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Old 10-08-2006, 02:04 PM
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Default Microbiology Case Study/Quizes

An alternative title would be, when Karen gets bored she contemplates odd things... Also I am in two food microbiology classes, this tends to make one think about such things.

First Case: Last night Karen finally got off her lazy butt and went shopping. She bought Meat: pork chops (which were on sale); Produce: broccoli, cauliflower, and a cantaloupe (all also on sale); and Milk (not on sale and I spent an extra dime getting the name brand since I have convinced myself it is better, possibly because it is...).

Question: Which of these has the greatest potential of getting Karen sick, why?

Keep in mind, there is likely more than one right answer, justification is everything in these things, if college has taught me anything it is that. And even if you are totally off it will just amuse me and result in explanatory post that could help others as well. I am not expecting people to know all about this, most of us are not microbiology majors here.

Also I am not going to post my answer to the question until I get enough replies from ya'll, so you can all be in suspense until then but have some control over how long that will be .
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Old 10-08-2006, 02:20 PM
Pollock II
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There are quite a few possibilities to this, and I can easily see where each would make you ill.

1. The meat: If it were stored improperly at the grocery store, you could get sick from that (but I'm also going to assume you're bright enough to pick a good looking and safe looking cut of meat). You could also cook it improperly (but I'm going to assume once more that since you've gone so far in college in the field you have chosen that you're too intelligent to poorly cook meat).

2. The Produce: Pesticides, perhaps?

3. Milk: Uh... is it past it's expiration date? Most likely no, because NO ONE buys expired milk.
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Old 10-09-2006, 07:28 AM
Tuburculosis
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i agree with pollock.it could be any.
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Old 10-09-2006, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Tuburculosis
i agree with pollock.it could be any.
That is a total cop out answer and completely unamusing...
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:00 PM
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i think that it's might be the meat... only b/c there has been a recall on ground beef for e coli. I wodner if there is a death doctor out three purposly doing this...
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Old 10-10-2006, 08:01 PM
Tuburculosis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kskerr
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuburculosis
i agree with pollock.it could be any.

That is a total cop out answer and completely unamusing...
it must be amusing?
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Old 10-10-2006, 09:12 PM
Pollock II
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mazuac
i think that it's might be the meat... only b/c there has been a recall on ground beef for e coli. I wodner if there is a death doctor out three purposly doing this...

She didn't buy ground beef though. She bought pork chops.
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Old 10-10-2006, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuburculosis
it must be amusing?
By amusing I mean a real attempt at answering.
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Old 10-10-2006, 10:45 PM
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Default Karen's Answer

OK so I've likely gotten all the response I'm going to get out of this one so I will break any suspense now.

Of the Meat, Produce and Dairy, the Produce is the most likely to get Karen sick. The milk has been pasteurized which is effective against the vast majority of pathogens, the normal milk flora that survives the pasteurization (pasteurization does not kill everything) are not pathogenic but can spoil milk if it is temperature abused, turning it sour so even if pathogens were also present the milk would be gross and Karen would not drink it, plus Karen is very anal about her milk being kept cold at all times.

The meat, pork chops not ground beef, can in fact carry pathogens, but being that it is pork Karen knows that it must be cooked through and would not want to eat it if it weren't, also to clean up the prep area with hot soapy water after raw meat has touched it. Karen uses a digital meat thermometer to make sure it is at least 165 F (~73.9 C) in the center of the thickest part of the pork chop, she often takes it a bit higher and it is generally recommended to do so (165 F is technically good but since people can mess up taking the temp it is often recommended to take it to 180 F, error on the side of caution). If it were beef then it would have a chance of getting Karen sick since she likes her beef rare, though it is not too dangerous to have steak and other whole muscle products medium or so rare since the vast majority pathogens would be on the surface unless the meat were punctured. Ground beef should be cooked through (though Karen is naughty and often has it medium).

The produce, broccoli, cauliflower and cantaloupe. Many of the recent outbreaks of food borne disease have been linked to fresh produce, this is mostly because people are eating healthier and so these products are being mass produced and so if it gets contaminated somehow it gets widely distributed across the country. This problem has many in food safety scrambling for solutions to prevent this from happening. It is not recommended that you not eat fresh produce, there are major health benefits to doing so, just be smart about it, washing everything is one thing that can help. Cantaloupe can harbor Salmonella on its skin, there have been outbreaks linked to it, Karen likes to take the skin off and then cut it up, also she promptly refridgerates it. Broccoli and cauliflower can have many organisms on them, like lettuce and spinach and the like, most of the time they are not pathogens or at least not to a normal adult. If there are pathogens contaminating them in high enough numbers (highly unlikely) then there is a good chance that Karen could get sick because she does not always cook these products and even when she does she often eats a few pieces raw.

Keep in mind that all of these foods, while having the potential to get one sick are unlikely to. Knowing what I know I am still going to eat some of the broccoli and cauliflower before it is cooked, people do it all the time and most never get ill, it is only when there is contamination that there are problems and contamination is not all that common if you think about it, we'd all be dead or immune to them all by now if it were that prevalent. And it is rare that the contamination is a deliberate act, generally it is an accident.
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Old 10-10-2006, 11:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollock II
There are quite a few possibilities to this, and I can easily see where each would make you ill.

1. The meat: If it were stored improperly at the grocery store, you could get sick from that (but I'm also going to assume you're bright enough to pick a good looking and safe looking cut of meat). You could also cook it improperly (but I'm going to assume once more that since you've gone so far in college in the field you have chosen that you're too intelligent to poorly cook meat).

2. The Produce: Pesticides, perhaps?

3. Milk: Uh... is it past it's expiration date? Most likely no, because NO ONE buys expired milk.
1. Contaminated meat can and often does look and smell completely normal/safe. Thanks for the vote for my intelligence, pork and poultry I am quite anal about properly cooking, beef is where I get naughty.

2. Interesting but pesticides are regulated as to what and when is allowed to be used, highly unlikely one that would poison me would be present.

3. I am very anal about the date on that carton, I have gotten sick from milk that was not stored right (at parent's home not the store, their fridge stunk, recently replaced it at long last), think I could be sensitive to something that is not normally a pathogen or something chemical in milk that is not cold enough, either way I keep my fridge at about freezing, way colder than normal. Also milk tastes gross if it is not cold enough, unless it is in hot chocolate...

Good job (and thanks) thinking about this critically, not bad at all for an english major ! We'll get you converted in no time !
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