5

votes

How many people who prepare meals in advance by dicing or slicing worry about bacteria?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 31, 2011 at 6:10 PM

After thinking about another question asked here on this site about fixing paleo food in a blender then storing it in the fridge, I became curious about what people think about bacterial growth on foods that have been handled a lot by opening up a whole veggie or chunk of meat and increasing it's surface area and exposing it to air thusly inviting bacteria to grow faster.

Don't get me wrong, I see nothing wrong with cubing meat and dicing veggies as long as it is done shortly before it is served. My question is do you think this poses a problem with raw foods that are sliced and diced then set aside or put in the fridge for later use as it pertains to the paleo eating community.

It just seems like it would be specifically imoprtant for people who like raw(er) food.

Has anyone ran into a problem with this?

543ae0f06cde1a20a280ce3bdbc6a3de

(376)

on November 01, 2011
at 02:53 PM

I also heard that the food poisoning in commercial veggies comes not from how they were grown or the veggies themselves but in almost all cases I've heard of, that had an identifiable source, it was the fertilizer used. More to the point it was sprayed or tossed over the veggies instead of being worked into the ground before planting.

543ae0f06cde1a20a280ce3bdbc6a3de

(376)

on November 01, 2011
at 02:44 PM

All the answers have been helpful, each contributed to answereing my question. I guess as long as you keep your instruments clean and don't store things with a high sugar/starch content for too long it all works out fine. The cases of food poisoning here came from store bought or restaurant food that probably was smothered with a thickener or sugars. I will continue to slice and dice right before serving but I won't worry as much about leftovers if fixed paleo or not big box store bought food.

543ae0f06cde1a20a280ce3bdbc6a3de

(376)

on November 01, 2011
at 02:32 PM

I'm beginning to get the picture that the problem with food going bad quiclky is more related to foods with high starch or sugar content when it comes to going bad from common outdoor bacteria. i.e.- veggies or meat go bad faster when smothered in what restaurants consider starchy or sweet sauces and thickeners. Sliced and diced may last considerably longer without the sugars and starch added.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 01, 2011
at 02:41 AM

Other than that I'm a germophile anyhow....there is a difference between cleaning and "sanitizing". I like clean. Watching people rub down with purel or some junk cracks me up.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on October 31, 2011
at 09:08 PM

Yes, James, you are right. I scrub/soak melons and such--all fresh raw foods, really.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on October 31, 2011
at 08:33 PM

There were a large number of listeria deaths recently due to cantaloupe that wasn't processed with clean equipment. So even if you get "clean looking" veggies/fruits, they might still be contaminated and need washing/preparation.

543ae0f06cde1a20a280ce3bdbc6a3de

(376)

on October 31, 2011
at 07:45 PM

I think using clean utensils and surfaces like you stated is the key. I guess I should have added in my question that I was talking more about long term storage of a week or more. If I don't use immediately, I freeze whole.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on October 31, 2011
at 07:21 PM

I store the bulk of my veggies on my counter, same with heartier fruits. Example: I might prep a huge squash and cook 1/2 and reserve 1/2 for a different dish. I go through my food really fast, never been worried about it - I have a meter in my fridge so I always know what temp it is. My only instances of food poisoning or issues have been eating out or while traveling outside the country.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on October 31, 2011
at 06:44 PM

To answer your question more directly, Christoper, I should also say I've sometimes chopped up veggies into large keepers and used them over the course of several days without any problems at all.

543ae0f06cde1a20a280ce3bdbc6a3de

(376)

on October 31, 2011
at 06:31 PM

I'm glad you mentioned your experience with food poisioning being from veggies. There are still many people who worry and meticulously clean before and after preparing meat but not veggies.

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5 Answers

1
9d741bcbe702044635f2ce3078043054

(1435)

on October 31, 2011
at 10:31 PM

I don't have any hard evidence, but I think the reduction in bacterial activity because of low temperatures in the fridge would be greater than any gain in bacterial activity because of an increase in surface area. I would refrigerate anything that has been sliced, diced, or pureed. Any fruits/vegs that are unopened will do fine at room temperature.

0
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 01, 2011
at 02:39 AM

I buy cut up stuff from store and/or cut it up at home. I've eaten many a crock pot meal for breakfast that never made it to the fridge the night before and done the same with other meals. I have NEVER had any issues with food poisoning except for when in college and had a bad meal at the commons. Something went bad, but I bet it wasnt the "veggies or meat" probably more like the 10 gallon jug of whatever sauce they bought (no doubt tons of sugar to feed on).

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 01, 2011
at 02:41 AM

Other than that I'm a germophile anyhow....there is a difference between cleaning and "sanitizing". I like clean. Watching people rub down with purel or some junk cracks me up.

0
8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

on November 01, 2011
at 12:29 AM

The hubby and I have never gotten sick from homemade food (Farmer's market produce, pastured meat and dairy) or at either parents/relatives house.

We use the same cutting board and knife used for veggies/fruits for 2 days before washing. We wipe it off with paper towel after using but not wash with soap/water. Our food processor (only used for veggies), we rinse with water (not soap) after each use, and use it 2 days before putting in the dishwasher. If the produce is muddy, I may scrub with a potato brush and rinse in a colander and leave out to dry a few hours, before I put it on the cutting board or food processor.

For salads with cut-up cucumber, onion, and tomato - I put lemon juice, salt, pepper, and spices and use within 3 days. When I make it these this same salad and add to yogurt, I keep it about 5 days. My understanding is that spices and lemon juice can extend shelf life by having some antimicrobial activity.

We marinate almost all meat and seafood with lemon juice (also tenderizes), salt, and spices. Sometimes I cook we 3 days later and it's still fine.

We do not eat raw cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, celery, summer squashes, and carrots because they give us gas. We enjoy them cooked.

I make my own ginger and garlic paste in a spice grinder, add salt, and put in the fridge -it lasts 1 week for recipes. Food processor sliced leeks, carrots, and onions I can keep 5 days. Sliced mustard greens, collard greens, kale, and bok choy also about 5 days.

We barely eat anything without some salt and spices. Raw salads should have vinegar or lemon juice to reduce microbes.

At the few restaurants we eat out (which is rare), I add lemon/lime to tap water (NO ICE) if non-carbonated spring or mineral water is not available.

I don't buy much pre-packaged/pre-cut veggies at the store because I make it at home fast with the food processor and the shelf life is longer. Who knows how long that produce has been in transit for thousands of miles and whether it was refrigerated properly the entire time??!!

If something smells or looks sketchy - slimy, gets mushier over time, etc, I toss it out right away. Restaurants have low profit margins, so I believe their standards for throwing out old food are lower then yours.

http://books.google.com/books?id=49uwwYNE6GsC&pg=PA325&lpg=PA325&dq=lemon+juice+extends+shelf+life&source=bl&ots=KIzw9_NGxc&sig=c6C8bXvJhcQEc1H60CQoQts40vA&hl=en&ei=_zmvTrPEEoLo0QH21dyyAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CDcQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

543ae0f06cde1a20a280ce3bdbc6a3de

(376)

on November 01, 2011
at 02:53 PM

I also heard that the food poisoning in commercial veggies comes not from how they were grown or the veggies themselves but in almost all cases I've heard of, that had an identifiable source, it was the fertilizer used. More to the point it was sprayed or tossed over the veggies instead of being worked into the ground before planting.

543ae0f06cde1a20a280ce3bdbc6a3de

(376)

on November 01, 2011
at 02:32 PM

I'm beginning to get the picture that the problem with food going bad quiclky is more related to foods with high starch or sugar content when it comes to going bad from common outdoor bacteria. i.e.- veggies or meat go bad faster when smothered in what restaurants consider starchy or sweet sauces and thickeners. Sliced and diced may last considerably longer without the sugars and starch added.

0
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on October 31, 2011
at 07:15 PM

I rarely store vegetables in the fridge, preferring to use them immediately after harvest, or for tomatoes, squash, etc. just store them on the counter until I am ready to use them. I rarely cut vegetables up and store them beforehand, even if I am planning to cook them before eating.

0
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on October 31, 2011
at 06:24 PM

This seems a reasonable question, but in my experience the risk is low if you follow good personal hygiene. I feed my dogs raw meat and I cut up raw meat to freeze in portions for me to eat over a week or so. I also buy whole fresh salad vegetables and chop/dice/slice them for raw salads every day. I'm using the same implements, and even the same cutting board, but I do A LOT of sudsy washing of the tools and my hands and have never had any problems. The only times I've had food poisoning are when I bought bagged chopped greens or when I ate out.

543ae0f06cde1a20a280ce3bdbc6a3de

(376)

on October 31, 2011
at 06:31 PM

I'm glad you mentioned your experience with food poisioning being from veggies. There are still many people who worry and meticulously clean before and after preparing meat but not veggies.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on October 31, 2011
at 09:08 PM

Yes, James, you are right. I scrub/soak melons and such--all fresh raw foods, really.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on October 31, 2011
at 06:44 PM

To answer your question more directly, Christoper, I should also say I've sometimes chopped up veggies into large keepers and used them over the course of several days without any problems at all.

543ae0f06cde1a20a280ce3bdbc6a3de

(376)

on October 31, 2011
at 07:45 PM

I think using clean utensils and surfaces like you stated is the key. I guess I should have added in my question that I was talking more about long term storage of a week or more. If I don't use immediately, I freeze whole.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on October 31, 2011
at 08:33 PM

There were a large number of listeria deaths recently due to cantaloupe that wasn't processed with clean equipment. So even if you get "clean looking" veggies/fruits, they might still be contaminated and need washing/preparation.

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