Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.
How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.
If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 15th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.
This post was originally published on May 15, 2011 on my old blog.
Reheat Your Meat
No, the name of this post is not the tagline for an ad about a new miracle drug to cure erectile dysfunction or to enhance male sexual performance.
It is about a warning that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued for women who are pregnant, people over 50, “and especially for those over 65.” Uh oh!
According to a recent article I read in USA Today, the CDC is warning us old timers against eating cold lunch meats, cold cuts, and deli meats.Who knew that the latest threat to the survival of the human race would be honey cured ham, roasted turkey breast, or bologna? And yet the CDC suggests that such luncheon meats should not be eaten unless they’ve been thoroughly reheated to “steaming hot” (or at least 165 degrees) in order to kill any bacteria that might be present.
Can you think of anything less appetizing than a plate piled high with steaming hot cold cuts? And if sliced luncheon meats are steaming hot, are they still considered to be “cold cuts”?
This recommendation to reheat your meat is due to an insidious food-borne bug by the name of listeria monocytogenes. It’s the source of an uncommon but potentially fatal disease called listeriosis. About 85% of cases of listeriosis are linked to cold cuts or deli meats. The remaining 15%, according to reliable sources from the makers of Scope mouthwash, are linked to the use of Listerine, which, competitors claim, has listeria as its active ingredient.
By the way, Listeriosis is fatal about 20% of the time! And like all really scary threats to your health and well being, you can’t see, taste, or smell listeria.
Most luncheon meats are cooked at food processing plants where the bacteria in them are killed during the packaging process. But the problem is that once the cold cuts are sliced or the package is opened, they are vulnerable to listeria.
If just a single cell of listeria from a contaminated surface, a meat slicer, or even the air gets on the meats, it has a unique ability to keep growing even when refrigerated. It’s like a friggin’ zombie that just won’t die.
The CDC also advises that you not keep opened packages of lunch meat, or meat sliced at the local deli, for longer than three to five days in your refrigerator. I looked at a package of organic roasted turkey breast that my wife bought at Whole Foods Market a while ago. The label does say, “Keep refrigerated (best within four days of opening).” Perhaps they should revise the label to say, “Best within four days of opening; possibility of death if consumed after that.”
The suggestion that cold cuts should be consumed within three to five days of opening is something that virutally no one pays attention to, says Douglas Powell, director of food safety at Kansas State University. “Anecdotally, lots of people keep cold cuts in their refrigerator far longer than they should,” he says. “People keep them for one to two weeks. That’s the key message. If you get it from the deli counter, four days max.”
I always thought that if it doesn’t smell bad, if it doesn’t feel slimy, if the edges haven’t turned green or blue, and if there aren’t little white spots of mold on the meat, it’s still okay to eat.
By the way, the CDC also recommends that, after having consumed refrigerated luncheon meats or deli cold cuts without reheating your meat, if you get an erection lasting more than four hours, you should contact your doctor immediately.
Or gargle with Listerine.