This is a recap of your experiences involving foreign bodies in the food. Thank you for sharing your stories!
Well, I read all the stories that you shared last month about finding foreign bodies in food. You’ve had some colorful experiences. So let’s start with the most random things that you found:
- A whole permanent marker in a grocery store cake. Okay this was a rather big mistake on the part of the cake maker but honestly I can see this happening if the baker had the marker in his front pocket shirt and leaned over and woop, it slipped into the batter. Chefs do tend to carry permanent markers around in their pockets.
- An olive pit in a wedding cake. Fortunately nobody broke their tooth and the baker was able to trace the origin of the pit back to her son, who just happens to be an olive enthusiast. But we will never know if he threw that pit into the batter to mess with mummy or if was simply an accident.
Next, let’s acknowledge the biggest culprit: humans. More specifically: human hair and human nails. Human hair was the biggest offender by far. Well I already gave you my best fashion tips for holding down hair. I just wanted to add one more suggestion, which is to yell at people if they try to come into your kitchen without hairnets. “Get outa here, Goldilox! No Repunzels allowed in the kitchen!”
Fingernails was another big one, which begs the question why were the food handlers wearing long nails, painted nails, or false nails in the first place? That’s totally against the health code.
The second biggest culprit was bugs. You found flies, maggots, cockroaches, a potato bug, a caterpillar, a spider and a bee. Out of all the bug examples, the most concerning ones involved maggots, because maggots are a sign of flies and flies are a major sanitation risk, way more so than cockroaches. Believe it or not, cockroaches are actually pretty clean. They groom themselves fastidiously so they don’t track bacteria around as much as you’d think. Which is not to say they’re not gross. But when it comes to food, if you’re going to hate on a bug, hate on flies, because flies transmit bacteria, which makes them very hazardous.
The third biggest culprit was food packaging – cardboard, broken plastic, shards of aluminum cans. This type of thing is hard to avoid in the food industry because we are constantly tearing open new packaging.
The fourth biggest culprit was broken kitchen tools, hardware, and equipment – a piece of wood, a nail, a bristle from a cleaning brush and shards of glass. These are all difficult to avoid and do happen from time to time.
Now I have to say, proportionally, your collection of stories made for an accurate representation of what tends to go wrong in terms of foreign bodies in food. And no matter who was at fault in your stories, whether it was the staff, a child or the manufacturer of ingredients, there was one common thread, which was that the negative experience of finding the thing in the food was grossly amplified when the establishment avoided taking full responsibility, refused to apologize, or failed to acknowledge the gravity of the offense. On the other hand, when the situation was handled appropriately and with grace, forgiveness came much more easily.
Well I will close out this series by adding that if you cook or bake, whether it’s professionally or as a hobby or to feed your family, foreign bodies in food is certainly something to think about but the much worse menace is bacteria, because it can make people really sick. It can even kill. And you can’t see bacteria with the naked eye. So at some point soon, I will be talking about bacteria, where it comes from, how it grows in food, and what you can do to prevent it.
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