish) meats. Don't we heat most things we eat to the point where biological pathogens are killed?


It's my understanding that pastrami, ham and salami were in the long list of withdrawn and possibly tainted items. Lots of people eat those without cooking them. I know I do... well, not the salami... I don't really like salami.

MEF wrote:
Who needs raw wieners????


Who needs cooked wieners? (I can't stand hot dogs... I never liked them very much anyway but after reading "The Jungle", even knowing that times had changed, I couldn't bear the idea of eating them ever again. Talk about mystery meat!)



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PostPosted: Sat 30 Aug, 2008 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, wieners are hot dogs? That's different to over here where a hot dog is either a fried sausage in a bread bun, or when sold at outdoor events, a boiled frankfurter in a bread bun. It can be any kind of sausage but it only becomes a hot dog once it's in the bread bun. Actually, I don't recall anything called "wieners" being available to buy.
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PostPosted: Sat 30 Aug, 2008 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David wrote:
Oh, wieners are hot dogs? ... It can be any kind of sausage but it only becomes a hot dog once it's in the bread bun.


Yes, it's the same here, David. The wiener is the thing you put into the bun in a hot dog. It's not a hotdog without the bun (and some might even claim that it's not a hot dog without the mustard, ketchup or whatever else they insist on putting into the hotdog). However, not all sausages are "wieners." People buy wieners all the time here.

Personally I love hotdogs, but I'd never dream of eating them without cooking.

We sometimes buy luncheon meats at delis, too, particularly when wanting a quick picnic. But now I will be considerably more cautious about this.



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PostPosted: Sun 31 Aug, 2008 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really dislike hotdogs when they're made with wieners. I can just tolerate hotdogs when they're made with smoked sausages and it really helps if the sausage has been almost burned to a cinder and the finished hot dog has every savoury condiment available: mustard, hot peppers, sauerkraut, onions.... But frankly (heh heh, that reminds me, I don't like Frankfurter sausages much either) any kind of hotdog would be my last choice for lunch. Even the bun makes me a little queasy. la la la

wikipedia: hot dog wrote:
A hot dog is a type of fully-cooked, cured and/or smoked moist sausage of soft, even, texture and flavor. It is usually placed hot in a soft, sliced Hot dog bun of approximately the same length as the sausage, and optionally garnished with condiments and toppings. [...snip...] Hot dogs are also called frankfurters, or franks for short, named for the city of Frankfurt, Germany where sausages in a bun originated, similar to hot dogs, but made exclusively of pork. Another term for hot dogs is wieners or weenies, referring to the city of Vienna, Austria, whose German name is "Wien", home to a sausage made of a mixture of pork and beef.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_dog


While this talk of what a hot dog is and whether or not to cook wieners is perhaps related to the topic (does anyone eat wieners directly out of the package? Eeeewwwwwww!) , I think it's important to point out that wieners are NOT on the rather large list of recalled items and the other list of items made with things on the recall list. I gather that wieners are considered to be "semi-raw" meats and do require cooking. Everything on the list is the sort of meat that the purchaser expects to be able to eat directly out of the package, plate or container: ham, pastrami, salami, pepperoni, liverwurst, "Roasted Boneless Turkey Breast", "Roast Beef Sandwich", "Party Delight Tray", etc. etc.

Unless "cheddar smokies" and "Bavarian smokies" are considered to be a wieners, then I'm wrong about wieners not being on the list. But then literal-minded that I am, I would aver that "Bavarian smokies" CAN'T be wieners because Bavaria isn't in Austria and "cheddar smokies" CAN'T be wieners either because cheddar comes from Canada* (snicker snicker).

Lawless in Lotusland wrote:

We sometimes buy luncheon meats at delis, too, particularly when wanting a quick picnic. But now I will be considerably more cautious about this.


I have always been a little suspicious of these meats at deli counters even before this massive recall. Anything that is pre-sliced always look just a little bit slimy.


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* I know! Cheddar is English...



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