Apparently I need a lesson in food safety!


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Day 3 of my 4th Whole30, but it's been months and months of bad habits of eating out all the time. Last night I tried to cook up a marinated pork chop dish, and it made me so sick that I think I might have given myself food poisoning! Perhaps my issue was buying it on Saturday then cooking in on Wednesday, or perhaps I marinated it for 48 hours instead of 24, or perhaps my meat thermometer isn't accurate, I'm not sure where it went wrong.  I usually stick to mostly poultry, fish, and ground meats. My attempts to cook pork chops are me venturing out into new territory. But now I'm afraid of trying other new things for fear of poisoning myself again. I'd like to restore my "I can do this attitude" when it comes to cooking new things. What's a good resource for a refresher in food safety? 

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This is probably a good place to start -- I think they are probably overly cautious about some things, such as raw eggs (but then, I've eaten raw cookie dough my whole life, store bought and home made, and never had a problem, and regularly make my own mayo now with no problem). 

If your immune system isn't compromised by illness or medicines, and you cook your meats to the recommended temperatures, store your leftovers in the fridge, and clean your kitchen sink and countertops regularly, you're unlikely to get food poisoning, most of the time. Even when there are recalls on certain products, the people most likely to have issues are those with compromised immune systems, the very old, the very young, and pregnant women -- I'm in Texas and know plenty of people who kept eating their recalled Blue Bell ice cream last year (two years ago? I forget now) during their big recall and never had any issues.

Marinating meat for too long usually isn't going to cause you to get sick. Obviously, marinate it in the fridge, not out on the counter. There are ways to test meat thermometers for accuracy, yours may have come with instructions, or here are some general ones for non-digital thermometers. Buying Saturday and cooking Wednesday I wouldn't think would be a problem, but you'd want to check the date on the packaging next time -- if you bought it Saturday, but it was packaged on Thursday (or whatever day, I'm not sure what the rules are for how long meat can stay out in the grocery store), that might have made a difference. 

It's also always possible that whatever you had wasn't related to the pork at all. Maybe you just picked up a bug of some kind and would have been sick no matter what you ate that day.

 

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Hi Healthy! Sorry about your pork chop problems. 

Google "marinate food safely" or some such and youll get lots of resources. This one will get you started:

http://www.eatright.org/resource/homefoodsafety/four-steps/refrigerate/how-to-marinate-safely

My approach in general is not to have meat or poultry etc sitting out more than a hour or so. (The article says two hours is safe). So if you're marinating longer than that, it has to go in the fridge.

With marinades and with meat (etc) in general, make sure you avoid cross contamination. This means, don't use the marinade in your cooked sauce/cooked dish but it also means being mindful of cooking surfaces. Make sure you clean the counter or cutting board immediately before preparing other foods and wash your hands after handling raw meat. 

As to how long things last, Wed to Sat is a safe bet for meat and poultry as long as it's properly refrigerated. Generally, I don't keep uncooked meat in my fridge more than 3-5 days. 

Last but not least, it may have not have been the pork chop that made you sick. 

Dont be discouraged but do be mindful of leaving uncooked food out too long. 

I'd guess that The Joy of Cooking plus Google would tell you everything you need to know. 

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The main thing is cross-contamination. Unintentionally transferring bacteria from one substance or food to an object. Bleach wipes for the counters, faucets, so on. I use straight vinegar for my stove-top, fridge handles.  I have to be very careful because of people with fragile health.  

I'm roasting a turkey tomorrow.  I'll make sure everything is clean as a whistle until the Big Chick is in the oven. Wiping sinks and everything down, UP. :D

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