Should I eat this?
January 21, 2019 2:43 PM   Subscribe

 
After watching this video via Digg email, I wouldn't trust anything from "chubbyemu."
posted by 41swans at 2:47 PM on January 21, 2019 [1 favorite]




Spooky as hell.
In the original case, it seems there was no economic pressure on the young man — he was Belgian, he didn’t have to worry about crushing debt. But this is a valuable lesson for those of us who do have to think about it. And it adds a pointer about not taking Pepto-Bismol at a time like that, either.
posted by Countess Elena at 3:07 PM on January 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


Huh. That's not "food poisoning" in the way that I usually think of it, which is ingestion of a virus or bacteria that then colonizes the human gut and leads to... unpleasantness. This (per the journal article) was literal poisoning, in that the food was full of bacteria-produced toxins when it was consumed. Reheating it didn't help, because the toxins themselves don't break down easily with heat.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:08 PM on January 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


That's an awful story. I hate leftovers, because they always ping my "This isn't food/this isn't safe" pattern in my brain but you have to eat them in order to be frugal and responsible. Basically I wish we could all eat good fresh food as much as we want whenever we want. My hubby has a big pot of spagetti sitting on the stove since yesterday and I want to throw it away but he'll get mad and say I'm being hysterical. Ugh.
posted by bleep at 3:10 PM on January 21, 2019 [15 favorites]


That's not "food poisoning" in the way that I usually think of it, which is ingestion of a virus or bacteria that then colonizes the human gut and leads to... unpleasantness.

I think food poisoning just means you ate something that had virus or bacteria on it that hurt you in some way. I don't see how this isn't food poisoning.
posted by bleep at 3:11 PM on January 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


"In this case, the spaghetti had been kept at room temperature for several days." (insert look of horror)

Folks, I lean on the 'eat it' range of AskMe but this is a big no. If I recall correctly, old rice is especially notorious for causing extremely dangerous bacterial overgrowth with toxin production.
posted by cobaltnine at 3:12 PM on January 21, 2019 [74 favorites]


Your spaghetti should be safe, bleep. According to the article it sounds like the leftovers were left out on the counter for five days. "On 1 October 2008, a 20-year-old man became sick after eating a meal of leftovers of spaghetti with tomato sauce, which had been prepared 5 days before and left in the kitchen at room temperature." Which, ugh, why would anyone eat something left in a warm kitchen for five days?!

Oops, cobaltnine beat me to it!
posted by wilky at 3:13 PM on January 21, 2019 [15 favorites]


Food poisoning describes the symptoms and can be caused by bacteria/viruses or by the toxins they leave behind. I think nowadays.

The video claims that the "student" kept the contaminated pasta in the refrigerator, but the case study says it was kept at room temperature. That is a huge, misleading inaccuracy.
posted by muddgirl at 3:17 PM on January 21, 2019 [12 favorites]


IIRC the video said that the food was left out but put back in the fridge by a roommate that didn’t know how long the food had been left out.
posted by Ampersand692 at 3:19 PM on January 21, 2019 [11 favorites]


the pasta was left out at room temperature for two days after it was cooked. the roommate saw it on the counter and thought it was only a few hours old and put it into the fridge. it was then eaten some days later, a full 5 days after its preparation.
posted by poffin boffin at 3:21 PM on January 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


I thought it was mentioned in the video that the story of AJ is used for teaching and an amalgamation of more than one individual case.
posted by tclark at 3:21 PM on January 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


23skidoo - it doesn't pass any smell tests. There is no proof that any of it happened. Gummy vitamins are expensive and gummy candy is cheap. The whole thing seems incredibly made-up.

All the comments are super fawning, or at least they were when I saw it via Digg. That is also something that doesn't pass the smell test.
posted by 41swans at 3:22 PM on January 21, 2019


people for fuck's sake if i, a barely human pile of sentient blankets, can bring myself to watch a 13 minute video with captions then literally any life form can do so.
posted by poffin boffin at 3:22 PM on January 21, 2019 [61 favorites]


I avoid clickbait and the title plus misleading opening re-enactment are clickbait.
posted by muddgirl at 3:27 PM on January 21, 2019 [11 favorites]


Shit I was feeling kinda unwell about a month ago and I drank a small bottle of pepto early in the evening. Later on, I was pretty ill, vomiting a number of times, but I figured it was the half bottle of rum I had consumed at the time... next day, I realized that wasn't enough liquor to make me that sick..


Now I know.
posted by some loser at 3:27 PM on January 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


(I had eaten some questionable leftovers earlier that day)
posted by some loser at 3:28 PM on January 21, 2019


That's an awful story. I hate leftovers, because they always ping my "This isn't food/this isn't safe" pattern in my brain but you have to eat them in order to be frugal and responsible.

Eating leftovers is perfectly safe, but you have to be sensible about them, just like raw food. Refrigerate if it's the sort of thing that can go off at room temperature, freeze if you're not going to eat it within a few days, and don't eat it if it smells funny.

As for the video: this is not one specific case (at least, not the one linked), it's an amalgam of cases as an example.
posted by jb at 3:30 PM on January 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


What time in the video can I go back to so I can see that part?

Nevermind, I watched a couple other of his videos and it was probably mentioned in one of the others. Apologies for the confusion.
posted by tclark at 3:31 PM on January 21, 2019


I thought all these “case studies” had to be fictionalized because of HIPAA. I don’t think any disclaimers were in the video though; I’ve read textbooks that had sidebars like this and there was a disclaimer in the book somewhere so I just assumed there was a disclaimer somewhere around, you know, like the gorilla you don’t see in the basketball-passing video.

I went to the hospital for food poisoning once and I had drank some Pepto prior to going. The ER folks were very happy I had told them that, and they also told me to stay away from that stuff from now on. It tastes gross and doesn’t do anything anyway so I didn’t mind giving it up.
posted by Ampersand692 at 3:31 PM on January 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


I don't know about the clickbait battle here, but I freak out at this weird notion some people seem to have that "Medicine is good for you, so more medicine is better for you, no matter the diagnosis."

I keep thinking of people who save antibiotics for later use on viral infections such as influenza or rhinovirus, and my teeth start grinding. I also am halfway through the video linked to by the first commenter here and don't see the problem with it unless you're a Scientologist who believes what L. Ron Hubbard says about Vitamins being a magical panacæa that removes the need for actual medical science.

People, don't just take medicines (or vitamins!) like it's a remote control with only one button!
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:41 PM on January 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


Actually I take it back -- he did mention that this is a composite story, near 13:16. "Based on some famous toxicology cases that all unfortunately had the same ending, this one modified to teach residents and fellows about (various things)."
posted by tclark at 3:42 PM on January 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


“The actual production of cereulide was also confirmed by the boar sperm assay.”
I’m not familiar with this assay, but I sympathize with the poor underpaid tech who needs to collect the sperm. The techniques are left to the reader, but watch for the tusks.
posted by sudogeek at 3:45 PM on January 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


My partner is a microbiologist who likes to batch cook and has a rice addiction. I work in a field adjacent to food safety.

The howling arguments we have about eating well-aged rice in the refrigerator are legendary, and only resolved by my partner agreeing to list me as the beneficiary of their life insurance.
posted by Laetiporus at 3:45 PM on January 21, 2019 [53 favorites]


HIPAA doesn't apply in Belgium, and anyway there's pretty broad license to discuss cases as long as they don't include identifying information. Typically patients will be described as "23-year-old male" or whatever.

I mean, if you think the people at the hospital don't talk about their patients (while carefully avoiding using their names or saying where they work or anything like that) I have some bad news for you.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:49 PM on January 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


The ER folks ... told me to stay away from [Pepto-Bismol] from now on.

Awwww, but it's such a festive shade of chalky pink!!
I haven't used the stuff since I was a kid, and have no plans to change that
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:50 PM on January 21, 2019


The discussion of AJ's death was really weird. He just started talking about the autopsy and post-mortem samples and I was like.... oh. AJ died. I feel like that is not the kind of thing I should have to pick up from context clues? But that's what I get for watching a 13-minute video with the title of a Buzzfeed article, I guess.
posted by sockermom at 3:52 PM on January 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


Sudden Death of a Young Adult Associated with Bacillus cereus Food Poisoning reference "The actual production of cereulide was also confirmed by the boar sperm assay" leads to A Novel Sensitive Bioassay for Detection of Bacillus cereus Emetic Toxin and Related Depsipeptide Ionophores "The assay is based on the loss of motility of boar spermatozoa upon 24 h of exposure"...

(As sudogeek already spotted)
posted by readinghippo at 3:53 PM on January 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


Pepto Bismal is delicious and I yearn for a drink, food, or candy that has the same taste.
posted by GoblinHoney at 3:58 PM on January 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


Youtube recommends this channel to me occasionally after I watched his video based on Professor Karen Wetterhahn's mercury poisoning. I assumed it was classroom oriented dramatised medical cases (I'm sure there's an actual word for that), just with a youtube friendly presentation.
posted by lucidium at 4:00 PM on January 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


I’m not going to wank off a boar into my noodles every time I need to figure out if they’re safe to eat geez
posted by um at 4:01 PM on January 21, 2019 [42 favorites]


why don't you care about food safety, um
posted by poffin boffin at 4:03 PM on January 21, 2019 [17 favorites]


Pepto Bismal is delicious and I yearn for a drink, food, or candy that has the same taste.

It's flavored with wintergreen, if that's any help.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:03 PM on January 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


wank off a boar into my noodles

The Never-Ending Quest for Umami
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:04 PM on January 21, 2019 [38 favorites]


There once was a statistician who drowned in a lake with an average depth of less than 3 feet. Which is just to say, This can happen but not often. So if it does happen to happen to you, then you should be as afraid as this article is trying to make everyone else be, all for naught.

tl;dr Your immune system's batting average is extremely close to perfect, so its very likely to be just fine.
posted by Fupped Duck at 4:06 PM on January 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


I'm not going to watch the video but I'd like to know why Pepto Bismol is bad.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:07 PM on January 21, 2019 [13 favorites]


In return for this vital information, I will not relate the story of the time I took tetracycline and it made me queasy so I then had a couple Alka-Seltzer.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:08 PM on January 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


Huh. That's not "food poisoning" in the way that I usually think of it, which is ingestion of a virus or bacteria that then colonizes the human gut and leads to... unpleasantness. This (per the journal article) was literal poisoning, in that the food was full of bacteria-produced toxins when it was consumed. Reheating it didn't help, because the toxins themselves don't break down easily with heat.

I believe that several common kinds of bacterial food poisoning are "indirect" like this.
posted by atoxyl at 4:09 PM on January 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


The toxin made by the bacteria in the days-left-out pasta disrupt the liver, Pepto Bismol is closely related to aspirin, and a lot of that (AJ drank a whole bottle, in the story) can also disrupt the liver's metabolism, both combined made a bad problem way worse.
posted by tclark at 4:10 PM on January 21, 2019 [23 favorites]


Not just aged rice, Laetiporus...

Stuff which I thought was perfectly normal seems to now be considered extremely unsafe food practice. One thing we did was boil some kind of chicken soup on the stove, eat what we wanted, then bring it back to a boil and put the lid on and then just... leave it there, assuming that the inside of the pot was now "clean" and the pot being sealed it should keep just fine until the next time we wanted to eat it at which point we'd bring it to a boil again. So yeah, chicken soup, slowly cooling from a boil over 24 hours, in tropical temperatures. I tried doing that and my friend in Australia was aghast at me.
posted by xdvesper at 4:11 PM on January 21, 2019 [10 favorites]


I'm not going to watch the video but I'd like to know why Pepto Bismol is bad.

Basically, the liver problems the subject had were exacerbated by the aspirin overdose caused by the Pepto Bismol (in the case, the subject drank a whole bottle). Both the initial poisoning and the aspirin overdose have the same effect of damaging mitochondria and causing cell death, if I understood the video correctly.
posted by chrominance at 4:11 PM on January 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


I was horrified by this when I read the linked study. Then I forgot about it and after a while decided what I really wanted to eat tonight is spaghetti, because mmm spaghetti. Apparently that's all my brain took away from this.
posted by limeonaire at 4:14 PM on January 21, 2019 [36 favorites]


> There once was a statistician who drowned in a lake with an average depth of less than 3 feet. Which is just to say, This can happen but not often. So if it does happen to happen to you, then you should be as afraid as this article is trying to make everyone else be, all for naught.

That wasn't a fun limerick.
posted by lucidium at 4:15 PM on January 21, 2019 [77 favorites]


But wait... at the 28 second mark... why is he writing sideways with an upside-down fountain pen nib? It gave me pain in my abdomen to see that penmanship.
posted by rh at 4:16 PM on January 21, 2019 [12 favorites]


Perhaps it's not the goal of the video - which clearly seems to be directed at med students who will be dealing with patient intake - but I wish they'd provided some statistics.

I'd guess that this isn't a one in one thousand event, since so many of my friends remain alive. Is it one in one hundred thousand? One in a billion? I do a lot of things that involve a risk of death somewhere between those. Two-day-old pasta isn't among them. But, "fell asleep" six hour pasta certainly is. As someone who's only significant marriage conflict involves being on the "throw it away" side of "can I eat this" questions, I'm not sure a single extreme case study will help.
posted by eotvos at 4:20 PM on January 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


rh, left handed compensation for slow drying ink and a right handed script. I knew someone that would turn the paper fully sideways and write vertically downwards, personally I just have an extremely angled scrawl.
posted by lucidium at 4:23 PM on January 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


23skidoo - it doesn't pass any smell tests. There is no proof that any of it happened. Gummy vitamins are expensive and gummy candy is cheap. The whole thing seems incredibly made-up.

I have never eaten an entire bottle of gummy vitamins, but I have definitely eaten an overflowing handful. Kids are, what is known in scientific circles as, "incredibly stupid". I also used to eat the big vitamin C pills that are chewable and slightly sweet... also by the handful.
posted by runcibleshaw at 4:27 PM on January 21, 2019 [10 favorites]


So...how long can I leave rice in the fridge and not be worried about eating it? I didn't know it was problematic. (I know to not eat it if it's turned colors...)
posted by leahwrenn at 4:33 PM on January 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


The thing I learned from this is: never live with another human being because they might accidentally kill you
posted by Automocar at 4:33 PM on January 21, 2019 [33 favorites]


My mother-in-law tends to cook food early in the morning, leave it at room temperature for the day, then heat it up on the stove at dinnertime. This severely tweaks my food-safety instincts, but she's 80 and hasn't got sick from it yet. I still promptly refrigerate my own cooked food, though.
posted by Daily Alice at 4:34 PM on January 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


One thing that was fishy was that they said there wasn't enough time to culture bacteria, and then later they said they had samples of the pasta and his vomit. Would that have been enough to identify the bacteria?
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 4:35 PM on January 21, 2019


he wuz dead by then
posted by some loser at 4:36 PM on January 21, 2019


Would that have been enough to identify the bacteria?

Or, for that matter, the boar semen?
posted by aspersioncast at 4:44 PM on January 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


Some people need an excuse to put boar semen on their noodles.

SOME People.. but not this guy!
posted by some loser at 4:47 PM on January 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


I have never eaten an entire bottle of gummy vitamins, but I have definitely eaten an overflowing handful. Kids are, what is known in scientific circles as, "incredibly stupid". I also used to eat the big vitamin C pills that are chewable and slightly sweet... also by the handful.

It isn't the intelligence of the child that I question here - it is the intelligence of the parent in this made-up story, who buys bottle after bottle of expensive gummy vitamins because they think they are candy. It is super convenient that they didn't appear for the the followup visit in whatever "big city" they lived in, because madeup people generally don't. Can't find out more about imaginary people when they don't come to that important 2nd visit.
posted by 41swans at 5:11 PM on January 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


As a certified bore, and someone currently experiencing financial difficulties, I'm available for pasta consultation. Though I have a lot of experience, advanced age limits me to three or so clients per day, unless your pasta is particularly novel.
posted by maxwelton at 5:15 PM on January 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


My mother-in-law tends to cook food early in the morning, leave it at room temperature for the day, then heat it up on the stove at dinnertime. This severely tweaks my food-safety instincts, but she's 80 and hasn't got sick from it yet.

Whenever I complained to my mom about food safety she would say "I haven't killed you yet". I'll let you know if she is ever wrong.
posted by srboisvert at 5:25 PM on January 21, 2019 [15 favorites]


heh.. I picture my own mom saying the same sort of thing at my funeral "I don't understand what happened... we ate it, and we're FINE!"
posted by some loser at 5:28 PM on January 21, 2019 [13 favorites]


My in-laws grew up in a pre-refrigeration tropical climate and culture with household help. As a result, no one ever taught them food safety best practices and my wife was not educated about the benefits of prompt refrigeration either. Her family practiced the one-day-on-the-stovetop safety rule and to this day I get yelled at if I put stuff away on the sly at her folks' place. I put my foot down about it here though - she's immunocompromised for god's sake, and doing it the way mom amd dad did could kill ya! This horrifying story might be shared to good, inside-baseball, importance of healthy-disagreement, prankish loving effect.
posted by mwhybark at 5:35 PM on January 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


Whenever I complained to my mom about food safety she would say "I haven't killed you yet". I'll let you know if she is ever wrong.

Man, I really hate this line of thinking/speaking. Like anything short of death is okie dokie. No matter if you've got mind-bending diarrhea and vomiting, or go to the hospital for dehydration!
posted by witchen at 6:02 PM on January 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


Hey, this stuff is for real. It doesn't happen *every* time you eat five day old poorly refrigerated food, but it does happen. More importantly, when it happens - the truly spectacular/horrible food poisoning extremes are possible. When I was in culinary school, we had to do HACCP certification. It is critical that somebody in a restaurant is accountable for food safety - think of kitchen nightmares and then put people's bad behavior and lack of thought into the equation: there is a massive liability here.

E coli are pretty mild - all things considered, and people lose their shirts when there is an outbreak... imagine one vat of rice or pasta held improperly for just long enough for something to colonize. Add to that everyone's favorite botulism can of tomato sauce - and holy shit... its a wonder people actually eat out. These little parasites and bacteria and viruses are that whole biblical prophecy of the meek inheriting the earth. And if enough of these things are in your food - it is close enough to the scene where the Alien bursts out of the guys chest - a horribly painful way to die.


So... when you ask me of 'should I eat this?' There's the official answer of 'no'. Then there's the 'it can't happen to me' answer of 'yes' and then there's the real horrible mental calculus that goes off in my head of which bug grows in the food groups being asked about... and the worst case calculus of - meh - they'll pay, but they'll live...
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:09 PM on January 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


it is the intelligence of the parent in this made-up story, who buys bottle after bottle of expensive gummy vitamins because they think they are candy.

At approximately 0:40 - 1:30 minutes into the video he states that the mother immigrated to America and did not speak English. They were under the assumption that the gummy vitamins were candy.
posted by GhostChe at 6:23 PM on January 21, 2019


This thread reminds me that when I was a teenager, I was particularly fond of the taste of a Domino's pizza left out overnight. Reheating wasn't the same. My mom, being an MD, put a stop to that posthaste.

Now that I think about it, the title Sudden Death of a Young Adult Associated with Bacillus cereus Food Poisoning sounds like one of those spooky paintings they used to have on the cover of JAMA.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:25 PM on January 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


This would scare me but I only have time for one health fear and I already chose necrotizing fasciitis.
posted by M-x shell at 6:32 PM on January 21, 2019 [23 favorites]


“IIRC the video said that the food was left out but put back in the fridge by a roommate that didn’t know how long the food had been left out.”

I struggle with this at work sometimes. Just because it’s in the fridge and cold doesn’t mean that it has been like that its entire lifespan. And offices are such a revolving door of people from different backgrounds and upbringings, it could well be that some forgetful person left an item on the counter overnight, and some well-intentioned person put it in the fridge the next morning. Luckily, I mostly only take milk from the fridge, and it’s pretty obvious when that has gone bad.
posted by mantecol at 6:43 PM on January 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


It's flavored with wintergreen, if that's any help.
In Mexico it's flavored with liquorice, which is a good thing to know before you take a swig expecting otherwise.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 6:54 PM on January 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


@ um I corrected your spelling

I’m not going to wank off a boar into my noodles every time I need to figure out if they’re safe to eat jizz
posted by raccoon409 at 6:58 PM on January 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


Pepto Bismal is delicious and I yearn for a drink, food, or candy that has the same taste.

Necco wafers sure as hell get the texture right and they have a wintergreen flavor which is even pink.
posted by vogon_poet at 7:11 PM on January 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


This strain is associated with fried rice syndrome, since restaurants sometimes make a big batch of rice hours before it's served, and the spores apparently make it all the way to the buffet (or the fridge)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:17 PM on January 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


It is critical that somebody in a restaurant is accountable for food safety - think of kitchen nightmares and then put people's bad behavior and lack of thought into the equation: there is a massive liability here.

To this day friend visibly shudders whenever he recounts a story from his younger-chef days. While the restaurant owner was making himself a sandwich he grabbed a knife that my friend had been cutting RAW CHICKEN with, dunked it into one of those big restaurant size tubs of mayonnaise, and slathered mayo on his bread. When my alarmed friend pointed out how really bad an idea that was the owner just nonchalantly shrugged it off. My friend immediately tossed the still-mostly-full tub in the trash as soon as the owner wasn't looking (and washed the knife).

It's frightening to think of how many similar compromised-food situations have happened in restaurants all over the world but were never noticed.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:19 PM on January 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


oh yeah like the dude at my fave italian deli who handled raw sausages and then wiped his hands on his nasty apron before preparing the next guy's sandwich... I miss that place, but I'm also alive so.. win?
posted by some loser at 7:41 PM on January 21, 2019


Came for the boar semen jokes

Came from the boar semen jokes

Please keep boar semen jokes at comical degrees for hilarious lengths of time

Learning to read the room: Why boar semen and room temperature may not be hot enough

The Boaring Company: Why every thought I have while high is worth a few hundred million at least

Everywhere he looked, the bor’s’men lurked, ready to squirt out of the shadows. Right into his left eye

Seriously though, counter pasta and boar semen don’t mix. Unless you shake it

Chairman of the Boared: Hot Sausages III

So boared
posted by bigbigdog at 8:14 PM on January 21, 2019 [12 favorites]


Do medical researchers commonly just pour boar jizz onto stuff in the hope that it will help with whatever they're doing? Like, if they're running some kind of maximum-likelihood model and it won't converge, do they pour boar jizz on the computer? Is it a libation that appeases Asclepius? O noes, my petri dish won't grow its filth, [singing] pour some boar jizz on it [/singing]?

Or was this an accident where they were just having a boar-jizz fight, like ya do, and noticed that the boar jizz that fell into the relevant samples didn't look as happy and healthy as the boar jizz that was literally everywhere else? Was there some guy in the lab whose response to every query was a sarcastic "Why don't your pour boar jizz on it?" and the chief eggheads stopped and were all "I know you're joking, but you may be on to something?"

At any rate, you can expect this lab must have spectacularly healthful backs. Because of all the boar jizz. That they're injecting into their own arms.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:29 PM on January 21, 2019 [15 favorites]


It's frightening to think of how many similar compromised-food situations have happened in restaurants all over the world

Oh man. I'm pregnant, and I know that lately it's cool to, you know, have read Expecting Better and be all liberated about food rules, but that is not me. I pretty much eat nothing at restaurants that I don't see come out steaming hot. I get takeout and then microwave the burger with lettuce until the lettuce is steaming. And yeah, I have no idea how to think about botulism risk, since cooking doesn't kill it.

Also, someone needs to teach these kids the 2 hour / 4 hour rule. (Not days! Hours!)
posted by slidell at 8:33 PM on January 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


Canada Mints = Pepto Candy
posted by clseace at 8:40 PM on January 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


all Asian families I know leave rice in the rice cooker overnight...

On warm? The bacteria that turns rice toxic has a pretty narrow viable temperature range. The warm setting is there to keep the rice at a safe temp until you're ready to eat it.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:04 PM on January 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


[singing] pour some boar jizz on it [/singing]

Fun fact: The writers for Portlandia were planning to use that phrase in the show, but it didn't test well so at the last minute they went with "put a bird on it" instead. True story.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:28 PM on January 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


The original topic might be death by food poisoning yet I'm still boggling at boar semen assay.

In skimming A Novel Sensitive Bioassay... I am paused at "A spermatozoon toxicity test was performed according to protocols described earlier (5) except that the boar semen was diluted to 12% with a commercial semen extender" which reference leads to Bacteria, molds, and toxins in water-damaged building materials. from 1997. "The same extract contained toxin(s) that paralyzed the motility of boar spermatozoa at extremely low concentrations" ... but where/how/when did the put the thing in some of that start.

Distracted by searching "boar semen" and sorting by publication date, as one does, and Further studies on seminal ergothioneine of the pig is a 1987 article with a lot of detail about that individual pig.
posted by readinghippo at 10:14 PM on January 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


Do medical researchers commonly just pour boar jizz onto stuff in the hope that it will help with whatever they're doing?

Look man, all the easy research has been done. You want to make your mark nowadays you're going to be giving wristies to a bunch of different animals. That's just how it is.
posted by um at 11:50 PM on January 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


Regarding food safety, many tropical cultures developed elaborate food preservation strategies around fermentation, so first-generation immigrant approaches to refrigeration might get a few things wrong.

The thing that needs to be understood about this video is that this was an aspirin overdose. The food poisoning was the beginning of the chain of events that led to this, and the infection had a similar effect. I'm sure there are scores of pathology dissertations on determining what proportion was what, but it's clear that the report being used here considers the aspirin a significant causal factor.

Finally, the price of the gummy vitamins is a hard one. A visitor to the country who hits the wrong aisle has already spent a lot of money on travel and accommodations, and per the story is trying to satisfy a child's biggest desires. I don't think that this parent had the context to realise that the price was too high for simple candy.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 12:00 AM on January 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


The boar semen thread here reminds me of when Dave Barry went to Lillehammer for the Olympics, and was enjoying a train ride through the woods. The guard or some other staff on the train explained that they had big problems with elk on the tracks, but they'd solved it by spraying wolf urine on the sleepers.

Barry then noted that he'd previously thought the olympians who do the high ski jumps and fast turns on the luge were brave, but had to concede that whoever collected the wolf urine is braver than all of them put together.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 12:03 AM on January 22, 2019 [7 favorites]


Due to this, I just made pasta puttanesca for dinner (NYT Mark Bittman’s recipe if anyone is interested.) it was delicious, which ensured there was no lethal leftovers. Thanks for the post!
posted by Jubey at 12:49 AM on January 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Going by the NIH link from Zamboni, his liver didn't shut down and wasn't the cause of death.

"In this case, the liver damage was mild and could not be the only explanation for the sudden death of a healthy young man."

He died only 10 hours after eating the pasta, so that makes sense. It normally takes 3 or so days for liver failure to kill.
posted by tavella at 1:18 AM on January 22, 2019


Wha, you also shouldn't get in a car cause there's a 1 in 583 chance of one dying in a car crash?

Are people overreacting or am I missing something? I lived with dumpster divers for years, and eat left-overs that have been sitting at room-temperature (usually covered) all the time – basically, does your food pass the visual, smell, and taste test? Maybe I'm just lucky...
posted by nikoniko at 1:40 AM on January 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


Yikes. I've found something new in other people's kitchen practices to be horrified about (previously it was just people thinking that cutting boards and dishcloths are not things that need to be washed, or people who briefly dip them in bleach in lieu of washing -- this is why I compulsively rinse glasses before I use them).

Leftovers are a regular part of my life -- it would be highly impractical for me to prepare every meal from scratch (and what's "from scratch"? Is an open container of bread/butter/cheese/ham a "leftover"?). But I refrigerate and/or freeze leftover food portions immediately. If something gets left out on the counter by accident, it's gone, no matter how delicious it is. And I start getting suspicious about rice after a few days of refrigeration.

(There are ways to keep food safe outside the fridge by keeping it hot enough -- keeping a soup or stew going for an extended period of time in a slow cooker is fine, assuming you've checked the temperature of the setting you're using. Apparently some new slow cookers have a "warm" setting which is not suitable for this.)
posted by confluency at 2:44 AM on January 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


I didn't know about rice safety until some answers on Askme about it. Then I went and measured my rice in my rice cooker on the keep warm setting and it was over 140 which is in the safe zone. Mine's a Tiger rice cooker but if anyone's worried, measure your temperature and you'll know for sure.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 3:24 AM on January 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


commercial semen extender
I had no idea that such a thing existed or so many brands were available. Now, that’s something every lab - or home, for that matter - must have on hand.
posted by sudogeek at 9:26 AM on January 22, 2019


3 day room temperature countertops marinade of chicken

Depends on what's in the marinade, I guess. Acidic, salty environments are hostile to food-borne bacteria, and that describes a pretty wide variety of potential marinades.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:31 AM on January 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Broadly speaking, the issue of food safety can be distilled to three main concepts, all related to make an environment more or less hostile to rapid bacterial growth. The most important concept, more than temperature, is the availability of water. Specifically it is a concept known as "water activity" or aw which is the availability of free water: water that is not otherwise bound to food molecules. aw is the ratio between the vapor pressure of the food itself (when in an undisturbed balance with surrounding air.) For example, a food item with a awof .80 means the food has a vapor pressure that is 80% of pure water. awy increases with temperature. Food with a aw above .95 will support the growth of bacteria, molds, and yeast. If you can reduce aw, you inhibit growth. Generally speaking, aw >.85 will create a shelf stable food product that does not require refrigeration.

One way to reduce aw is to dry food out: hence foods like jerky and hardtack last a very long time unrefrigerated. Water molecules will migrate from an area of high aw to one with low aw, which explains why aw can also be manipulated by introducing salt or sugar, which will bind with free water molecules and make an environment more hostile to bacterial growth. This will not, however, inhibit yeasts and molds, which is why pickles or jelly will almost never support bacterial growth, but they can turn moldy.

Temperature is the second way that aw can be manipulated. Freezing obviously reduces aw by turning free water into ice, which makes the water unavailable for use by bacteria. It also greatly slows bacterial reproduction. There are always some "bad" bacteria in all food; their numbers, however, are too small to overwhelm your body's normal defenses.

The third way to inhibit bacterial growth is by manipulating pH. Extreme pH is hostile to most bacteria and will prevent growth. Plain pasta will, under normal circumstances, grow bacteria at room temperature sooner and faster than a pasta salad dress with an acidic vinaigrette.

If anyone with more knowledge on this subject would care to correct, clarify or elucidate on this, I would be grateful. This is what I learned in my food handling safety course years ago.
posted by jayb3369 at 9:32 AM on January 22, 2019 [14 favorites]


Pepto Bismal is delicious and I yearn for a drink, food, or candy that has the same taste.
Pink Wintergreen Canada Mints, although that website is sold out. I see clear bags of those things at gas stations, along with white peppermint versions. I love them but my mother calls them "evil pepto bismal mints."
posted by soelo at 9:56 AM on January 22, 2019


Also, someone needs to teach these kids the 2 hour / 4 hour rule. (Not days! Hours!)

Indeed. HACCP is a thing for reasons.
posted by mikelieman at 10:04 AM on January 22, 2019


My entire household (me, spouse, my parents, my au pair, no kids luckily) was food poisoned by Christmas Eve dinner prepared by our au pair who is used to Brazilian food safety. Luckily(?), it took about five days to manifest so we got to enjoy holiday stuff before getting all sorts of sick. I had a long talk with her about food safety afterward, but given her English skills, I'm not sure how much got through. She made a meal for us another evening and I felt like I needed to eat it out of politeness, but no one got sick this time. Whew!
posted by emkelley at 10:08 AM on January 22, 2019


Generally speaking, aw >.85 will create a shelf stable food product that does not require refrigeration.
under .85 or over .85?
posted by soelo at 10:13 AM on January 22, 2019




Some food safety guidelines are or were super racist/xenophobic.

I don't doubt that this is so, but I'm baffled and I don't know if I've personally encountered anything like that. Could you give some examples of what you mean?
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:23 AM on January 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Generally speaking, aw >.85 will create a shelf stable food product that does not require refrigeration.

under .85 or over .85?


Whoops... Under 0.85. Of course, after I previewed, posted and the edit window closed, I found a couple typos.
posted by jayb3369 at 10:23 AM on January 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


What does this all mean for my habit of eating leftover pizza that's been sitting out all night?

Mrs. MacWilliams refuses to eat it because "It's gross!" but I've been doing it most of my adult life, and so far, so good.
posted by Pablo MacWilliams at 10:49 AM on January 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


What does this all mean for my habit of eating leftover pizza that's been sitting out all night?

Mrs. MacWilliams refuses to eat it because "It's gross!" but I've been doing it most of my adult life, and so far, so good.


Think about what the parts are: bread (no refrigeration needed), cheese (ditto - hard cheeses get greasy, but are designed to be preservation methods), cooked meat (good for 12-18 hours, wouldn't trust it past 24 hours), maybe some vegetables (a lot like the cooked meat).

No raw meat, raw eggs, mayonnaise or anything I'd especially worry about. I wouldn't advise eating an egg salad left out overnight, but pizza is fine.
posted by jb at 10:56 AM on January 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


Whoops... Under 0.85.
Yeah, I just wanted to make sure I was understanding correctly that drier usually means it can last longer at room temperature. A friend was just lecturing me on how expiration dates mean nothing. I was explaining that the best by date on some raw meat was the same day it was delivered, so I asked for (and got) a refund. Eating something you bought and didn't eat in time for the best by date to pass so you don't waste the food or money is one thing. Expecting purchased items to be good for several days after purchase is another.

I cooked and froze the meat that day.
posted by soelo at 11:18 AM on January 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


What does this all mean for my habit of eating leftover pizza that's been sitting out all night?

Nothing. Your leftover pizza is fine after a night. This was food that was left out for FIVE DAYS without refrigeration.

Your hangovers are safe.
posted by East14thTaco at 11:28 AM on January 22, 2019


Day-old room-temperature is my favorite way to eat pizza (aside from fresh & hot). I'm not sure this information will change that.
posted by slogger at 12:22 PM on January 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


i left this boar semen joke on the counter for two days is it still good
posted by bigbigdog at 12:27 PM on January 22, 2019 [7 favorites]


Once again for the people in the back:

  1. The pasta was left out for two days, and carelessly returned to the fridge by an unsuspecting roommate
  2. The patient suspected the smell was a new seasoning he'd tried.
  3. The aspirin overdose was almost certainly what did him in. Don't consume a whole bottle of aspirin.

posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 12:38 PM on January 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


so you’re saying boar semen is safe
posted by bigbigdog at 12:39 PM on January 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


It's perfectly safe; you maybe not so much if you consumed it.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:56 PM on January 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Does aged cooked rice taste different?

I've never heard of rice cookers keeping rice longer than a day. My parents definitely would not allow it.

We don't even use day-old rice in fried rice. All the big hotel chefs in Hong Kong don't do that anymore, my mom says. They all recommend cooking the rice with less water, then fluff the rice well. Let cool, or not. Fry. Use back of spatula to push the rice around, don't smush it. There's your fried rice.
posted by polymodus at 12:59 PM on January 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


Does aged cooked rice taste different?

Depends on what kind of barrel you age them in. For rice I generally recommend used sherry casks, but charred bourbon barrels can add a nice bit of smoky flavor.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:17 PM on January 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


Thanks for clarifying, and I'll try those search terms you tentatively suggested.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:57 PM on January 22, 2019


rum-soaked space hobo: Once again for the people in the back:

The pasta was left out for two days, and carelessly returned to the fridge by an unsuspecting roommate
The patient suspected the smell was a new seasoning he'd tried.
The aspirin overdose was almost certainly what did him in. Don't consume a whole bottle of aspirin.


Er, can we not state the badly fictionalized version in the video as facts? This appears to be a dramatic mush-up of two different cases. The primary case is the Belgian pasta case, where the pasta had been left out for 5 days in the family home, no roommate or refrigeration involved. Death was not caused by liver failure, as the student died 10 hours after the pasta was eaten, probably from the toxins from a massive bacterial infection, though a delayed autopsy meant there was no exact cause of death.

The second case is an elderly woman who died after consuming the equivalent of a pint of Pepto-Bismol. Once again, liver failure was not the cause of death and you would not expect it to be as salicylates damage the kidneys, not the liver. It's unlikely that it would have been fatal in anyone by a child or in this case a diminutive elderly adult, same as aspirin poisoning is, but it wasn't acetylsalicylic acid, it was bismuth subsalicylate.
posted by tavella at 7:05 PM on January 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


The boar semen question has a pretty simple answer: easy to collect, 300+ ml per collection 3 times per week for 15 billion sperm per day. If you want active cells by the pint, there you go.

In a completely unrelated matter, I don't quite get how bread is shelf-stable. It's cooked and it isn't that dry, salty, or acidic. It does mold, but nobody's afraid of it getting poisonous bacteria.
posted by netowl at 9:54 PM on January 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


It's dry compared to rice. Closer to the dry pasta side of the starch continuum.
posted by tavella at 10:46 PM on January 22, 2019


the starch continuum

The worst Robert Ludlum novel.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:19 AM on January 23, 2019 [7 favorites]


To this day friend visibly shudders whenever he recounts a story from his younger-chef days. While the restaurant owner was making himself a sandwich he grabbed a knife that my friend had been cutting RAW CHICKEN with, dunked it into one of those big restaurant size tubs of mayonnaise, and slathered mayo on his bread. When my alarmed friend pointed out how really bad an idea that was the owner just nonchalantly shrugged it off. My friend immediately tossed the still-mostly-full tub in the trash as soon as the owner wasn't looking (and washed the knife).

Dave Thomas of Wendy's fame used to manage a region of KFC franchises as well as owning several but personally would never eat chicken himself because he was at a family reunion picnic and saw stacks of raw chicken sitting out in the open on a table all summer day with flies buzzing all over it.
posted by srboisvert at 8:47 AM on January 23, 2019


In a completely unrelated matter, I don't quite get how bread is shelf-stable. It's cooked and it isn't that dry, salty, or acidic. It does mold, but nobody's afraid of it getting poisonous bacteria.

In England bread is barely shelf stable because it has a higher moisture content thanks to post-war rationing and bread manufacturers cheating their customers by adding water weight and eventually creating a culture that actively wants moister bread. The addition of water by bread scammers even lead to bread regulation (similar to U.S. chicken packaging laws regarding the addition of water).
posted by srboisvert at 8:51 AM on January 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Interestingly, there are *two* cases of extremely rapid death after consuming old pasta, and they are both from Belgium, which makes me wonder if there is some kind of particularly toxic B. cereus strain common there. The second one is way more frightening, I think, because it's a much more reasonable sequence of events. I think pretty much everyone knows you shouldn't eat pasta that had been sitting out for 5 days, while in this case a pasta salad was made on Friday, taken to a picnic on Saturday, and then the leftovers refrigerated and served on Monday, resulting in one of the children being dead 13 hours later.

Now, they do kind of bury the lead and it's not until the last paragraph they reveal the refrigerator was running at 14C, which is less a fridge than a coolbox. But still, I know I've had cookouts and then refrigerated the leftovers if they weren't meat or had mayo or eggs in them.
posted by tavella at 4:06 PM on January 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


I discovered last night, when I went to make polenta, that I had left cooked rice in the (unplugged) rice cooker for god only knows how long -- two months, maybe? longer? -- and it was a particularly fuzzy shade of turquoise.
posted by lazuli at 4:25 PM on January 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


I'm honestly a big fan of his... series, would you call it? It's compelling in that rubberneck kind of way yet it actually encapsulates an educational video. I wind up learning more than I expected.
posted by Valued Customer at 4:40 PM on January 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


You put da lime in de coconut, you shake it all togedda, you put da lime in de coconut, den you feel bedda...
posted by biboch at 2:06 PM on January 24, 2019


« Older From shapeshifting horse sex to Christian spanking...   |   Medical Male-practice in the Manstitute of... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments