Raw meat

Recovering from the cold. CStM is taking longer but then I’m used to recovering from damage, due to many years of frequent practice. Still finding it hard to concentrate though, which is delaying book production but not for much longer.

Tomorrow I collect my car and Thursday the long trek to Scotland begins. This time, we’ll stop halfway or thereabouts because we’re both still groggy from infection and doing the trip in one go doesn’t appeal.

Anyhow, none of this is relevant to the title.

Who remembers the arrival of Carrefour supermarkets? Before they ventured into Wales, shopping meant visiting the butcher, the grocer, the fishmonger and so on. Suddenly it was all there under one roof, in a vast warehouse sized shop.

Lately, the supermarkets have taken to setting up bakery areas, fishmonger, butcher, delicatessen etc in-store. Less like a food warehouse and more like a one-roof indoor market. One crucial aspect remains the same though. It all goes into one trolley.

In those far off days, you’d buy meat in the butcher’s shop and it would be handed to you all wrapped and ready to go in your bag. The butcher would cut the meat, or slice the bacon, while you watched. No mass production in that shop.

Now it’s all pre-wrapped in shrink wrap (sometimes double shrink wrapped and damn near impossible to get into) and should be perfectly safe but… it’s made in a packaging plant. There is no possible way to absolutely guarantee that the outer wrapping is free of meat-origin bacteria. There won’t be many, but bacterial contamination can do something that chemical contamination can’t do. It can grow.

They won’t grow very much on a plastic wrapper in a fridge, of course – but if they are in a trolley and get on to other food, well…

Even in recent years, till operators in supermarkets would put your raw meat into a small plastic bag before you put it in your carrier bags. The carrier bags themselves were single use so internal contamination of the bag didn’t matter. Now they have to charge you for the small bags and for the carriers too. So you don’t automatically get either, and most of us re-use carrier bags until they fall to bits.

Add in the modern insistence on microwaving everything or cooking until it’s just warm and not properly incinerated and it’s no surprise that food poisoning is on the rise.

When microwaves first appeared, we microbiologists investigated their potential as rapid sterilisation machines. They were crap at sterilisation, so we still use high pressure steam in autoclaves. Bottom line: microwaving cannot guarantee food is completely bacteria–free although as long as it goes above 80degC in the middle, there should be nothing dangerous left.

Now the Food Standards Agency is calling for free plastic bags for raw meat, in direct defiance of the Green insistence that we have to pay for those bags.

I think there could be a small war brewing. Time to get the popcorn ready…


12 thoughts on “Raw meat

  1. Our local Tesco meat counter (& fish counter) operatives wrap the fresh meat/fish in a sheet of plastic material for weighing, then, put that in a small plastic bag, sometimes a second plastic bag for ‘wet’ food (liver, fish), so minimal chance of leakage into our re-usable bag.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The big supermarkets already provide free-of-charge plastic bags for raw meat and certain other “wet” items. They just don’t advertise the fact, but they may not charge 5p for these uses.

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  3. One trick regarding colds is to use the herb Echinacea, but ONLY in the very first stages of a cold. To recap on stuff that Leggy is undoubtedly very familiar with, our immune systems are not one monolithic system, but consist of several different sub-systems.

    The antibody-based one is actually quite slow. Once an infection starts off, special cells begin by hoovering up bits and pieces of the infectious agent, and processing these to hand off to recognition systems. These then activate specific antibody-producing cells, which multiply up and only then start churning out antibodies to fight the infection. This takes about three days from infections first being seen to full-on immune response. Interestingly quite a few products which claim to fight all manner of infections tend to quote three days as the time needed to have an effect, leading to the suspicion that these products merely entertain and distract the patient whilst their immune system does the actual work.

    However, the non-specific immune system is much, much faster to ramp up and Echinacea acts on this side of things by getting the non-specific systems to go to full alert levels, which in turn makes life much more difficult for a virus trying to infect you. So, if you take Echinacea when you first feel a cold starting up, you can limit how well that infectious agent does in the first day or so of the infection, which reduces the amount of work needed to kill it out later.

    The important thing to remember is to take the herb for a day or two at most then stop doing so. This is because most of the symptoms of a cold, namely the horrible slime and so on, are not actually caused by the virus per se, but by the effects of your immune system trying to kill off the virus, and also prevent anything else that might be lurking in your respiratory system hoping for a chance to infect you from actually managing to do so. Taking Echinacea at this point just makes the snot, slime and cough a lot worse.

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  4. I admit I couldn’t care less about Welsh legislation, however I have just reminded myself of the exemptions to the carry bag tax in Scotland and all these fish, meat and wet jobbies are included, so if Carrefour’s not using them, or charging for them, then it’s either because the law’s different in Wales, or they are not familiar with the exemptions, or they’re just adding to their bottom line.


    Agreed it was the Green charities that pushed for the carry bag tax, yet it would not have happened had they not come up with the idea that 4 pence of the charge should go to local charities!

    It was then that the charity major’s got behind the concept and used their political clout to make things happen. What they hadn’t quite factored into their starry eyed projections is the reaction of the general public. Usage is down by over 80% and the 20% still sold include “for life” bags.

    With some supermarkets you pay a little more initially to get a sturdy bag, the when that’s on its last legs they’ll give you a new one.

    It gives me great pleasure to ask what charity (ies) the shop supports. It is our right to do so – it forms part of the legislation. Then in a clear voice, designed to carry I say “because if it’s Cancer Research UK, the British Lung or Heart Foundation you support then you can keep the bag and (whatever I bought).”

    In all honesty I have so far not come across a single shop that supports any of those charities. To their credit they’ve all been very local – including every big supermarket and M & S.

    So that leaves CRUK with having to continue paying to air adverts on television. And pay to have some distant relative of the Chairman produce the banal shite. Funny how in all these adverts the cancer victim seems to be in a ward all to her/himself. The rest of us who have actually had experience of an oncology ward know perfectly well that’s very far from the truth, hence a book, tablet or even a personal video player with headphones are sought after gifts for what can be months of extreme unpleasantness. Privacy is relative, at most you may get a curtain if you’re vomiting too much. If not, then sink into the pain, there’s some privacy in that.

    By portraying the bumph they do, they serve to give the impression that donations to CRUK help those able to afford private medical treatment.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hmmm….has a kinda…dissimilar metals kinda “ring” to it. Eh?

    Similar bacteria…dissimilar bacteria.

    Q: What is the difference between a “dead” bacteria and a “live” bacteria?
    A: ?¿?
    (From the standpoint of…”a bacteria”…of course.)

    Q: I wonder what bacteria from petroleum products, and or what remains of these bacteria, looks like under a microscope?
    A: !!!???!!!¿¿¿

    I wonder if bacteria from say…from meat or fish products, when encountering bacteria from say…petroleum products, are like…

    I wonder if the petroleum products coming from the ocean, differ from those coming from the land? What about oceans, as in plural? What about lands, as in plural. What about when mixed? What about concepts like…oh say…contrails…erm…I mean…chemtrails? I wonder if airborn bacteria are like…
    And the others are like…

    I wonder about viruses/virii? What about fungus/fungi?


    Thanks for the inspiration. 😀

    Has almost…a traveling…kinda ring to it. Maybe even…a vibe. ❤

    ^Groundhog Day – It's Cold Out There^

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t think I ever visited a Carrefour but I do, just, remember my childhood visits to an early supermarket (might have been Sainsbury) when it consisted of several counters, all selling individual stuff on separate counters.

    But is ‘food poisoning’ really on the rise, or have we redefined the term down to include a bit of a dicky tummy?

    Liked by 1 person

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