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You may laugh at me, but please stop long enough to answer my question

Ok, I am the general object of mockery for my husband and friends because cross contamination haunts me. When you start cooking a dish with raw chicken or ground beef or whatever, are you supposed to switch to a clean spoon once the meat is cooked? I don't seem to notice that on any cooking shows. Is there a risk for cross contamination if you don't? Help appreciated, and if it turns out I am rightly the butt of all jokes, then so be it! :)

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  1. You are referring to the wooden or metal spoon that you are stirring the meat with, right? I don't think you need to switch spoons because the heat of the cooking chicken/pork/beef/ or fish will kill any bacteria. I think it's a perfectly legitimate query. (snickers behind hand...)

    1. I understand the concern. My beloved cannot touch raw chicken, and I have come to treat anything that comes in touch with chicken like toxic waste. All knives, cutting boards and bowls go immediately into the dishwasher, and I mean immediately. The bag that we brought it home in and all of the wrappings go out into the trash, by the garage right away.
      If you are bothered by the mockery just give them some undercooked chicken, their bowels will bring them around.

      2 Replies
      1. re: chilihead

        yep, you dealt with all the chicken *stuff* *except* the spoon!

        1. re: alkapal

          Oops, missed that point.
          I have a whole mess of what I consider "cooking spoons." They are the sort of spoon that Jethro from the original Beverly Hillbillies would have used to eat cereal. I somehow have an even dozen. Each one holds four tablespoons easily. If one is "dirty" I chuck it in the sink and grab another.

      2. spoon, i use the same spoon as i've been stirring with, serving off the stove. i'd serve at the table with a fresh spoon.

        but, in my opinion, the "spoon" has been "cooking" along with the dish, right?

        i've never thought about it before. have you been hurt because of unsafe food, as you say cross-contamination fears "haunt you"?

          1. re: TrishUntrapped

            but technically, the cooking spoon has just been touching the meat up until the moment the dish is done and you want to serve the dish. so what's the difference food safety-wise? (i know the aesthetics matter).

          2. If the spoon is oogie with raw meat clinging to it, a new one comes out, or I wash the original- which is easy enough because I'm cleaning as I go and I have a bowl of hot suds in my sink.

            1. Excellent question and I am a freak about cross contamination and the utensil is the biggest culprit that most people don't even think about..
              Classic example of this is when you fork that raw chicken on the grill and then use the same fork/tongs to retrieve the grilled chicken with that same fork or tongs that has been plunged into a raw chicken breast..
              I saw someone plate the done chicken with the plate of raw chicken it came out on..wtf?
              With chicken especially, I have a whole party of utensils...so food poisioning won't be the one attending that party!

              10 Replies
              1. re: Beach Chick

                what if tongs are used?

                does one switch to new tongs for grilled chicken....when in the cooking process?

                1. re: alkapal

                  Even turning it over the first time re-deposits raw chicken on the tongs, so at the point where there is no more raw surface on the grilling meat I wash the tongs or switch to a new pair.

                  1. re: puzzler

                    Ya know, it's gotten to the point where we all should have been dead years ago!
                    I cook with the same spoon or tongs until the dish is done.
                    As far as serving is concerned, a use a new, smaller impliment for serving.

                      1. re: sharhamm

                        Sometimes the tongs can lay across the food and that works. I would use the cooking spoon, but it is usually too big for most bowls so it falls out onto the table and makes a mess. I usually have to use a clean, smaller one for serving. Damn

                        1. re: sharhamm

                          I'm sorry but switching tongs while grilling is just nuts. If you're that worried just stick your tongs between the grates for a few seconds. The surface of the grill is like 400+ degrees...any leftover bacteria are going to die, and fast.

                        2. re: puzzler

                          In that situation, I hold the tongs in the flames for a few seconds or so to kill the bugs.

                        3. re: alkapal

                          I do switch tong. Once the meat has been flipped the first time I switch to new tongs or wash the original ones. After the flip then both sides have been seared. Even if it's not done in the middle, I'm not too concerned about surface bacteria at this point.

                          1. re: alkapal

                            I rest my tongs on the edge of my grill in the rotisserie notches and close the lid on them. Then the ends get "cooked" by the heat of the grill.

                            1. re: Jen76

                              brilliant! If i ever own a grill, you can bet that my tong ends will always be sticking out of it.

                        4. Well thanks for all the replies, and for keeping the snickers to a minimum (or at least behind hand :) I had a severe bout of food poisoning that caused me to vomit until the capillaries all over my face burst and I looked like something out of a horror movie. But I guess I feel like the spoon isn't REALLY cooking the whole time the meat is. The meat is in contact with the bottom of the pan, while the spoon just scratches at it with its tip and floats around willy nilly, in and out of the pot, resting beside the stove... etc. Well I am glad that I am not the only one that has an arsenal of spoons. I just wondered if I was as ludicrous as others tell me I am!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: aforkcalledspoon

                            This is enlightening - I definitely am not a germ-a-phobe and yet I *always* get a new fork/spoon/etc. once the outside of the meat is cooked. I must've read it somewhere in my deep past, and I guess I assumed everyone did it! I am an avid cook and cook in front of others all the time and have never been the subject of ridicule for switching - so hold your head high!

                            P.S. I always wash my hands with soap after I touch raw meat, too . . . . don't want to chop up those veggies for salad w/chicken juice on 'em, right?

                          2. Switching ensures that you will not put a utensil that has touched raw meat onto a cooked surface. I switch all the time.

                            1. I have these concerns too. My dear beloved one who does a good amount of cooking and all of our grilling does not.

                              I tried to persuade him about these things. But I only felt like a big nag. So now I just follow behind him and switch things when then need to be. I bring him a clean plate, and a clean spatula and/or tongs (along with a nice cold drink) once the meat has been on the grill a while.

                              In my case, it does not help to have a biology degree and to have worked in a biochem lab (where we were always concerned with the microscopic and with preventing contamination.)

                              I think something is working because he has been adopting some of my measures of his own volition, coming in for a clean plate and tongs if I am late in getting there.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: karykat

                                HAHA oh god, that is such a funny scenario, like a house elf hovering and swooping in to ensure safety. I only took a food safety course, which my husband took as well. I got an "A" and he got a "C". Enough said!!

                                1. re: karykat

                                  I have been cooking ardently for 50 years. I am pretty careful (not 100%) and find that using only animal products whose sources I am sure of has kept us pretty health chez us. I would never put anything from the grill back into a marinade unless I boil it down to a sauce ( a tasty addition by the way). We are all alive and well around here,c'mon over for lunch ! It's probably way cleaner here than in most restaurant kitchens.

                                  1. re: missclaudy

                                    good lawdy, miss claudy!
                                    (i love those neon carrots in your screen pic).

                                2. Oh absolutely you're not to be mocked. Utensils are a very likely source of cross-contamination, especially when you aren't making frequent contact with the cooking food, as in grilling. I am hyper-sensitive about that. Never poisoned anyone yet!

                                  1. With raw chicken I do change out the spoons just in case. And one of those cases would be if someone came up to the stove and decided to taste it if I were not around. I have had to stop my dh more than once. So yes, I wash it. I have at least two of everything so its easiest to just swap it out once I feel the meat is at a point that's safe. I also change or wash the plate the spoon or tongs were resting on.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                      Is raw chicken worse than other raw meat for some reason?

                                      1. re: cimui

                                        I don't think raw chicken is necessarily a better vector for pathogens, rather the incidence of salmonella, and it's hyping by the media, likely has frightened people into being especially cautious with chicken.

                                        1. re: JungMann

                                          Au contraire, mon ami! According to a January 2007 Consumer Reports article (http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/fo...), 81% of chickens tested were contaminated with campylobacter and 15% with salmonella, for total contamination rate of 83% (the numbers don't add up, since 15% of chickens tested had both pathogens). The contamination was present in all brands at all price levels. With these odds, it is foolish to not take precautions. What makes this all the more troubling is that the problem is getting worse, not better. A combination of the Reagan Revolution's defunding of the Department of Agriculture's meat inspection programs (something that has never been fixed) and the continuing growth in the scale of "factory" food production is rendering our food supply increasingly dangerous.

                                          Years ago, back in the good old days (the 1970’s), I worked in a retail store with a woman who complained about her hillbilly grandparents. As much as she tried, she could not convince them that they did not need to cook meats into oblivion—the bad old days of a contaminated food supply were over. Who knew that she was wrong and those ol’ hillbillies were right—just a little bit ahead of their time.

                                          You know, when I saw the title of this thread, I was expecting maybe something stupid or naïve that I could snicker at. The last thing I was expecting was an intelligent question provoking a thoughtful discussion of food safety.

                                          1. re: pgreen

                                            I didn't dispute that raw meat is a vector for pathogens. What I questioned was whether raw chicken as opposed to raw beef or any other type of meat is a BETTER vector for pathogens. I looked to your article to see if it would address the question at hand, but the link doesn't work.

                                            1. re: JungMann

                                              while the link provided went to a "page not available" message, i noticed the message was that the site was reorganized. so i did a search for raw chicken, and several articles came up. this press release that follows is the second article in the search results: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cu...

                                              then, within that press release, it links to the whole "dirty birds" article (at least the version that is free): http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/fo...
                                              and generally, based on my information, chicken is a better vector for pathogens.

                                        2. re: cimui

                                          Chicken is more susceptible than red meat because its ph is closer to neutral.

                                          1. re: WNYamateur

                                            AB recently did a show from, I think it was Hong Kong.
                                            He went to a restaurant that specialized in serving chunks of raw chicken. The chef kills the chicken and plucks etc and cuts it up while you watch.
                                            'Food for thought' eh?

                                      2. I don't switch, wash or sterilize anything and I've never had a problem. SO thinks I am too frugal with utensils, but I usually have to do the dishes...
                                        Grilling is the same. If you are waving tongs over heat that your hand can't stand, how are germs going to survive?
                                        I want to clarify that I would never reuse a platter or bowl that has had raw meat on it without a thorough washing. If I use a knife it gets washed off before it performs any other tasks.
                                        If the utensil is gooped up I let the Lab lick it clean and voila, it's presentable! ;)

                                        1. I never used to think about it but my dear boyfriend did some training as a chef and taught me about cross-contamination and how easy it is to do it. Since then, I would rather make a bit of effort in changing utensils between raw and cooked than risking losing peace of mind over it.

                                          1. I with the middle of the road group. If the utensil that touched raw meat comes into contact with the heat that will be cooking the food for long enough, then continue to use it. I'm thinking of the spatula I use to cook ground beef for hamburgers. I leave it in the pan while I'm stirring frequently and it's often touching the bottom of the pan with the bacteria being cooked off. But if you use a knife to open the chicken package or a fork to put it on the grill, you have to wash it or put it in the sink if you aren't using it in your cooking. DH brings out a clean fork and plate when grilling and hands me the raw ones when the meat goes on the grill. Great idea to put the tongs on the grill for a min after flipping the raw meat....

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: amyvc

                                              We do the same exchange with the meat trays/plates when we bbq. We laugh because it's almost like doing surgery, we all but scrub and glove up. I would not want to contract bacteria that can put us in the hospital. I really don't know how the meat or chicken was handled prior to me buying it, that's my biggest concern.

                                              I will never forget really good good friends had us over for bbq, I saw the hubby put the now nicely grilled chicken, back into the same dish it was marinating in.... I almost choked. I had to say something, but thinking about it that's probably something he always did, but I went paler than pale and didn't know what else to do but say something, quickly and nicely. My husband thanked me later.

                                              I like that idea of placing the tongs back on the grill, that's a good idea.

                                            2. I'm a switcher. I'll use the same utensil once it starts cooking up to about 3/4 done, then switch out for stovetop things. On the grill, I have two sets of tongs, one for placing the meat and the first flip, then another for the rest of the cooking. And always a clean platter.

                                              1. If hubby et. al. are snickering at you, I suggest calling your local Board of Health and asking them to send you materials about cross-contamination. I'm a restaurateur and you'd be surprised at the measures we're mandated to take (by the BoH) to avoid cross-contamination.

                                                The only reason more people don't get sick is the quality of our U.S. food supply.

                                                1. I normally will use the same spoon for the first couple of stirs, then I'll wash it and the plate that's holding the spoon then reuse them for the rest of the cooking process.

                                                  6 Replies
                                                  1. re: gourmet wife

                                                    My routine, exactly. I have a limited number of spoons / spatulas, so they're not swapped out at each stir, but near the end of cooking, I'm religious about either swapping out or washing. I don't consider myself a germiphobe at all, but I don't trust a quick circuit in the pan to kill all the harmful bacterial.

                                                    1. re: cimui

                                                      I do the same- once Ive used a utensil to touch raw chicken, or a resting plate, I immediately wash it with antibacterial dish washing soap. Also- I never use a wooden cutting board anywhere near raw chicken- I have a couple of plastic ones for that task, and then they get bleached....
                                                      Raw chicken is one thing I dont mess with....

                                                      1. re: fmcoxe6188

                                                        I had read a study a couple of years ago that tested both types of boards and they found that plastic holds the germs more than wood. In the NY Times I believe. I bleach both, either way.

                                                        1. re: coll

                                                          Interesting-I'll have to go looking for the latest findings. I had always been told that the chicken "juice" sinks into the fibers of wood better, and therefore doesn't come out as well with bleach- but that the plastic keeps it more superficial. Though-I bleach both, and do everything I can to just not cut up raw chicken in the first place :-)

                                                          1. re: fmcoxe6188

                                                            Wood has been used for centuries. I use my large wood boards for cutting up raw veggies almost 100%, but they have been used for everything. The key is that once washed and/or scraped a dry board will not support bacteria growth. Hard maples, like commonly used rock maple, are also quite dense and the wood doesn't support bacteria growth.
                                                            http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/e... says a lot. You can use vinegar to disinfect, too, though I scrape only or wash with soapy water, rinse and scrape as my cleaning method. Then they dry.

                                                            1. re: fmcoxe6188

                                                              I found the story I was thinking of, I use both myself and don't worry all that much, just keep them clean


                                                    2. I usually put food on the grill with my bare hands, take the container which had the raw food inside to wash it and my hands ("would you please open the door for me?" "thanks!") , pour a glass of wine, and watch my husband fiddle with the tongs (I'M JUST PLAYING!!!).

                                                      I don't put cooked food on a platter that just had raw food, but have also been known to take a slice of said raw food to taste prior to cooking (such as most seafood). When I make meatballs--grilled or broiled--I test them by tasting (grab quickly with fingertips so as not to smush them with tongs), not thermometer; sometimes, a few more minutes are needed. The knife that I checked the steak with and determined it was perfect for me (rare) but a little undercooked for husband, I will eat with if it's just the 2 of us. I'm not dead yet, and I don't get sick often.

                                                      Most of the things I cook I taste at various points--with 1 spoon/fork/knife because I'm not concerned with getting myself sick eating the food I prepared for myself; if it will be served to others, a separate spoon for tasting (washed between uses or tossed into sink and replaced).

                                                      It appears that my behaviour regarding cross contamination is determined by one variable: who is the targeted audience?

                                                      1. Yes, I use clean spoon, clean serving dish, clean everything. I do this with all meat and fish. I clean the countertop, sink and cutting boards before letting the cooked chicken touch (or anythng else touch it, for that matter). Cross contamintion can happen with other foods, not only the chicken you are cooking.

                                                        1. I always switch to a new spoon once the meat is fully cooked. I think you're probably okay if you don't, but I tend to err on the safe side.

                                                          1. I am not typically worried about this stuff at all, but I do switch spoons. UNLESS it is a saucy dish and the spoon as been hanging out in the sauce as it often is (ie curry, etc). Then I won't switch it. It's my one germaphobe tendency.

                                                            The thing is, I can pretty much guarantee you that restaurants aren't switching spoons/ tongs/ forks. So does it really even matter?

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: hollyd

                                                              I just got over some severe food poisoning from a restaurant-had a piece of quiche at a vegetarian buffet.
                                                              The person that brought it to me in a take out container even told me the food was just put out right when they took it (and i live 5 min from t his place).

                                                              So,I have a feeling the quiche made w eggs sat under a heat lamp too long as I've never been that sick from eating there before.
                                                              I was quite sick,went to hospital later on...found out i had internal bleeding from the food aparently....

                                                              But back to your question,
                                                              never really thought about the chaning of tongs or spoons.
                                                              I usually change them anyways by habit.

                                                              What I find really gross is at the grocery store they have the bulk rolls,bread ect and they never clean the tongs-I usually use an inverted plastic bag to grab my items figuring it has much less germs.

                                                              I guess I'm probably too cautious as I've had bad luck getting sick from bad food a few times in the past 2 years-not from anything I've made at least :)

                                                              1. re: hollyd

                                                                you're crazy if you think restaurants don't use raw/cooked utensils and switch out utensils, boards & prep areas. home cooks are the ones who more frequently poison people, because they are untrained/not thinking.

                                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                                  " home cooks are the ones who more frequently poison people, because they are untrained/not thinking."

                                                                  Soupkitten, I agree that home cooks are more likely to unthinkingly poison people, due to lack of training. But I wonder if there are really more examples of home poisoning vs. resto poisoning.

                                                                  Food poisoning is a question of volume and chance. E coli poisoning from hamburgers occurs because the main source of ground beef in North America comes from a pool of hundreds or thousands of cows. The more animals in the mix, the higher chance you'll have a cow contaminated by E. coli. One cow can then contaminate an entire batch of ground beef. That is why steak tartare is much safer, even though it is the same raw beef. The cook uses a single cow as a source of the steak tartare (well, they should only use a fresh piece of beef to make tartare), and it is much less likely that this cow is contaminated.

                                                                  Similarly, restaurants process much more food than a single household. There is so much more food volume that there is an inherent increased risk of a contaminated food source. For this reason, restaurants have to be much stricter about hygiene/sanitation/food safety than most households.

                                                                  I think from the sheer volume of food processed in restos compared to home kitchens, I would expect there to be more cases of food poisoning from restos than home kitchens. Especially in this day and age, when so many people consider cooking at home to be defrosting a frozen food item. I pity the fool that gives himself food poisoning nuking a Pizza Pop....

                                                              2. Hah, yeah I have this weird thing where I end up carrying stuff around with my elbows, tunring on taps with wrists etc. Mainly when I'm marinading a steak, rub some oil in, salt it, turn it over... and then I need to wash my hands again to pick up the oil bottle.

                                                                But if the implement is used purely to handle other raw meat items, I think it's fine as long as they *will* cook, and I leave a wooden spoon in, but use a separate spoon for tasting.

                                                                1. Talked to friend who works in a restaurant about this -- switching is required for safe food handling.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: RGC1982

                                                                    I've seen sanitizer buckets to hold the utensils too.

                                                                    I was grilling chicken last night and found myself, at least in the beginning, automatically going in to rinse the fork between turns. I was never aware of doing this.

                                                                  2. If you're using utensils to turn cooking protein, they are contaminated. Wash them in hot soapy water before using again. Don NOT rely on cooking shows for food safety. The other day I saw Giada chop (raw) pancetta, then slice basil on the exact same spot on her cutting board. Please!!

                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                                      did she then cook them?

                                                                      pika, are you taking the position that if i'm cooking pork chops with stainless tongs, i need to wash or replace them between each "touching/turning" of the meat, or at the end, when i remove the pork chop to the serving platter?

                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                        I'd certainly wash them before removing the cooked meat. If you don't, you are transferring any pathogens that might have been on the raw meat to the cooked.

                                                                      2. re: pikawicca

                                                                        You have to be sensible; for me, I draw a different line on the cutting board.

                                                                        Now I have to scratch my head about whether I ever use tongs in the kitchen to handle raw meats or only to turn when the meat is too hot to handle. Still, there is the topside of the meat, uncooked, and now touched by the tongs. Oh good; I only need to wash one side of the tongs before re-using! I do tend to use my hands to place raw meats and fish into the cooking appliance (then I rinse my hands off....should I get a sanitary, unused hand-towel every time I wipe my hands?). Usually I use my hands for placing raw items on the grill too, if I can stand the heat. Then I start using utensils to flip or move them around.

                                                                        I am not going to start now, at 62, after cooking for 51 years, with sanitizing everything as I use it or before I re-use it.
                                                                        I do not cut raw meats on my wood boards, yet I will cut anything on the same board, after cutting meats, if it will be cooked and if the potential mixing of flavors go together. Certainly, I am very careful about raw items that will remain raw. I just throw my plastic cutting sheets, or plastic boards, in the dishwasher and replace them when they start getting chewed up and too warped. I have never used bleach! My housekeeper may use it on the sink on Mondays...
                                                                        I use water and my pastry scraper to clean my boards.
                                                                        I've never made myself, or anyone else, sick in 51 years of cooking and entertaining.

                                                                        The chef on the show you refer to was probably cooking everything that touched that specific cutting board. If that was the case, it wouldn't bother me, but an explanation of why she was continuing to use the board was probably in order, so people didn't get the wrong idea. I might lose my way if I was on camera, in front of an audience with a very limited amount of time. That's a possibility. If she did not cook the basil she should have at least done a correction of her technique on the next show.

                                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                                          "The other day I saw Giada chop (raw) pancetta, then slice basil on the exact same spot on her cutting board. Please!!"

                                                                          Pancetta is a dry-cured product. It can be eaten raw, and so I don't think it would have the same risk as real raw pork. It is similar to other cured products such as salami and proscuitto, which can also be eaten "raw". I don't have a problem with Giada chopping basil on the same board after, especially if the basil is going into the same dish.

                                                                          1. re: moh

                                                                            I've never heard of anyone eating raw pancetta. I'd just as soon eat raw bacon.

                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                              I initially thought one could not eat raw pancetta, but after asking many Italian friends, and after being served raw pancetta on many occasions, I have since changed my mind about the appropriateness of this practice. But I could see how it might appeal less than a drier proscuitto or salami.

                                                                            2. re: moh

                                                                              I don't think it would be (technically), called pancetta if it were raw and not the cured, dried, salty meat pancetta is.

                                                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                                                Exactly, pancetta is a cured salty dried meat. When I say I eat it "raw", I simply mean I have eaten it without cooking it, straight from the deli counter, no messing around with heat. I do not mean to imply that it is a raw product such as Steak Tartare or beef carpaccio, where the meat is truly raw and not processed in any way.

                                                                                Pikawicca, just to clarify: I would only eat pancetta "raw" if I had bought it from a proper Italian deli counter where they know their product pretty well, and I can rely that the meats are kept properly. It has to be very thinly sliced to be appealing raw for my tastes, just like proscuitto or serrano or iberico. I would not use a pre-sliced, pre-packaged pancetta for raw eating purposes, which is how it is available in many grocery stores. For one thing, it is often too thickly sliced, and for another, I have no idea how long it has been in the package, or whatever else was processed at the same time. So that stuff I use only for cooking. But a thinly shaven fresh slice of pancetta is a lovely addition to a salume plate. It is less salty than proscuitto, a very nice delicate porky flavour. It is not at all like what I imagine a piece of raw bacon to taste like. Even I have not yet had the guts to try raw bacon.

                                                                            3. re: pikawicca

                                                                              >>"If you're using utensils to turn cooking protein, they are contaminated"<<

                                                                              What if I use a knife to scoop my steak tartare onto a bit of toast? A fork to eat a bite of carpaccio? A pair of chopsticks to pick up a bite of sashimi? Are those utensils "contaminated"?

                                                                              Raw meat isn't poisonous. Yes, there's the possibility that it will have pathogens, especially if we're talking about chicken or mass-produced ground beef. But the notion that you need to sanitize your tongs every time you flip a steak is just silly.

                                                                            4. No mockery here. It's a prefectly reasonable question! It depends for me mostly on how yucky the spoon has become. I do always use a different spoon for serving. Your family should be grateful for your concern! Good for you!

                                                                              1. Anytime I touch the meat I immidiately rinse the utensil off good. I never use any utensil that I used on meat on anything else. If you touch that chicken while it's still not cooked your fork is contaminated.

                                                                                1. I always get new or clean the utensils if they have touched raw meat, I think it is a great practice. Another thing I don't like is when people handle the raw meat then touch the salt/pepper grinder and seasonings. If you use them on your prepared meal later you are contaminating your hands.

                                                                                  1. This thread is proof that old discussions remain valid indefinitely

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                      I often wonder what the finder was searching for when they came across a five year old thread.

                                                                                      By the by, it has never occured to me to change utensils in the middle of cooking. And I'm not about to start now.

                                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                                        I've started using a new utensil with every bite I take because my mouth leaves germs on it. Gross!

                                                                                    2. I don't worry too much about this. Life is full of risks. However, while I was flipping hamburgers on a grill the other day, it occurred to me that when you slide the raw hamburger patty onto the grill with your spatula, you have now contaminated the spatula. Then you slide the contaminated spatula under the cooked side of the hamburger and contaminate the cooked side of the hamburger, while flipping the burger over. Then you take it off the grill with the same contaminated spatula and nicely contaminate the second side of the burger.

                                                                                      This sort of stuff can drive you batty. I have been cooking burgers for years, happily contaminating them as I go, with no problems. But it does make you wonder . . .

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: gfr1111

                                                                                        Relax. Most likely when you slide the contaminated spatula under the hot burger a lot of bacteria perish due to the heat

                                                                                        1. re: gfr1111

                                                                                          I've never worried about contaminating the spatula when cooking burgers because I don't use a spatula to put the burgers on the grill or in the pan.