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Re: "Should I eat it?" threads

Yes, they pop up alot. Yes, (for some strange reason) I usually can't help but read them. But....

I was just wondering if anyone recalls one where the OP followed up and said, "I went ahead and ate/served it, and got sick as a dog"

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  1. I'm sure I would remember if anyone had said that - and I don't.

    And, yes, like you I always seem to read those threads - sometimes posting and, if I do post, it's almost invariably to say "yeah, it'll be fine".

    1. Don't recall ever seeing one - but perhaps the ones that got sick didn't want to 'fess up, either.

      My responses run to the cautious side. I weigh the cost of the discarded food against the medical co-pay.

      1. I know, they're magnetic, aren't they? I'm in the "it's probably fine" camp usually but it would be interesting to get more feedback. Were they really fine?

        17 Replies
        1. re: tcamp

          I am in the " it's probably fine" camp too. I find those threads interesting and entertaining.

          I am always surprised by the number of people responding that say they have a "compromised immune system" or have had several bouts of food poisoning. They tell about hugging the toilet, they time how long a food product is out on the counter, they take the internal temperature of the stock, they monitor for "danger zone" time, etc.

          I am in my 50's and I don't recall ever getting food poisoning, even with world travel (okay, maybe a bit of "upset" in Mexico once). It really doesn't cross my mind.

          I think maybe it's much more of a personal sensitivity/health issue, practically speaking, than a scientific one that others can answer -for someone else.

          1. re: sedimental

            I completely agree with this. I am both someone who's had the epic/tragic tales of food poisoning woe and also isn't super fussy or careful about food being on the counter, temperature of stock, etc. There are certain situations where I'll happily eat away knowing that I'm most likely looking at a 'funny tummy' later (i.e. my favorite Ethiopian restaurant in Jerusalem) - but I know others who avoid anything that might moderately upset their stomach like the plague.

            I think for lots of us what counts as "food poisoning" vs. "eh, that's what happens when I eat x" is very personal.

            1. re: cresyd

              Yes, and " lifestyle" has a lot to do with attitude and belief about food risks. I host big outdoor parties where food is out all day (with common sense parameters) I don't typically take a refrigerator backpacking for 4 days -and I don't turn down street vendor food out of country because they don't have a thermapen.

              Luckily, I don't have to.

              1. re: sedimental

                I also think that some of it has to do with how we experience illness.

                I have had stomach "issues" since childhood - and assorted stomach related unpleasantries that others find very debilitating - to me, sometimes it's just Tuesday. On the other hand, if I get a headache (which is very rare), the world is going to end.

                1. re: cresyd

                  Sorry, I have to butt in. I have a chronic post-infectious disease called Gastroparesis--which has landed me permanently with a feeding tube--directly as a result of a bout of mild food poisoning 9 years ago.

                  Prior to that, I worried very little about food safety. I'd rinse my produce, wash my hands after handling raw chicken, etc. but not much more than that.

                  One bout of food poisoning that really wasn't very severe has essentially ruined every dream I had since childhood and crippled me into an 80 pound homebound 29 year old.

                  I know I'm the exception, not the rule. But saying food safety isn't something to worry about it is ridiculous to those of us who've been literally disabled by it. Like I said elsewhere--these threads about food safety are fine if it only affects people who know about it. If the OP wants to eat their chicken left on the counter all night, go for it. But serving it to unknowing guests is dangerous and astonishing IMO. Do you really want to be responsible for potentially killing or seriously sickening a friend??

                  1. re: nothingswrong

                    I don't remember ever reading any posts about advocating being unsafe with food or serving questionable food to others. Where are you getting that idea?

                    1. re: sedimental

                      Not in this thread. I meant in the threads that pop up about questionable food--I've seen several which stated things like:

                      "I have 10-day old buttercream frosting and I want to use it to frost a cake for my church group"

                      "I have meat/fish/chicken from last week but wanted to use it for a dinner party tomorrow"

                      "I made a pot of soup and left it on the counter overnight to cool; is it okay to feed my kids?"

                      Most CHers seem pretty laid back about eating it for themselves, which is fine, but I find the ones who think it's okay to gamble with the health of others pretty frightening. Just stating my .02

                      1. re: nothingswrong

                        A couple of years ago a bear came in our kitchen window during the middle of the night. I guess she heard my feet hit the floor cause she was back outside by the time I got downstairs. She touched but didn't get the pheasant that was lying on the counter. I didn't tell our guests when they ate it the following night. But it wasn't pheasant sushi :)

                    2. re: nothingswrong

                      Good luck with your struggles, nw. Sending good thoughts.

                      1. re: nothingswrong

                        nothingswrong, I have to ask -

                        What food/food poisoning caused your initial illness?

                        1. re: sandylc

                          Chicken from a restaurant. Or I assume it was the chicken. Also on the plate were potatoes and green beans.

                          I tested positive for salmonella, so I do think it was the chicken or cross contamination of the chicken and the veg in the restaurant kitchen.

                          1. re: nothingswrong

                            The time I had salmonella it took a year to feel the same again.

                            I am so sorry that it did such damage.

                            And of course, it isn't provable by the time you know how serious it is, so there is no recompense.

                            1. re: sandylc

                              "And of course, it isn't provable by the time you know how serious it is, so there is no recompense."

                              Exactly. But back then I was a broke college student who only ate a handful of things every day that I bought in bulk: Cereal, ramen, pasta, etc. When I got sick, I was able to pinpoint that meal as what made me ill--everything else I'd eaten for days prior had already been opened and eaten from without illness.

                              It's funny because like you say with your salmonella, I also didn't feel "right" for quite some time, but it wasn't that bad. Just a little queasy after greasy or heavy meals, a little heartburn, or just mild unsettled feelings. Not enough to make a big difference in my diet or lifestyle. Still worked, traveled, ate out, etc.

                              It wasn't until a few years later that it started to really take effect. I didn't connect the dots at the time. The salmonella occurred back in 2004. In 2008 I started getting ill EVERY NIGHT after eating dinner. This went on for months, even after whittling down to 85 lbs and subsisting on saltine crackers, 7 Up, and rice. I just kept getting sick no matter what I put in my body.

                              In 2011 I was finally diagnosed after a scope of my stomach, which caused my doc to send me in for a Gastric Emptying Study. My stomach is more or less paralyzed, as is part of my intestines and colon. This was all (theoretically) caused by the salmonella in my stomach causing nerve damage.

                              Best as modern science can tell, this damage is irreversible. Some people recover within 1-3 years (as you did, it sounds like), but I've been going for 10 years and it just keeps getting worse. Every few months it seems I'll have a random, unprovoked major setback from which I never recover completely. It will remove one more "safe food" from my tiny list of safe foods.

                              All this to say that even with using my IVs daily, the 10-12 pills I have to take to try and quell nausea and vomiting, and the regimented bland beige diet I adhere to, I'm still usually sick to my stomach from the moment I wake up til I fall asleep. It's like morning sickness that doesn't go away, or an extended indefinite case of food poisoning or the stomach flu. Even on an empty stomach, or just liquids (water!). It's nuts. I'm on year 4 with severe malnutrition disorders from malabsorption, which have caused me to be unable to work or even leave the house most of the time. Can't travel, work, or even grocery shop. I was just diagnosed last week with some sort of "vestibular-ocular dysfunction" to accompany my vertigo, which both came on in the last couple years, supposedly as a result of chronic malnutrition and immobility. It's like motion sickness from nothing. Just to add to the nausea issue.

                              Hope this doesn't get flagged. I'm not giving medical advice, just sharing my experience with food poisoning. It's one of those "shoulda, coulda, woulda" situations. I used to be somewhat lax about food safety, but what I wouldn't give to go back in time. Everyone else I know with this disease says the same thing. It's crazy that one little piece of bad food can completely ruin all of your life's dreams.

                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                And the person or persons directly responsible for your illness have likely continued on with their lives and never knew what they did to you.

                                What a strange place this life is.

                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                  Oh, and the "medical" people will tell you essentially that as a non-medical person you are too stupid to figure out what made you sick. "Anecdotal" is one of their favorite words.

                                  1. re: sandylc

                                    Lol, agreed. Although my specialist GI docs now totally respect their patients' opinions about what made them ill. Sometimes you can just tell, even if you ate a hundred things that day.

                                    "What a strange place this life is."

                                    So true!

                  2. re: sedimental

                    I agree. I've got more than 20 years on you and can't recall ever having food poisoning either. While I have eaten what I call "In 'n' Out" (for obvious reasons and not to be confused with the burger chain), I'm fine after; no residual effects. It was probably the result of too much seasoning or a particular ingredient.
                    Mrs G gets annoyed because I don't like to throw out food that is still edible.

                2. I think its because most of the time the food is fine and the OP is over worrying - usually when you really should not eat it you already know. ie the posts rarely start off - "my chicken is slimy and makes me gag - I left it in a warm car for 3 days, should I eat it?" it usually more along the line of "my meat smells like meat - I defrosted it - now I am afraid of it"

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: JTPhilly

                    I suspect most of those posts are usually just to get a chorus of "you'll be ok" more than a genuine "I'm concerned".

                    Recently I had a case of "this fish smells funny" - and my first thought was not to go to CH but rather to call my mom. Cause if I did get sick later - she was gonna be the person to hear about it anyways.

                    1. re: cresyd

                      If you were really concerned, try calling your doctor...unless your mother is a doctor :)

                      1. re: c oliver

                        The summary of that story was that my mom told me to return it, I ended up eating it, it didn't make me feel so great (but no where near even moderate levels of food poisoning that I've had), and I threw out the left overs.

                        Basically it was an overall "well, glad I was never planning on serving that to someone" situation. Still, my mom was the exasperated voice on the other end during my "I don't feel so well" phone call. Which was probably still more sympathetic than I imagine the internet would be.

                    2. re: JTPhilly

                      +1

                      Although I also tend to wonder since often food poisoning won't set in til you've eaten a few more times, if people even realize the questionable food was the culprit.

                      I'd be even more curious about people who serve their sketchy food to guests. Just because it didn't make you sick doesn't mean the others were fine. I personally would NEVER in a million years serve anything I even remotely questioned to guests. You just never know what might be going on with their health/stomach, and god forbid you are forever known as the person who gave the whole dinner party food poisoning.

                    3. I don't recall any follow up including illness, hospitalizations or deaths.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: monavano

                        Death would be tough to follow up on.

                        1. re: Chatsworth

                          How bad everyone would feel if this did happen, though. I refrain from giving advice because, while I'll assume the risk for myself, I won't for others. The same goes for my cooking--I take far more risks when cooking for just myself than for a dinner party.

                      2. I read them mostly for the hyperbolic responses. I'm usually in the "it's probably OK" camp but I wouldn't post that. As soon as I do, someone will come up sick and it would all be my fault.

                        1. I don't get them. Someone dosnt trust there own judgement enough and would trust a stranger over the internet who can't see, smell or know the actual situation. Crazy and sad.

                          20 Replies
                          1. re: daislander

                            I think the issue is that we're given lots of handy phrases to let us know when things are safe or not, yet they're all way too conservative. Things like cooking pork to 160 degrees, not being in the temperature "danger zone" for more than 90 minutes, etc. On the other hand, just examining at your food isn't always a good guide (although I do remember one thread where someone was seriously considering eating their raw chicken that smelled like vinegar).

                            Seems like there's an opportunity for a food science company to come out with a cheap consumer product to test food.

                            1. re: calumin

                              just a note they just lowered pork to 145 from 160 now.

                              1. re: calumin

                                Unfortunately, testing food for contaminants can be quite complicated - check out this site http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodScienceRe...

                                for a description of procedures for testing for salmonella. And that's just one potential contaminant.

                              2. re: daislander

                                Not everyone is at the same cooking knowledge level as everyone else. What a new cook knows or doesn't know is quite different from what someone who has been cooking (and defrosting meat on the counter) for 30+ years. So I try to give people the benefit of the doubt on their judgment.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  I agree. I was teaching a friend how to cook and he had no idea not to put the cooked chicken back on the plate that had the raw chicken juices all over it.

                                  1. re: melpy

                                    That makes me seriously cringe.

                                    I have a friend who keeps opened boxes of chicken and beef stock in her cabinets. Like for weeks/months at a time. I snuck in there and "accidentally" poured them down the drain before she used them to cook our dinner.

                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                      It's so simple to just pour the rest into smaller containers and freeze the stock.

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        i either buy the 1-cup little cartons, or use the excess to make rice or a braised something the next day.

                                        1. re: chartreauxx

                                          Melanie Wong says it can keep in the fridge for several weeks.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            sometimes i keep it for a week or so, but i prefer to use it sooner than later. knowing me, if i don't jump on it pretty quick, i forget about it.... and then i don't have chicken stock or broth anymore, i have a rancid experiment in a carton! :-) this has happened one too many times, so i try to stay on top of it and use it pretty quickly.

                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                          Or just stick it in the fridge?! Sometimes peoples' lack of common sense just baffles me...

                                          1. re: nothingswrong

                                            Well, I also do that. BUT...if I don't use it up after a couple of weeks, into 1 cup containers and into the freezer.

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              Yeah, I never have any problem using it up. And the old dog is liking having her food moistened a bit.

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                I'm usually using my homemade stock which is already in 1/2 cup, 1 cup, and 2 cup containers in my downstairs freezer. So I use the tetrapak cartons only when I need something NOW and don't want to take 5 min. or so to defrost. :-)

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  That is my go-to use for leftover broth. The dogs love it.

                                          2. re: nothingswrong

                                            You need to introduce her to Better than Bouillon. It's supposed to be refrigerated after opening but the concentration of salt in the paste should protect an opened jar well - certainly better than however much salt and other preservatives are in the tetrapacks.

                                            1. re: greygarious

                                              Good call. I was more just horrified, since my boyfriend and I had eaten there quite a few times. I guess what doesn't kill you... But after helping her in the kitchen that night and seeing how many nasty things like that went on, I tend to make excuses now so I don't have to eat at their BBQs :)

                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                Whoa....think about it. While I agree that leaving opened broth at room temp sounds scary, you now know that you have suffered no physical repercussions from eating food from this cook, despite the many common-sense precautions she ignores. And from your other posts it seems that you yourself are in precarious health, someone who'd likely be more susceptible to food-borne illness than the average person.

                                                I'd never advocate this person's kitchen habits but your scenario illustrates that some, if not most, commonly-promulgated food safety principles are overly cautious if not downright unwarranted.

                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                  Well I should add that I don't eat most "danger" foods when out of the house, i.e. anything very perishable. No meat, no dairy, no unwashed produce. When eating at their house, for instance, they just serve me baked potatoes (fresh from the oven) or steamed rice for precisely the reason of this thread! I refuse to eat anything else unless I'm sure it's been properly handled by a clean chef. Which for now, is basically just my mother.

                                                  I did get my condition from food poisoning, so I am very VERY careful (crazy?) about what I will eat unless I've prepared it. I also have to be careful, since another stomach virus could damage my stomach further, and I may stop being able to eat altogether. Again, that one bout of food poisoning has permanently killed nerves in my digestive tract. Permanently! It is not a matter of maybe being queasy for a few days, but rather a complete lifestyle change and day in, day out illness to contend with.

                                                  But anyway I agree with you in that my boyfriend didn't get sick at all, and he eats everything they put in front of him. So for a healthy person, yes, I agree that sometimes we are too careful. Although they do things that are just Russian roulette IMO, like using the same fork to transfer raw chicken to the grill as they use to remove it.

                                          3. re: melpy

                                            The Raw and the Cooked.

                                            Fine Young Cannibals, right?

                                      2. I always assumed the ones that didn't post back tried the suspicious food and died a cruel and meaningless death surrounded by a mound of long expired dairy and meat products.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Steve

                                          Steve - we can only hope.

                                        2. When the OP dies they cant follow up..

                                          1. I stopped reading them because it took a large amount of willpower not to reply "Do you not have any common sense?" or "Don't they teach basic biology any more?" of "How the heck should I know? I can't smell things over the net.". Or, equally as often, wonder how the human race survived thousands of years without refrigeration.

                                            1. I used to waste my time flagging these and suggesting that giving medical advice isn't appropriate for CH. Now I don't even read them.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                I still flag the ones looking for medical advice, and the posters who play doctor on the internet. Sometimes they come down - like the one yesterday seeking a recommendation for a naturopath.

                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                  Yeah, I flagged that one also. But really, g, asking if something is safe to eat is asking for medical advice IMO. And, as has been said, why would one take the advice of an anonymous stranger???

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    yeah really, if I load the gun I sure as hell wouldn't trust any of you to pull the trigger on me so how could it work in reverse?

                                                  2. re: greygarious

                                                    Even worst is someone saying they need to avoid x, y, and z because of doctor's feedback and are told the doctor is wrong that those foods are perfectly safe.

                                                2. I know I've written one in the past couple of months and then come back to report that I am still alive.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                    Years ago I posted about eating some wild mushrooms a friend's wife gave me, and almost all say don't do it....but I did, and although I reported back at the time, I'm reiterating here that I'm still alive and well too!

                                                    1. re: coll

                                                      A clean liver makes a good chowhound...

                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                        Not sure in which way you mean liver, but I think I fail in either case.

                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                          My liver is usually borderline, but there are probably several reasons. Wild mushrooms not one though.