Saturday, June 13, 2009

FoodTV Network Chefs(?) Think We're Stupid!

I guess that being a cook on television is more important to some people than actually preparing food safely and cooking food properly. I'm going to put links to the hazards of raw chicken, specifically the germs, where the germs are mentioned. The links are for Wikipedia articles and not anything I have authored.

My 2 cases in point are :

1. Aida Mollenkamp from Ask Aida. Aside from being a ripoff idea from a Network Food TV Star show runner-up that got a travel food show (which I really like, he's good) she is boring, a llama would be more entertaining and informative. When it comes to food safety however, I have to make that point known when health issues are thrown away. Let me point out that I'm not writing this because I'm anal or a pain in the butt because it's cool or anything like that. I've gone to food safety school(ServSafe) and have been certified, and still am, in proper, legal food handling. This means that I've gotten to see where Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes grow in a kitchen or food service area. According to both Aida AND Robin Miller, it doesn't happen with chicken because they both don't feel the need to wash a potentially bacteria laden chicken before handling and preparing it. Don't poo-poo the above 'germs' because Salmonella is very bad and Listeria is extremely bad. It's not just the raw bird, it's also how it's handled and how clean they are as well. Washing the chicken will not kill bacteria but it will prevent affected 'juices' from spreading on, around, and under kitchen surfaces. When the chicken is washed the hands are getting rinsed as well, even though you really should have plastic gloves on with raw birds but that isn't always an option at home. At least tell home cooks to wash their hands, preferably with an anti-bacterial soap, after handling the raw bird! Dirty hands are one way Listeria can get around and hide in a kitchen. I went into a WalMart store once and the entire Deli dept was closed down due to finding Listeria under a prep table, that's how important it is. Walmart does deal with raw poultry for its rotisserie chickens without washing because the birds are pre-seasoned and kept below minimum temps while holding. The employees are required to be gloved at all times and covered where raw chicken could come into contact with them. This is the legal way to do it. Why be legal if it isn't very important for food safety? They also sanitize the prep areas thoroughly once the chickens are done. No, I don't work for them but I have seen them do it and apply a Quat sanitizer when the room is done being scrubbed. The low holding temps are the only exception to not pre-washing a raw chicken. A kitchen counter exposed to anything in the air, on the counter, or on the cook(hands, nose, skin, eyes, hair, etc.) at room temperature is hardly a controlled raw meat area! BTW, I wrote to Ask Aida and brought this to their attention and never even got an acknowledgment or a correction mentioned to inform their viewers about the dangers of raw meat and bacteria. I was not looking for credit for anything or seeking any mention of me. Just tell your viewers the truth, that's all. Don't let them get sick, or worse, from a script omission.

2. Robin Miller from Quick Fix Meals. Maybe I should say Quick Sick Meals instead! My wife was watched her take a raw chicken from the package and say NOT to wash it because it will leave bacteria in your sink! DUH! She'd rather leave the bacteria on everything it touches and on the chicken I guess but don't make the sink ill! How stupid can people be. Viewers rely on these people to give them reliable and safe advice and here are these two clowns telling people that raw chicken is perfectly safe, so long as you don't get your sink sick. Emeril always said to wash the chicken, and still does on Martha's network, what does he know! What about the people that happen to eat that one piece of chicken that never made it over the temperature danger zone for a long enough time and the bacteria is still alive. Ever see a little blood near a chicken bone? You guessed it! When chicken is cooked properly the juices should run clear. I never hear that any more fro the chefs, except for Alton Brown. That man is trustworthy to cook by because he will take the time to explain kitchen safety in the middle of prep work.

In summary, don't waste a minute of your time with these people. They will make you sick and they just don't care. I tried to find an email to FoodNetwork but it all seems to go to the shows and ScripsNetworks only had a snail-mail address. I did try to get through but Aida evidently wants praise only email.

Okay Aida,

Your show is the Best, Unsafe, and Boring show on TV! Congrats!

ps. Have some dirty undercooked chicken and show us how you feel later.

A final thought, or rather observation of something I watched on Discovery, or the Learning Channel. One of them. How chickens are handled at the packing plant. There were two ways, at the time, they were plucked, gutted and stored. They used to dip the bird in hot water to loosen the feathers for plucking then a machine would reach up inside and gut them. Think about this part. One arm reaching and gutting how many birds in a day without cleaning between birds? Then they used to go into a cold(hopefully) water bath to rinse then onward to packaging. I believe they replaced the water bath with cold air because they were finding that Salmonella was being spread to unaffected chickens through the water and equipment. How about that? What do you know? Aida and Robin better get crackin' and correct them that it could never happen cause 'they say so'!

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