Chicken- is it safe???

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by dreamin_disney, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. goodfood4ursoul

    goodfood4ursoul DIS Veteran

    Sep 3, 2009

    I hear that one a lot.
    Perhaps you have been lucky and perhaps you have thawed food this way so long that you have developed a tolerance to the bacteria and toxins.

    Unfortunately, just because you may have developed a tolerance for certain bacteria, doesn't mean that someone else couldn't get sick from the same food you eat- given the same set of circumstances.

    But that is a common misconception- if I don't get sick from eating it, then nobody will.

    There is another common misconception- that you can kill bacteria and make the meat safe after it sat out too long.
    That is not true either.

    When it comes to uncooked raw foods at room temperature (as well as cooked foods left out)
    remember that once any part of that food rises above 40 degrees F,
    bacteria can double every 20 minutes in that part of the food.

    So when you remember to check your chicken and it's "cool" on the outside, that "cool" temp could be 45 or 50 or even 60 degrees or more.
    I mean, you know for sure that it is cooler than 98.6 just by touching with your hand,
    but otherwise, it's impossible to be sure exactly how cool or warm that food is without checking it with a thermometer.

    To give you an idea of what "doubling every 20 minutes" means.
    If you have only *5* bacteria, in an hour you could have 40.
    hours XXXXXXXXX bacteria
    2 XXXXXXXXX 320
    3 XXXXXXXXX 2,560
    4 XXXXXXXXX 20,480
    5 XXXXXXXXX 163,840

    And yes, this could all happen while the center of your meat is still frozen.
    And as few as 10 bacteria can make you sick :sick:

    The thing about foodborne illness is that there are so many ways to get sick- first from the bacteria, secondly, from the toxins they produce.

    And it's impossible to tell what kind of bacteria you have, what toxin it may or may not produce, just looking at a package of chicken in your kitchen.

    So yes, cooking to the correct temperature does kill bacteria
    it's not necessarily the bacteria that make you sick- it is the toxin that they produce.

    And you cannot kill the toxins with heat.
    All you can do is throw the food out.

    It can be rather difficult to determine what has made a person sick from food.
    Some people pass off an unset tummy or a touch of the runny stuff as something that disagreed with them when it may be food borne illness.

    You see, in a food that has sat out like chicken at room temp for 5 hours,
    those bacteria have enough time to start making toxin.

    First bacteria reproduce or colonize- that takes some time- then they produce or secrete toxins.
    When someone eats something and becomes violently ill right away this is usually what has happened. Both the bacteria and toxins were present and the body does its best to rid itself of the toxins.
    (why do we not have a vomit smilie? :rotfl: kidding! )

    When someone eats something that has sat out for less time, the bacteria have to first reproduce inside the person and then produce the toxin, and that is what happens when someone gets sick hours or even days later.

    Add to that the fact that some bacteria can make you sick from only 10 bacteria present,
    and some need a higher population of bacteria to make you sick
    (your immune system may be able to fight off a smaller amount)
    and of course, the many different symptoms that different bacterial toxins present,
    different incubation periods based on the bacteria involved,
    and it can be impossible to diagnose a specific case of food borne illness without hard evidence like samples of food with bacteria in them and of course stool samples.

    In a recently closed case involving WDW Wild Africa trek and the CDC after 8 months of investigating they were unable to do more than narrow down the culprit to three different foods or possible vectors.

    So, yes, you physically can eat that chicken, it may or may not make you sick, but the likelihood that it will is much higher than if it had been handled safely.
    And who wants to take a chance?

    And no, cooking the heck out of it may not prevent you getting sick.

    The toxins, which are not killed by cooking, could still make you very sick.
    This is actually the case with E. Coli- the toxins attack the intestines, and sometimes move on to the kidneys (HUS).

    With an estimated 73,000 cases of E. coli occurring each year, it's worth talking about how to prevent it.

    E. coli lives in the intestines of cattle primarily, also found in the intestines of chicken, deer, sheep and pigs, but does not affect the animal host at all.

    It is transferred to humans most often through ground meat.
    Slightly undercooked ground meat is often the vector,
    as only 20 bacteria are enough to make you sick- naked to the human eye, you can't smell them or taste them.

    There is more than one version of E. coli, one of them is much harder to kill with antibiotics.

    E. coli is common enough today that HUS- a complication of E. coli infection- is now recognized as the most common cause of acute kidney failure in infants and young children.
    (E. coli can be passed human to human through unwashed hands as well which is usually how infants get it)

    So please :flower3: don't thaw your meat on the counter, especially ground meats.
    Cook them well done every time. Be safe~

    And, as it turns out, some episodes of food poisoning can have lasting effects, like arthritis:

    Please, don't take a chance with your health or your family's.
    Good health is a treasure that can't be bought with money. :thumbsup2

    Here is a great resource if you want to know more:
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  3. pearlieq

    pearlieq <font color=green>They can sit & spin<br><font col

    Aug 3, 2004
    I probably would have cooked it and eaten it. I guess I live on the edge! ;)
  4. disneychic

    disneychic DIS Veteran

    Aug 2, 2001
    I live by the old saying....."when in doubt- throw it out!"

    Sent from my iPad using DISBoards
  5. wdwmom3

    wdwmom3 Mouseketeer

    Dec 16, 2012
    To those who would have cooked it I taj it you have never had food poising. I have. It was the worst. Since then I'm very cautious about how I handle food and what I eat. Definitely live by the rule when in doubt throw it out.

    Food poising can get very serious. As a previous poster mentioned it can cause issues like kidney failure in some. Kids are especially vulnerable. I have a friend who was in hospital with dehydration after getting food poising. I would not want to put my kids at risk. So not worth saving a few bucks.
  6. sarah4770

    sarah4770 DIS Veteran

    Aug 8, 2005
    I am very close to someone who actually got sepsis from e-coli this year. we were not sure if she was gong to make it. A week in the icu and about a month until she was back to herself.
    e-coli is not associated with chicken, salmonella is.
  7. dreamin_disney

    dreamin_disney DIS Veteran

    Feb 28, 2008
    The reason I mentioned that I live in cali is because its been warm here . We tossed it. I dont want to risk getting sick especially with Easter coming up.

    I once ate a cheeseburger from Jack in the box and withint and hour I got so sick. For two days i was sick with vomiting and the other yucky stuff!! I had never beens so sick. To this day I can not eat a cheese burger from Jack in the box and I loved their cheeseburgers. Its been 3 years. For months after getting sick I was cautious of ground beef.
    Chicken I know is more sensitive due to salmonella
  8. goodfood4ursoul

    goodfood4ursoul DIS Veteran

    Sep 3, 2009
    Wow- I imagine that seeing that first-hand is really scary and something you will never forget. :( I am glad your friend is doing better.

    Yes, salmonella is the usual culprit with chicken, but don't rule out many other bacteria, including E. coli.

    Hey, don't take my word for it ;)
    Everyone should always check sources of information because there's a lot of junk science out there on the internet.
    (you should only drink warm water, not cold water; only eat fruit at certain times, etc- junk science-
    because we all know if we see it on the internet, it has to be TRUE) :rotfl: :rolleyes1

    This, according to the USDA:

    "Following are some bacteria associated with chicken:
    • Salmonella Enteritidis
    • Staphylococcus aureus
    • Campylobacter jejuni .
    • Listeria monocytogenes
    • Escherichia coli (E. coli) "

    The link above has detailed info on exactly how those bacteria have come to be linked to chicken,
    and the above list is probably in order of potential contamination, meaning that of all those bacteria, E. coli is least likely but still the potential exists.
  9. Shelly F - Ohio

    Shelly F - Ohio Disney Extraordinaire

    Feb 22, 2004
    My rule is

    "If in doubt throw it out."

    Its not worth the risk of getting sick.
  10. TheShea's

    TheShea's Mouseketeer

    Apr 3, 2010
    As someone who has suffered through a bout of salmonella poisoning, throw it out. Lysol your countertop while you're at it.

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