Tag Archives: Fun Food fact

A Quick Science Lesson

Chalkboard

Let’s stop and think about what food is for a moment.  Food is organic material, coming from either Plants, Animals, or Fungus.  Meat comes from a slaughtered animal that has been dissected piece by piece and ground up into hamburger meat or dipped in batter to later be fried. Vegetables grow right up out of manure from the ground. Mushrooms are, in fact, a fungus.

Food is inherently unsanitary. Food comes from once-living things that have been harvested, taken apart and repackaged in hopes of arriving at their final destination before decomposition sets in.

In short, food is kind of gross when you think about it, and it can get even grosser if you don’t know how to properly prepare, store and cook it.

Of course, the point we’re trying to make here isn’t just that food starts out icky, but rather, that health concerns should be of the highest priority when working in the food industry.

The fact is that food is not merely prone to come in contact with germs and parasites and the like, but that food is inherently tainted. Food inherently carries bacteria and other pathogens. Keeping food safe for your customers or dinner guests is not a matter of preventing the food from coming into contact with germs, but of keeping those germs to a minimum, killing bacteria through freezing and cooking processes, and in keeping the food as safe and healthy as possible.

The bottom line is that, every time you eat anything, you are ingesting potentially harmful bacteria and all sorts of other nasties, but, fortunately, the human immune system is quite capable of dealing with E. coli or salmonella… in small doses, at least.

With this in mind, we give you…

A Brief Lesson in Pathogens

We’ll begin with a brief definition of a pathogen-

A pathogen, or a germ, is identified as being a biological agent capable of causing disease or illness to its host.

The body itself is capable of defending against common pathogens by way of the human immune system, as well as through helpful bacteria which occur in the human body’s normal flora However, should this defence system, either the human immune system or helpful bacteria be damaged in any way, such as through chemotherapy, HIV, or antibiotics (often taken to kill existing pathogens), then pathogenic bacteria or viruses can easily infect, proliferate and, in some cases, become terminal.

The fact is that every pathogen is capable of killing its host. Without a defence system in place, there is nothing to keep bacteria from simply eating and eating away at the host without cease.

A number of pathogens, such as Yersinia pestis, believed to have been the cause of the Black Plague, and the Malaria protozoa, have been responsible for casualties on a massive scale.

Types of Pathogen

Pathogens can be either viral, bacterial, fungal or pr ionic.

Viral pathogens generally fall into the families of:

· Adenovirida

· Herpesviridae

· Hepadnaviridae

· Flaviviridae

· Picomaviridae

· Retroviridae

· Orthomyxoviridae

· Paramyxoviridae

· Papovaviridae

· Rhabdoviridae or

· Togaviridae.

Notable viral pathogens include smallpox, influenza, measles, chickenpox, Ebola, the mumps and rubella.

Interestingly, the vast majority of bacterial pathogens are either harmless or, in fact, beneficial, but there are those that can lead to infectious disease. The most common bacterial disease is T.B., or tuberculosis, which is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a bacteria which affects about two million people, with the majority being in sub-Saharan Africa.

The most common strains of food borne bacterial pathogen include shigella, campylobacter and salmonella. Pathogenic bacteria can cause infections including tetanus, typhoid fever, diphtheria, syphilis and even leprosy (though this is hardly common in the 21st Century). Bacterial infections are generally dealt with by way of antibiotics.

Fungal pathogens are capable of causing disease in humans, animals and even plants. This type of pathogen typically infects immuno-compromised people or vulnerable individuals with weakened immune systems. The majority of antibiotics cannot be used to treat fungal infections as fungi and their hosts both have eukaryotic cells.

A prion is a pathogen that does not contain nucleic acids. Associated conditions include Mad Cow Disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

Transmission

Pathogens can be transmitted in several ways. Here we’ll deal with airborne, blood borne and food borne pathogens.

Blood borne pathogens are not necessarily transmitted strictly through contact with blood, but can also be transmitted through other bodily fluids such as saliva, mucus and tears.

Airborne pathogens are those which are transmitted through the air. This can include those transmitted through sneezing, coughing, or simply those drifting in the air.

Not to alarm you, but the air you breath is literally packed with all sorts of bacteria and other substances, including, but not limited to, dead skin flakes and microscopic bits of faecal matter. There is simply no getting away from airborne pathogens. While more extreme measures of controlling airborne pathogens may be put in place in places such as hospitals and treatment centres, the primary method for dealing with airborne pathogens is simply in ensuring that they do not cause infection.

The truth is that food will come into contact with pathogens, and so, proper cooking and clean hands are a requisite in keeping these pathogens from spreading and causing infection or disease.

Food borne pathogens are those which are, of course, transmitted through food.

Understanding Salmonella

The chief offender with regards to salmonella would be, of course, poultry. Typically, poultry contracts salmonella due to unhygienic thawing methods. It is of course common to use ice water to thaw chicken, but using, say, warm water, instead, can easily attract bacteria and cause it to multiply. This is because the melt water contains condensation from the chicken, which proves to be a literal Petri dish for the minuscule amount of the bacteria already in the water.

This same principle applies to all other foods, as well. Unclean food, food not prepared to the proper temperatures, food left out for too long are all breeding grounds for the minuscule amounts of salmonella in the water and air to thrive and multiply.

E. Coli

E. Coli, or Escherichia Coli, is a gram negative bacterium most commonly found in the lower intestine of warm blooded animals. The majority of E. Coli strains are, perhaps surprisingly, harmless. Several other strains, however, can be responsible for serious food poisoning in humans.

The harmless strains of E. Coli are actually a part of the normal flora of the human gut and can actually benefit the host by producing vitamin K, as well as preventing the establishment of pathogenic bacteria within the intestine.

E. Coli can typically only survive outside of the body for brief periods of time, however, food that has not been prepared properly makes for a fertile breeding ground for the bacteria, and should infection occur, serious and life threatening complications can possibly take place.

The Severity of the Situation

As mentioned above, pathogens are everywhere. They’re in every meal you eat, they thrive on your hands and they’re in the air you’re breathing right now. It’s simply a fact of life that germs are everywhere, even on Mars (if those fossils recovered in the mid-nineties are to be believed).

The importance of serving safe and hygienic food, then, is quite a priority. We can never ensure that the food that we serve is one hundred percent free of pathogens, but we can, fortunately, make sure that those pathogens are kept to safe enough levels that the average individuals immune system will be able to efficiently deal with any germs that come in contact with the body.

Here we will emphasise the number one point…

Wash your Hands

c4577-2a3602_de0b6f24c2e448fcb3a6160c6ee76830mv2We’ll warn you here and now that you should expect us to “get on our high horse” about this one a few more times before this text is finished. The fact is that keeping your hands clean is the absolute number one best method for preventing the spread of pathogens in a kitchen environment.  Keep your hands clean, apply latex gloves any time you need to come in direct contact with food, and your battle with food borne pathogens is already half-won.

Link’s

  1. Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education 

  2. Food Safety Network 

  3. Foodservice and Hospitality Magazine 

  4. Health Canada 


Bird’s Saliva Is An Expensive Delicacy

 

Let’s forget Caviar and those expensive Truffles, bird’s saliva is the food of the well-heeled, at least in China anyway. Bird’s nest soup, is an expensive delicacy made from rare bird’s nests created from the saliva of small swiftlets. The nests, which have been used in Chinese cooking for over four centuries, are dissolved in water to make a soup which is believed to have exquisite flavour and be of benefit to health. These bird nests are considered to be one of the most expensive animal food products consumed by humans.   

A single bowl of it costs between $30 and $100.  Only the edible nest of the Cave Swiftlet  will do, a nest made entirely out of the bird’s saliva. These nests are high in calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. They are hard when harvested, but partially dissolve into a more jelly-like consistency when boiled into soup.  Harvested nests still sell for as much as $10,000 per kilogram.

Due to the high mineral content of the nests, eating them is believed to enhance lung health, prevents coughs, improve constitution and even promote longevity. The nests are nearly 50 percent protein and 30 percent carbohydrates, with a relatively small amount of inorganic salts and fibre.


Link`s

 


What are your thought`s  let me know in the comments

 

The difference – Shepherd Pie VS Cottage Pie

 

Lets start with a fairly well-known one: there is a difference between “Cottage Pie and “Shepherds Pie, and its in the meat. Shepherds pie should only be named as such if it contains lamb, and “Cottage usually applies to one made with beef.

Homemade Shepherd’s Pie

The name “Cottage was applied to this kind of meat pie around the time potatoes were being introduced in the UK, because they were an affordable for thing for peasants, many of whom would live in cottages, to eat. It seems a bit convoluted but hey, were always an odd bunch with our etymology.

The term “Cottage Pie predates “Shepherds by nearly a century,  but each was used synonymous with the other for a long time.

The Chilean version of “Pastel de Papa, a dish similar to shepherds pie eaten in many parts of the world, also contains hard-boiled eggs, raisins and black olives.

The same dish in France is named hachis Parmentier, after the Frenchman who convinced his country to eat potatoes. Hachis, which takes its root from the English word hatchet, means a dish containing chopped or minced ingredients.

According to the Oxford Companion to Food, once upon a time, Scotland made its shepherds pies with pastry instead of mashed potatoes.

Indian cooks once considered shepherds pie to be a perfect dish for tiffin (a word used to mean a light snack in British India).

Many Vegetarians and Vegans call a meat-free version a shepherd-less pie. Topping the potato crust with breadcrumbs actually turns your dish into a Cumberland Pie.

Although variations of this dish crop up throughout history, no name for it came into use until the introduction of the mincing machine. Before that, the meat would have to be chopped by hand, or made from leftovers.