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Music – “Don’t Eat Food That Has Fallen on the Floor” from Hey Kids, It’s Birthday Party Time! by The Family Party Song Singers. Released: 2010
Most of us, who have ever hung out in the kitchen for any length of time, or who have read cookbooks, knows how critical sanitation is in food preparation. I looked through some of the cookbooks in my collection, to see how this issue has been addressed over the years.
In “Principles of Food Preparation” by Freeland-Graves, published in 1979 and written for culinary professionals, the author indicates that one should not put wet items such as peelings, leftovers or scrapings in the wastepaper basket. It not only encourages rodent infestation, but also “irritable janitors“.
H.L. Nichols, Jr., in “Cooking with Understanding” (1971), after discussing the issues of food, which has been dropped on the floor, he suggests that if the floor was freshly washed and “spotlessly clean”, you can salvage the food for serving. However, he also notes that “It is not necessary to tell your family that part of their dinner was processed on the floor. If you feel like chatting about it, it is tactful to wait until after eating”. Nice touch.
Then, there’s the infamous “five-second rule“, which suggests that if food dropped on the ground has been there five seconds or less, the food is still safe from nasty germs and other assorted disgusting things. I wonder if the germs know they have to wait five seconds before launching an all-out attack?
There are a lot of ideas about food safety, some right, some wrong and some ridiculous. Some folks seem to think leftovers are safe to eat until they smell bad, according to http://www.foodsafety.org. How offensive does the odor have to be before one might eschew the food? I never throw good food away that can be re-purposed into another meal. Take it from me: the freezer is your friend. Germ infested food is not. Now, go out there and mop your floor!