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food poisoning

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

I recently became a cook in a kitchen, ive probably been cooking for only about 3 months. I love cooking, i want to become an executive chef one day. I definitely have a talent for it, and So far, ive been pretty proud of my work, until today. I served some chicken that was "questionable" in freshness. looking back on it, it smelled pretty bad actually. I had a feeling it wasnt good idea to serve it, and i asked one of the sous chefs what i should do, but he told me it should be fine, so i cooked it anyway. After the dinner service, i found out two people got sick. i feel absolutely terrible and ashamed of myself, and i didnt get  chance to apologize to the customer. i feel too ashamed to even call myself a cook now, even though the chef told me the chicken was ok, i know its still my fault. Has anyone else ever been through something like this?

post #2 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by freddy12712 View Post
 

I recently became a cook in a kitchen, ive probably been cooking for only about 3 months. I love cooking, i want to become an executive chef one day. I definitely have a talent for it, and So far, ive been pretty proud of my work, until today. I served some chicken that was "questionable" in freshness. looking back on it, it smelled pretty bad actually. I had a feeling it wasnt good idea to serve it, and i asked one of the sous chefs what i should do, but he told me it should be fine, so i cooked it anyway. After the dinner service, i found out two people got sick. i feel absolutely terrible and ashamed of myself, and i didnt get  chance to apologize to the customer. i feel too ashamed to even call myself a cook now, even though the chef told me the chicken was ok, i know its still my fault. Has anyone else ever been through something like this?

remember this until the day you stop cooking....  its called poisoning for a reason.

 

 

Question... why didn't you just toss the chicken and get a fresh piece?  If it is fine...ask him to taste it to be sure.

 

Truthfully... if both the Chef and Sous are willing to do something like this... i would be looking for another job.

post #3 of 24
When in doubt, throw it out. By asking someone else you are just passing the buck.

Don't worry to hard on it just learn.
post #4 of 24

Pathogenic bacteria cannot be detected by smell, taste or color. 

If you truly want to learn from this experience you must understand what happened and you will find out it has to do with incorrect handling/storage methods. A food should not get bad before it gets to you, ever.  The proper food handling chain was weakened or maybe broken before you.

That said, a chain is as strong as it's weakest link, Maybe something happened before your step but the chain probably broke at your station (i.e. incorrect internal cooking temperature, maybe).

Like @Canele said, maybe the work ethic/environment is not good to prevent these things from happening again.

Like @chefboyOG said when in doubt don't pass the buck

 

By truly understanding the mistakes the company staff and you have made will make you a better chef. Don't give up your calling just learn to become better.

 

Luc H.

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post #5 of 24

I take it that you are working for someone else, you are not the owner. I am doubtful that some chicken was questionable. 

 

In my neck of the woods, restaurant ratings (an "A" being the best) must be clearly displayed in the window - meaning that appropriate inspectors have come out and & checked for food safety, refrigeration, etc.

 

IMHO, food safety should be followed up/complied with by the owner - not left to employees discretion.
 

Don't lose your passion.

post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerise View Post

IMHO, food safety should be followed up/complied with by the owner - not left to employees...

This is completely, in my Opinion, wrong. Employees MUST be the barrier.

Owners should stay the ^}%]# out of the kitchen. Unless they afe chefowners
post #7 of 24

I wouldn't let this experience deter you from your goals. You've only been in a kitchen for 3 months. You assumed that the protocol was to run it by a supervisor. You assumed you were to follow his or her instructions. It's a lesson learned. Sometimes you can't assume. Common sense and your gut feeling is the best way to go. I know one thing, once you achieve a chefs position, there won't be any bad chicken being served.

I also wouldn't beat myself up to bad. I'm not a scientist, but I don't think you become sick right away after eating. I think it takes a few hours before it shows.

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #8 of 24

I looked it up and foodborne illness can take anywhere from 10 hours to 28 days after ingesting to show itself, depending on the type of illness.

 

I found this info here

 

http://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm103263.htm

OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeniek View Post

I looked it up and foodborne illness can take anywhere from 10 hours to 28 days after ingesting to show itself, depending on the type of illness.

I found this info here

http://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm103263.htm

What did you look up? This ( your)makes no sense either.

Your own link contradicts you. Why state something you have no idea about. People may actual read this.

From your link;

Staphylococcus aureus Staphylococcal food poisoning 1-6 hours
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefboyOG View Post


Staphylococcus aureus Staphylococcal food poisoning 1-6 hours

I concur with this statement above, I was going to say something similar to this in reply.

Food poisoning ranges from nearly immediate to 1 month.

The difference is that immediate poisoning are caused by intoxication by toxins (poisons) produced by bacteria in the food.  Staphylococcus aureus usually lives on our skin, at the wrong temperature (danger zone) it will grow in protein rich foods and create (excrete) a toxin.  It requires time to do this in the food i.e. 6hrs+. That is why I suspect that the mistake was done before @freddy12712 's workstation. Toxins are heat resistant, No amount of cooking destroys toxins. An intoxicated food will still be poison even if the original bacteria is destroyed. Even if the chicken was overcooked, as an attempt to be safe, the damage was done, the chain was broken before the station.

 

Food poisoning that takes several (12+) hours/days to occur are mostly due by pathogenic bacteria or virus' that grow in the GI track.  Listeria monocytogen, for example, grows very slowly and can take several weeks to manifest itself making it one of the most difficult pathogen to track back to the source food (do you remember what you ate up to 1 month ago?).

 

Luc H.


Edited by Luc_H - 6/2/15 at 9:08am
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post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefboyOG View Post


Employees MUST be the barrier.

Yes!

Phrased differently: Every single employee in direct or indirect (i.e. dish washers) contact with food are a crucial barrier for prevention of food borne diseases.  Each step is a link of a chain, if a link fails the chain of prevention fails and cannot be corrected further down the chain.

 

Luc H.

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post #12 of 24

Well, I'm confused now. Which doesn't take much.  

So you can kill the staph bacteria by cooking or pasteurizing but you can't kill the toxins that the staph produces with cooking or past.?

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post #13 of 24

that's correct!

you can't (cannot) cook away the toxins (incinerating does destroy toxins obviously).

additional info: not all pathogen (bad bacteria) make toxins, just a few.

Luc H.

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post #14 of 24

Here is a good reference:

http://www.stopfoodborneillness.org/pathogens-101

 

 

excerpts from this reference

'When an illness is caused by a ingesting a toxin and causes an intoxication it will generally make people sick faster than other foodborne pathogens which cause an infection.

 

What are the symptoms of staphylococcal food poisoning?
Staphylococcal toxins are fast acting, sometimes causing illness in as little as 30 minutes. Symptoms usually develop within one to six hours after eating contaminated food. Patients typically experience several of the following: nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. The illness is usually mild and most patients recover after one to three days. In a small minority of patients the illness may be more severe.

 

Staphylococcal toxins are resistant to heat and cannot be destroyed by cooking.

 

Luc H.

(I used to moonlight as a commercial food safety instructor (Certified Instructor) and have participated in industrial HACCP program implementations....)

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post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by freddy12712 View Post
 

I recently became a cook in a kitchen, ive probably been cooking for only about 3 months. I love cooking, i want to become an executive chef one day. I definitely have a talent for it, and So far, ive been pretty proud of my work, until today. I served some chicken that was "questionable" in freshness. looking back on it, it smelled pretty bad actually. I had a feeling it wasnt good idea to serve it, and i asked one of the sous chefs what i should do, but he told me it should be fine, so i cooked it anyway. After the dinner service, i found out two people got sick. i feel absolutely terrible and ashamed of myself, and i didnt get  chance to apologize to the customer. i feel too ashamed to even call myself a cook now, even though the chef told me the chicken was ok, i know its still my fault. Has anyone else ever been through something like this?


This situation really does suck, honestly. I have been in a very similar situation and because the restaurant was cheap I actually had quite an argument on the subject. I questioned the chef on the freshness of the chicken as I knew it was past it's prime, however he insisted we still serve it. I really wasn't to keen on serving it so I told him my thoughts on the matter. After a little back and forth I ended up throwing the chicken out(which made me happy). He however was not and after the shift there was quite a long conversation in the fridge which I won't get into. All in all I still feel that the restaurant as a whole did the right thing to throw the chicken out. However I was on the chefs, let's call it "not so good side" for a while. Moral is, if it doesn't feel right and  might keep you up at night or question your cooking ability, don't do it.

post #16 of 24

Poor refrigeration of meat can result in any of results related to two large groups of illnesses. Either:

- (Perfringens) Food Poisoning, which takes about 8-16 before it's onset and usually lasts about 24 hours.

or

- Staph(ylococcus), which can develop in as little as 1 hour, is generally less violent, but otherwise has similar symptoms.

 

Either one is worth paying money to avoid, and I cannot imagine a customer knowingly coming back to a place that gave him either one, although with the generic (Perfringens) food poisoning it can sometimes be difficult to know where you got it or which food ingredient was responsible.  Both are related to foods  that were poorly refrigerated or past safe refrigeration age.

 

Inconveniently,

- (Perfringens) Food Poisoning (poor refrigeration or over age)

- Staph(ylococcus)  (poor refrigeration or over age)

- noro viruses, (undercooked food)

- shig, (undercooked food)

- trychanosis (undercooked pork)

- salmonella (undercooked chicken)

- E. Coli, (poor handwashing and other cleaning specifically  rotten garbage, rotten matter on a prep top or fecal matter)

- C. Diff, (poor handwashing and other cleaning specifically  rotten garbage, rotten matter on a prep top or fecal matter)

- Vibrio (sp?) (some small part of seafood will give you this if you eat it raw)

pretty much all of the above, including staph and food poisoning, have the same symptoms.  

 

So if your restaurant makes a customer sick, the restaurateur does not easily know which area of food safety caused it.  He has to carefully examine and overhaul every aspect of what he is doing, from ordering, to refrigeration to hand washing, to cooking times, to holding times, to the distance between garbage can and cook top.

 

Actually, in this case it is  quite a good thing that Freddy knows the exact cause

of the illnesses.  That knowledge, will save the restaurateur a small fortune.  (Careful how you present it though.)


Edited by Bob Hyneman - 6/4/15 at 1:25pm
post #17 of 24
If you can smell the chicken it is definitely bad. The human nose has evolved to be very good at detecting spoiled food.
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post

If you can smell the chicken it is definitely bad. The human nose has evolved to be very good at detecting spoiled food.


maybe true but food that pass the smell test can still harbour pathogens by cross contamination for example.  Correct food handling methods is the only way to avoid any and all pathogens.

 

Luc H.

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post #19 of 24

I'm saying if everything is done right, but it smells bad still, throw it out.  You don't know what happens before delivery.  It might be undetected temperature abuse from the purveyors truck.

post #20 of 24

is it your first time cook this ? do not be so depressed but you should mind it .

post #21 of 24

If a piece of chicken already smells bad, it is way beyond funny. If the sous chef signs off on serving that... well... I think the kitchen has a problem. Don't get yourself worked up, though - you did identify the problem and asked about it. If your chef says - hey, go ahead, it is fine, then it is his fault. If you want to stay in that place is another question

post #22 of 24
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 

yes, the kitchen i work in is like the wild west. its full of cooks that just do what they want and there is little organization. There is little passion or care that goes into the food and there is no real leadership going on. Me and another lead cook,a long with a new sous chef, are working to change that around.

post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by freddy12712 View Post
 

yes, the kitchen i work in is like the wild west. its full of cooks that just do what they want and there is little organization. There is little passion or care that goes into the food and there is no real leadership going on. Me and another lead cook,a long with a new sous chef, are working to change that around.

It can sometimes take a long time to change a culture.  That doesn't man you should quit, but it does mean you should be realistic.  Luck to ya.  I wish you well.

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