Friday, August 11, 2006

Keeping food safe in the crockpot ...by Chet

I was reading one of my favorite webpages this morning and found this article about keeping food safe in the crockpot. Bacteria is the last thing we need in our diets. To check out Chets website go to: http://chetday.com Read and learn.

Regarding last issue's question about keeping food warm in the crock, this advice from Linda:As a registered nurse I would not recommend the practice of allowing food to sit in a warm crock pot that wasn't cause food poisoning can be exceptionally detrimental to the young and elderly.

The next letter comes from Eric:
I do all the cooking for my family and I leave by 7:00 am each morning. The items in my crockpot often cook for much longer than the recipe calls for. I have left "8-10 hour" items in for up to 14 hours. The only effect is that they become even more tender and flavorful. My advice, let it keep cooking until you are ready to serve. Bacteria won't grow and you'll get a nice hotmeal.

Then we hear from Debbie Z: Food safety recommendations state that food should not be left out for more than 2 hours. Bacteria grows rapidly in foods that are not kept at the proper temperature. While crockpots or slow cookers are a very safe appliance when used correctly, a timer is not recommended. According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service here are some basic crockpot safety tips. Always defrost meat or poultry before putting into a crockpot. Keep perishable foods refrigerated until preparation time. If you cut up meat and vegetables in advance, store them separately in the refrigerator. The slow cooker may take several hours to reach a safe, bacteria-killing temperature. Constant refrigeration assures that bacterium, which multiply rapidly at room temperature won't get a head start during the first few hours of cooking..Fill the cooker no less than half full and no more than two-thirds full. Keep lid in place, removing only to stir the food or check for doneness. The FSIS web address is: http://www.fsis.usda.gov

And, finally, from Rich W:1] food must be stored at under 40 F or over 140 F",1) turned on for any length of time. Bacterias that can cause food poisoning can be exceptionally detrimental to the young and elderly.

The next letter comes from Eric: I do all the cooking for my family and I leave by 7:00 am each morning. The items in my crockpot often cook for much longer than the recipe calls for. I have left "8-10 hour" items in for up to 14 hours. The only effect is that they become even more tender and flavorful. My advice, let it keep cooking until you are ready to serve. Bacteria won't grow and you'll get a nice hotmeal.

Then we hear from Debbie Z: Food safety recommendations state that food should not be left out for more than 2 hours. Bacteria grows rapidly in foods that are not kept at the proper temperature. While crockpots or slow cookers are a very safe appliance when used correctly, a timer is not recommended. According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service here are some basic crockpot safety tips. Always defrost meat or poultry before putting into a crockpot. Keep perishable foods refrigerated until preparation time. If you cut up meat and vegetables in advance, store them separately in the refrigerator. The slow cooker may take several hours to reach a safe, bacteria-killing temperature. Constant refrigeration assures that bacterium, which multiply rapidly at room temperature won't get a head start during the first few hours of cooking..Fill the cooker no less than half full and no more than two-thirds full. Keep lid in place, removing only to stir the food or check for doneness. The FSIS web address is: http://www.fsis.usda.gov

And, finally, from Rich W: Food must be stored at under 40 F or over 140 F, carry a thermometer and use it. Make certain you reach the level of "done" along with the level of safe. Here are some of my food:safety favorites http://www.ext.nodak.edu/extnews/askext/canning.htm
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/foodsci/agentinfo/
http://www.mel.lib.mi.us/science/foodsaf.html
http://www.fcs.uga.edu/outreach/coopex/index.html
http://www.extension.umn.edu/listing.html?topic\u003d9&subcat\u003d36

One a personal note: I love cooking in my crockpot and I learned a couple of things here. I have never unplugged the crockpot without putting left overs away. I do however put just a small amount of chicken in the pot when TF and I are the only ones eating. I have made soup in the winter time and left it in the pot overnight on low. It is ready to eat in the morning and still at a safe temperature. Glad I read this article.

TF and I have a busy weekend ahead. Have a good one.

7 Comments:

At 4:25 PM, Blogger Mountain Mama said...

{I tagged you on my blog. Check out Another Meme On The Scene.}

I don't use a crockpot anymore. I did when I had my family at home.
I read that many cases of what is thought to be flu are actually food poisioning so we really can't be too careful. I'm glad you did this post and I hope many will read it and learn to be more careful.

 
At 9:23 AM, Blogger Merle said...

Hi Lucy ~~ This is a good post and very helpful. Thank you for sharing that research with us. I am a keen crockpot
user, but I am careful. Take care, Merle.

 
At 12:51 PM, Blogger Big Dave T said...

Regarding the above comment, I love Merle's crockpot meals as she describes them. But I thought some bacteria is (are?) good. Don't they aid in making some beers?

 
At 3:47 PM, Blogger Lucy Stern said...

mountain mama and merle - I have always been pretty careful with my crockpot cooking but I'll have to watch out a little closer to the amounts in the pot.

Big Dave - I know that certain bacteria's in yogurt are good for us. I don't know about bacteria in beer since I don't drink beer. I do know that certain bacteria that grows in food that is not refrigorated is bad for you and will make you really sick. Let Wendy do the cooking and you'll do alright.

 
At 1:03 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

I do what "eric" does, never had a problem so far :o)

 
At 4:20 PM, Blogger Fred said...

So much about crockpots that I didn't know. I need to share some of this with The Missus; I think we're breaking some rules.

 
At 4:36 AM, Blogger An80sNut said...

This is a timely post as I actually will be using the crock pot this weekend. I actually love using it and never have had any issues. I do tend to sear meats before putting them in with stock and veggies to seal in the juices. I believe this also does a good job of starting the meat cooking without it wandering in low temperatures too long. I also think that some people put their stock, wine, water or juice in cold which takes longer to heat up. Why not warm it in a pan or microwave and avoid some of these problems?

 

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