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View Full Version : BBQ Food Catering sickens 30 at parent teacher conference.


Diva Q
02-28-2011, 04:34 PM
This is what worries me about drop off catering: who is to blame?

http://triblocal.com/evanston/2011/02/25/catered-food-sickens-30-at-parentteacher-conference/

landarc
02-28-2011, 04:39 PM
The problem with drop and go, or pickup catering, is that your name is on the food, yet you cannot control how it is stored or served. Then again, maybe the restaurant messed up.

Hoosier Chef
02-28-2011, 04:58 PM
If the food was cooked to proper temperature, it would take a minimum of four hours for the food to develop enough bacteria to make someone that sick. It is a ServSafe rule to throw out any cooked food product after four hours of being outside the temp zone.

If the caterer cooked to temp, delivered and then the customer didn't keep it heated for four to five hours, that is on the customer. How dumb are these people to just let cooked chicken set for up to five hours and then eat it? Regardless of anything else, they share some of the blame.

The other option is that the caterer didn't cook or hold to temp, delivered and then the customer let it sit for 5 hours, which would definitely make 30 people violently ill.

The only way to cover yourself on drop off catering is to take a temp reading when delivered and then have the customer sign off on reheating and storage instructions. If you do that, you are always covered legally.

HBMTN
02-28-2011, 08:30 PM
The fact that no one got sick that ate in the restaurant I feel tells me the food was not handled properly after drop off.

bigdogphin
02-28-2011, 08:55 PM
It would make sense to give the customer a card for holding, and/ or reheating with the food that is dropped off. Kind of like they give you at a take and bake pizza joint. Now it sounds like Merle's #1 BBQ will be known as Merle's #2 BBQ...

Thanks for the post and info its some lessons learned.

theflints01
03-01-2011, 06:28 AM
If the food was cooked to proper temperature, it would take a minimum of four hours for the food to develop enough bacteria to make someone that sick. It is a ServSafe rule to throw out any cooked food product after four hours of being outside the temp zone.

If the caterer cooked to temp, delivered and then the customer didn't keep it heated for four to five hours, that is on the customer. How dumb are these people to just let cooked chicken set for up to five hours and then eat it? Regardless of anything else, they share some of the blame.


Actually, the four hours is the aggregate time out of the food safety zone so you need to take the cooking time of the chicken into account also, until it registers 165 F. If you are cooking chicken "low and slow", you may only have two hours to get the food served before the four hours of total time outside the fsz are up.

I agree they didn't perform their due dilligence in educating the client as how to hold the product. What may seem like common knowledge to us is still a mystery to many in the general public.

Cook
03-01-2011, 08:49 AM
Actually, the four hours is the aggregate time out of the food safety zone so you need to take the cooking time of the chicken into account also, until it registers 165 F. If you are cooking chicken "low and slow", you may only have two hours to get the food served before the four hours of total time outside the fsz are up.

Where did you learn that?

Stoke&Smoke
03-01-2011, 10:03 AM
My wife sometimes thinks I overstress about food being kept at proper temps. This is a GREAT example.

We were at a VFW picnic a couple of years ago. people had deviled eggs, chicken, all kinds of stuff out in the sun, not on ice, for hours, and kept eating. I wouldn't have touched most of it on a bet!:puke:See that a lot at family picnics and such though:tsk:

Three porks
03-01-2011, 10:18 AM
I've read that before too!

Actually, the four hours is the aggregate time out of the food safety zone so you need to take the cooking time of the chicken into account also, until it registers 165 F. If you are cooking chicken "low and slow", you may only have two hours to get the food served before the four hours of total time outside the fsz are up.

I agree they didn't perform their due dilligence in educating the client as how to hold the product. What may seem like common knowledge to us is still a mystery to many in the general public.



Sent from my ADR6300 using Tapatalk

Grabnabber
03-01-2011, 10:29 AM
Merle's has been around for at least fifteen+ years- it was the first place I ate BBQ from a smoker.

Always been a sentimental favorite of mine. :mrgreen:

chachahut
03-01-2011, 10:48 AM
This is exactly why I do not do chicken. Can't count the number of times I've read "group got sick on BBQ chicken". I don't think I've ever heard any issues of folks getting sick on brisket or turkey & even pork incidents seem VERY rare.

Thanks, Hoosier Chef (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/member.php?u=21104) for the temp record & sign off. We give re-heat & hold directions but I did not think about making them sign something with a temp record.

Ford
03-01-2011, 10:54 AM
Once the food hits 165 it's killed all germs that may have started to grow. So the 4 hour window doesn't start until the food hits 140 F - actually 135 now per USDA. Now if there was some bacteria growing before cooking then it would be killed but there could be some residual material (dead bacteria) that could still make a person ill. I'm not familiar with the strain listed in the article but if it's one that just make you have the runs then it could easily be from the above.

Also there's lots of possibilities as to why the chicken was not hot.
1. Was cooked to 165 as whole bird then pulled/shredded and put in pans with sauce. But then the temp was probably 120 or so. Hopefully it was put back in the cooker until it again hit 165. I see this with pork all the time. 180 butts are 125 after pulling and saucing.
2. Meat was pulled from smoker in pans to deliver and sat in a vehicle for an hour before getting to the site. Now if in a Cambro no problem but if not it could be a problem.

And the list goes on and on as to why temps were off. But clearly the client had some responsibility leaving it out unheated for 5 hours.

PorkQPine
03-01-2011, 11:00 AM
If the food was cooked to proper temperature, it would take a minimum of four hours for the food to develop enough bacteria to make someone that sick. It is a ServSafe rule to throw out any cooked food product after four hours of being outside the temp zone.

If the caterer cooked to temp, delivered and then the customer didn't keep it heated for four to five hours, that is on the customer. How dumb are these people to just let cooked chicken set for up to five hours and then eat it? Regardless of anything else, they share some of the blame.

The other option is that the caterer didn't cook or hold to temp, delivered and then the customer let it sit for 5 hours, which would definitely make 30 people violently ill.

The only way to cover yourself on drop off catering is to take a temp reading when delivered and then have the customer sign off on reheating and storage instructions. If you do that, you are always covered legally.

You have two issues here, legal liability and publicity. You may get off on the legal liability part if you have the customers sign off on temp and holding guidelines but the publicity could potentially shut you down. A long term restaurant like Merle's will probably survive but a new caterer or restaurant may not.

Hoosier Chef
03-01-2011, 04:19 PM
Actually, the four hours is the aggregate time out of the food safety zone so you need to take the cooking time of the chicken into account also, until it registers 165 F. If you are cooking chicken "low and slow", you may only have two hours to get the food served before the four hours of total time outside the fsz are up.

I agree they didn't perform their due dilligence in educating the client as how to hold the product. What may seem like common knowledge to us is still a mystery to many in the general public.

Nope. Once to 165 F, you have killed any bacteria in the chicken. That is why you are to cook chicken to 165 F. Once it cools back to 140 (or 135, depending on who you are talking to), you have 4 hours until the food is considered unsafe.

If the customer didn't keep it heated for 5 hours, regardless of what the chef did, they share the most blame. It is impossible to know in this case if the chef screwed up, because the customer didn't keep it heated properly......that is why the local health department didn't site them. If they had eaten after two hours and got sick, that's on the chef.

RICK Allen
03-01-2011, 05:36 PM
No matter who is, to blame it is a P.R nightmare and instead of finger pointing, one must wonder how smart the people teaching our children are , and what, do dilligense, did the restuarant do, and be very thankfull that the runs where the only thing that happened

Hank Daddy's Barbecue
03-01-2011, 07:04 PM
There is lots to learn from this for sure.

I wonder if adding the cost of disposable chaffers to an order is something that should be considered. You can probably do it for $5-$10, including fuel.

Small cost to keep people safe.

RICK Allen
03-01-2011, 07:14 PM
I still believe that , people should be responsible for their own well being,and responsible adults and teachers, should know, enough to keep our little precious ones safe :drama:

OL' Timer
03-01-2011, 11:01 PM
This is what it is and the only time I seen it was in AZ at a Mexican restaurant where the cook had bad bathroom habits. It's found in human intestines.

In the United Kingdom and United States, C. perfringens bacteria are the third-most-common cause of food-borne illness, with poorly prepared meat and poultry the main culprits in harboring the bacterium.[4] (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/#cite_note-O.T.M-3) The Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/wiki/Enterotoxin) (CPE) mediating the disease is heat-labile (dies at 74 C) and can be detected in contaminated food, if not heated properly, and feces .[6] (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/#cite_note-M.D.T-5)
Incubation time is between 6 and 24 (commonly 10-12) hours after ingestion of contaminated food. Often, meat is well prepared but too far in advance of consumption. Since C. perfringens forms spores that can withstand cooking temperatures, if let stand for long enough, germination ensues and infective bacterial colonies develop. Symptoms typically include abdominal cramping and diarrhea; vomiting and fever are unusual. The whole course usually resolves within 24 hours. Very rare, fatal cases of clostridial necrotizing enteritis (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/wiki/Clostridial_necrotizing_enteritis) (also known as Pig-Bel) have been known to involve "Type C" strains of the organism, which produce a potently ulcerative β-toxin (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/wiki/Clostridium_perfringens_beta_toxin). This strain is most frequently encountered in Papua New Guinea (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/wiki/Papua_New_Guinea).
It is likely that many cases of C. perfringens food poisoning remain subclinical (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/wiki/Subclinical), as antibodies (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/wiki/Antibody) to the toxin are common among the population. This has led to the conclusion that most of the population has experienced food poisoning due to C. perfringens.[4] (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/#cite_note-O.T.M-3)
Despite its potential dangers, Clostridium perfringens is used as the leavening agent (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/wiki/Leavening_agent) in salt rising bread (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/wiki/Salt_rising_bread). The baking process is thought to reduce the bacterial contamination, precluding negative effects.[7] (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/#cite_note-6)

Mad About Que
03-11-2011, 05:37 PM
i know i'll prolly get flamed for this.. but cooked chicken (make that, properly handled and cooked chicken) , that has sat for 5 hours in itself ain't gonna kill anyone. if you read that, the joint had a 91 last inspection.. and not long before that was shut down (SHUT DOWN) for temp issues. now, been in the food biz for a long time. Have had some temp issues here and there. mostly on the line (too full of pans, etc..) and took hits. but to be shut down? i'm not eating there..ever.

my guess is that 5 hours on the table was the last 5 hours. figure some time before that it sat at the restaurant. my guess is that their handling of the meat, at any point, was at fault. not saying that leaving the food on the counter was a great choice. not safe and not smart. but enough to get you sick? better to be safe than pooping..er..sorry..

lil snip from wiki on that bug.

"In the United Kingdom and United States, C. perfringens bacteria are the third-most-common cause of food-borne illness, with poorly prepared meat and poultry the main culprits in harboring the bacterium.[4] (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/#cite_note-O.T.M-3) The Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/wiki/Enterotoxin) (CPE) mediating the disease is heat-labile (dies at 74 C) and can be detected in contaminated food, if not heated properly, and feces .[6] (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/#cite_note-M.D.T-5)
Incubation time is between 6 and 24 (commonly 10-12) hours after ingestion of contaminated food. Often, meat is well prepared but too far in advance of consumption. Since C. perfringens forms spores that can withstand cooking temperatures, if let stand for long enough, germination ensues and infective bacterial colonies develop. Symptoms typically include abdominal cramping and diarrhea; vomiting and fever are unusual. The whole course usually resolves within 24 hours. Very rare, fatal cases of clostridial necrotizing enteritis (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/wiki/Clostridial_necrotizing_enteritis) (also known as Pig-Bel) have been known to involve "Type C" strains of the organism, which produce a potently ulcerative β-toxin (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/wiki/Clostridium_perfringens_beta_toxin). This strain is most frequently encountered in Papua New Guinea (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/wiki/Papua_New_Guinea).
It is likely that many cases of C. perfringens food poisoning remain subclinical (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/wiki/Subclinical), as antibodies (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/wiki/Antibody) to the toxin are common among the population. This has led to the conclusion that most of the population has experienced food poisoning due to C. perfringens.[4] (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/#cite_note-O.T.M-3)
Despite its potential dangers, Clostridium perfringens is used as the leavening agent (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/wiki/Leavening_agent) in salt rising bread (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/wiki/Salt_rising_bread). The baking process is thought to reduce the bacterial contamination, precluding negative effects.[7] (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/#cite_note-6)"

Hoosier Chef
03-11-2011, 11:01 PM
i know i'll prolly get flamed for this.. but cooked chicken (make that, properly handled and cooked chicken) , that has sat for 5 hours in itself ain't gonna kill anyone. if you read that, the joint had a 91 last inspection.. and not long before that was shut down (SHUT DOWN) for temp issues. now, been in the food biz for a long time. Have had some temp issues here and there. mostly on the line (too full of pans, etc..) and took hits. but to be shut down? i'm not eating there..ever.

my guess is that 5 hours on the table was the last 5 hours. figure some time before that it sat at the restaurant. my guess is that their handling of the meat, at any point, was at fault. not saying that leaving the food on the counter was a great choice. not safe and not smart. but enough to get you sick? better to be safe than pooping..er..sorry..



I would agree with you, but ServSafe rules state anything sitting over 4 hours out of temp is to be thrown out. If you deviate from that, the health dept will take a giant poop on you when someone gets sick. I am of the opinion that the chef didn't cook or hold it correctly and then the customer didn't serve for 5 hours. The perfect storm that sent 30 people to the porceline thrown for many hours of hell.