10 Popular Food Myths Debunked

Despite their differences there’s one thing people agree on, they love food. What they don’t agree on are some of the myths surrounding food. Is seafood actually the most likely food to make you sick? Should you wait to swim after you eat? Is it bad if ground beef looks brown instead of red? To alleviate your confusion, Asylum debunked 10 common food myths. The myths, inside…

The Debunked Myths:

10. It’s OK to eat boxed pizza out of the garbage.
Leftover pizza that hasn’t been refrigerated within two hours after being served can be dangerous, whether or not it has been in the garbage.

9. Moldy food can be salvaged.

Actually by the time there is visible mold, there are probably other malevolent bacteria already present. Moldy food should be thrown out. The exceptions to this rule are firm fruits and cheeses which can be saved if you cut an inch beyond the moldy area.

8. You should never buy food past its “sell by” date.
“Sell by” dates have a built in grace period, therefore if you buy some food a few days after the “sell by” you should be safe as long as you eat the food within about 24 hours.

7. The five-second rule
Some people consider this more of a joke than an actual myth but don’t be confused since it only takes a split second for bacteria to attach itself to some dropped food.

6. Frozen turkey can be thawed on the counter.

A defrosting a turkey on the counter is the perfect storm for salmonella and other baddies which can easily cross contaminate your food if turkey juice is flowing freely on your counter top. You should thaw the turkey in water below 40F or let it thaw in the refrigerator in a container or dish where the juices can’t escape.

5. Don’t swim for at least a half-hour after eating.

Your mother probably tried to lay this one on you since digestion diverts oxygen away from the extremities, a common cause of cramps. Nowadays experts agree that there is ample oxygen in the body for digestion and skeletal muscles. Sorry, Mom.

4. Hamburger meat shouldn’t be brown on the inside.

The reddish color in meat, also called bloom, is actually the result of a reaction between the meat and oxygen. If the inside of the patty is brown it indicates a lack of oxygen exposure and poses no health risk.

3. Meat soaked in alcohol can be left marinating outside of the fridge.

Unless your meat is submerged in grain alcohol, the normal alcohol in meat marinades which is further diluted with the meat’s juices will have very little effect against killing bacteria.

2. Gum remains in the stomach for 7 years.
It is true that gum cannot be completely digested by the body but it will pass through the digestive system and not be lodged in you for an inordinate amount of time.

1. Seafood is more likely than other meats to cause sickness.

According to the FDA you are 10 times more likely to get food poisoning from chicken than fish. However, fish still needs to be properly inspected and stored to be safe.


Asylum Debunks 10 Gross Food Myths
[Asylum]

(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. Bladefist says:

    I hate sell-by dates. Cant we just simplify it for everyone and have food expiration dates? Then stores can determine how close they want to get to that date, before pulling it. I can see at the store if there is enough time before buying it. And I know exactly when to throw it away at home.

    Stupid sell by.

  2. Angryrider says:

    Ah pop culture, how you reinforce these stupid myths.

  3. kylenalepa says:

    10. It’s OK to eat boxed pizza out of the garbage.

    Who ever thought that this one was OK?

  4. dualityshift says:

    @Bladefist:
    Just look at the ‘Sell by:’ date as your expiration date.

  5. Christopher says:

    @kylenalepa: Although I never ate pizza out of the garbage, during my college years I will admit to waking up after a heavy night of drinking and eating the pizza that was sitting in the box on the counter overnight.

  6. B says:

    @kylenalepa: George Costanza.

  7. Jabberkaty says:

    Hubby is paranoid about the sell-by. One day past – trash. Me? If it hasn’t tried to walk away on its own, it’s probably still good. Or at least won’t kill me.

  8. stinerman says:

    10) I eat pizza that’s been sitting out for awhile. A little nuke in the microwave and I’m good.

    9) But doesn’t the mold kill the bacteria? Hello … penicillin?

    Yes, the last one was a joke.

  9. Gopher bond says:

    @kylenalepa: In college, half a Dominos pizza was left in the box and shoved under the couch. I found it two weeks later and I opened it expecting a disgusting sight. Instead, it looked like ca piece of pizza that had just gone cold. A roomate dared me to take a bite, so, being a guy, I ate two pieces and it tasted about the same as a piece of cold pizza.

    I think it has more to do with the amount of preservatives that Domino’s uses, I don’t think it would have survived if it was a local, private, pizza place.

  10. fostina1 says:

    @CBragg: still do this all the time. thought since it had the 4 food groups it was a sound, nutrional breakfast.

  11. Bladefist says:

    @dualityshift: I could. But it’s not. Then you’re wasting. And I’m trying to go green.

  12. stacye says:

    5. Don’t swim for at least a half-hour after eating.

    I hate this “Myth” because it actually has some truth to it. Yes, you can get in the water after you’ve had lunch… but if you plan on doing heavy activity in the water, like a lot of moving around, or laps, then it could cause cramps. Same thing if you exercise after eating.

    7. The five-second rule
    10. It’s OK to eat boxed pizza out of the garbage.

    That’s why we have immune systems.

  13. HIV 2 Elway says:

    @kylenalepa: I don’t eat it out of the trash but I like room temperature pizza. Not overnight roomtemp, but when the pizza gets delivered I like jsut leaving it on the counter and munching on it all day.

  14. ekthesy says:

    @stacye:

    Yes, it’s a matter of stomach cramps brought on by movement, not oxygen leaving the extremities (what is the logic here? you won’t be able to move your arms to swim to shore??).

    One is not supposed to eat for two hours prior to yoga practice for this and other reasons, most notably that a big wad of food sitting in your stomach blocks the flow of energy throughout the body.

    And although yes, that’s why we have immune systems, once it’s in the garbage, I don’t eat it. However, I routinely purchase a pizza, eat 2/3 of it, leave the remainder on the countertop in the box, and then three hours later come across it. “Hooray, more pizza.” I say, and reheat it.

  15. azzy says:

    The suggestions here are extremely-safe. It’s as if you go to a lawyer and ask for advice on whether to eat that pizza from two hours ago. “Well, it’s possibly contaminated. I would advise not to”. Like stacye said, we have immune systems for a reason.

    Same with the Sell By dates. Sure, some things spoil easily. But throwing out some boxed crackers because they’re past the date is crazy. Cutting away an inch of mold on cheese? I generally hate mold, but there are tons of cheeses that are SUPPOSED to have mold.

  16. scott5834 says:

    Why am I trusting this website to debunk myths when it doesn’t cite sources or experts? Isn’t this how food myths start?

  17. those who don’t realize the 5 second rule is nothing more than a joke really need to analyze how they live their lives…seriously

  18. Bladefist says:

    @discounteggroll: ya like duh. Everyone knows its the 10-second rule. sheesh. like omg.

  19. balthisar says:

    Wow. Today’s Straight Dope [www.straightdope.com] touches upon the seating/swimming topic.

    Whole muscle meat is generally safe to leave out for an hour or two, by the way (not poultry, and maybe not game).

  20. hi says:

    4. Hamburger meat shouldn’t be brown on the inside.

    Hamburger & steaks are treated with carbon moxoxide to give it a reddish color and to keep it looking fresh on the outside so stores can sell more by the sell date.

    Story here: [www.washingtonpost.com]

    “The meat industry knows the answer, which is why it has quietly begun to spike meat packages with carbon monoxide.”

  21. DavidCopperballs says:

    Actually, they debunked the 5-second rule in the other direction.

    [www.boston.com]

  22. Big Picnic says:

    Actually, I remember seeing a study on the “5 second rule” that found that, in fact, food had few bacteria after a few seconds, but a ton after 20 or 30 seconds. So I think the myth is that its a myth. Here’s an article on it, actually:

    [www.ctv.ca]

    Although i see it was conducted by a couple random students, so, you know. The NYT is somewhat more ambivalent, but notes that “Quick retrieval does mean fewer bacteria”

    [www.nytimes.com]

  23. hi says:

    Another link: [www.consumerreports.org]

    @hi:

  24. jedipunk says:

    on the five second rule. this was tested and is not considered myth although they upped the time to 30 seconds.

    [bakingbites.com]

    The Connecticut team wanted to test the rule in a non-lab environment (how many people smear their floors with E. coli?) and took their samples of apple slices and Skittles, chosen because they wanted a “wet” food and a “dry” food, to the college’s highly trafficked main cafeteria. The items were dropped in intervals of 5 seconds to 5 minutes before being tested. It took about 1 minute for the apple slices to develop bacteria and 5 minutes for the Skittles, so the researchers concluded that the standard should be 30 seconds, with a notation that dry and/or porous foods may last for up to 1 minute and still be safe to eat.

    All of this is good to know when you drop a couple pieces of popcorn at home and scoop them up again, but negative test results aren’t enough to make me want to eat a piece of food dropped on the floor of a public cafeteria no matter how long it is considered to be “safe to eat.”

  25. Nigromancer says:

    @jedipunk: There’s also the Clemson study and the Illinois study that basically indicate that food can be on the floor for as little as a second before being infected.

  26. Nigromancer says:
  27. Wormfather says:

    @CBragg: I’m 27 and I still dont refrigerate my pizza under 24 hours.

  28. fonzette says:

    You know what’s right above your mouth? Your nose. And you know what your nose is for? To tell you if what you’re about to eat is stinky and therefore rotten.
    I realize this doesn’t apply to everything, but it certainly applies to milk, etc – things with “sell by” dates that have nothing to do with when the food actually goes bad.
    I’ve used eggs with a “sell by” date almost a month past.

  29. Lambasted says:

    “10. It’s OK to eat boxed pizza out of the garbage.
    Leftover pizza that hasn’t been refrigerated within two hours after being served can be dangerous, whether or not it has been in the garbage.”

    Then why hasn’t half the college population dropped dead from some sort of bacterial infection? Personally, I have difficulties eating pizza hot let alone as a hunk of congealed mold. But eating for breakfast leftover pizza that had been sitting out overnight is so common in college that it should be a menu item in the dining halls.

  30. Weirdsmobile says:

    Eating pizza out of the trash is probably OK, since you have to be either drunk or insane to do something like that, and if you’re drunk, there’s probably enough alcohol in your body to kill any germs. If you’re insane, then we all know that God looks after the insane, so they’re good.

  31. katylostherart says:

    if you eat more fresh food you don’t need too many sell by dates. fruits and vegetables it’s pretty easy to see and feel when it goes bad. and meat’s pretty easy to see and smell when that’s gone too.

  32. Yeah, I think 2 hours is like the official standard that the government and everybody concerned with nutrition has decided on for ALL foods to be left sitting out without danger. Like even potato salad with mayo. That’s the home food safety guideline for ALL edibles. But obviously there are things you can leave sitting out for just ages without much ill effect, and if potato salad with mayo can survive 2 hours, I’m guessing cold pizza can survive way longer.

    (One they have just changed their recommendation on is that they no longer recommend you wash poultry before cooking, because far more people poison themselves by NOT CLEANING THE SINK after washing the poultry than by not cooking the poultry enough to kill some bacteria that didn’t get washed off. I just can’t make myself NOT wash poultry but now I”m all hypervigilant about cleaning the sink after.)

  33. Gann says:

    @stinerman: I would like to see a study on how effective the microwave is at sterilizing our food. I know I feel better about eating questionable leftovers after a good nuking.

  34. hadees says:

    I always thought the sell by date was like the word of G-d but the other day i had a huge thing of butter milk still around 4 days after the sell by date. So i searched google to see how long it keeps past that date and heard on the cooks illustrated boards that it can keep up to two months past that date according to the people posting.

    I have a dream of creating software that will track my food with either barcodes (possible via cuecat) or RFID and have a computer tell me what is going bad when and possibly suggest dishes for me that will use the food i have before it expires. I am such a geek i’ve even thought about using scales built into the base of the cabinets so i can monitor how much i have of each good. You wouldn’t need individuals ones just make sure the program tracks the weight it after every food is put in and removed.

  35. katylostherart says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: i actually wonder about mayo heavy things. one of the prime ingredients in mayo is vinegar and that’s a natural disinfectant. so i wonder if maybe it has a slightly longer no fridge life than other things.

    ketchup too now.

    i must go experiment.

  36. Hanke says:

    @CBragg: Who doesn’t?

  37. stephennmcdonald says:

    Like Wormfather, I’m also 27, and have been eating pizza that’s up to 3 days old off the counter since I was at least 10, probably earlier. Granted, my family has iron stomachs from doing things like this our entire lives – but I’m going to have to call bull on the answer to #10 (no, I have never eaten it out of the trash – who the heck throws out perfectly good pizza?!). Of course, I’m not a scientist, just one person with life experience, ymmv.

  38. B says:

    @Hanke: Me, not because it’s potentially dangerous, but because it’s gross. If the pizza isn’t hot enough to burn the top of your mouth, it’s not hot enough.

  39. freepistol says:

    uhoh im in trouble, 10 times more likely to get sick from chicken instead of fish…. i eat chicken every day, im a ticking time bomb

  40. poornotignorant says:

    @Weirdsmobile: I am never drunk or insane, but I am a dumpster diver (and a trash can “diver”) I’ve eaten many a half pizza from the box that somebody (financially rich?) threw away. I’ve always believed that the more bacteria etc one eats the better one’s immune system. I’ve never gotten sick from food, and rarely even get an upset stomach, and I’ve been eating like this for years.

  41. nedzeppelin says:

    is the food poisoning thing taking into account the fact that chicken is eaten much more than fish? is this in terms of rate or absolute numbers?

    also, i ordered pizza last night and left it on the counter all night… then put it in the fridge this morning.
    it still tastes delicious and nondeadly.

  42. @freepistol: Another thing I learned when I took a college nutrition course is that the average adult American gets mild food poisoning 3 times a year, usually cylampobacter jejuni (I hope I spelled that right). They basically said “if you throw up for 24 hours or less, it’s food poisoning; there’s no such thing as a 24-hour stomach virus.”

    But the other thing they said is that this is GOOD for you, to get mildly food poisoned fairly routinely. Because then when some e. coli or botulism comes along, your immune system is in good practice from kicking the crap out of all that weak-ass cylampobacter (which you only need to worry about if you’re an infant, quite elderly, dehydrated, or immuno-compromised). Whereas if you NEVER get food poisoning, you get much, much sicker from smaller quantities of the more serious pathogens.

  43. Youthier says:

    I can verify that the leftout pizza has caused illness at least once – the Sleepover Incident of 1998. But I would agree it’s not something that happens frequently. I’ve eaten leftout pizza on a few occasions in the past 10 years and been just fine. It’s the same with all of these – it COULD happen.

    Still, I plan to print these out and give them to my grandpa. In March, he left his corned beef sitting in his turned off oven for two days b/c he didn’t have room in the fridge. He assumed it would be fine because he salted it so I have to imagine that he believes a lot of these other things too.

  44. LiC says:

    My roommate’s mom keeps sending her home with cheese she bought 6 months ago that she’s kept frozen in the freezer. Is this stuff safe?

    When she’d moved in she’d brought shortening that was 18 months old. When shortening that is NOT butter flavored turns yellow, it’s time to throw it out!

  45. hejustlaughs says:

    @Lambasted: Because they have other bacterial infections to worry about. Multiple infections cancel out, didn’t you know?

  46. battra92 says:

    We used to store pizza in the box inside the oven (turned off)

    Never got sick from it, that I know of.

  47. satoru says:

    I would say though that for #10, if you’re in Japan you can sift through the garbage at your convenience store with not much problem. They constantly churn their merchandise daily so they are forced to throw out perfectly good food at the end of each day. I used to just go to 7-11 at like 11pm and buy up whatever they were going to throw away for dirt cheap. Unlike 7-11 in America, in Japan they have pretty good food. Heck the Denny’s in Japan is awesome!

  48. hi says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: You really beleive that? Eating poison in small quantities over time can kill you. Haven’t you seen the movie “The Sixth Sense”? The little girl gets sick and eventually dies.. well that part of the movie is real(as in it could happen in real life).

  49. BlackFlag55 says:

    Holy mackerel … where are these ‘myths’ coming from??? Pakistan? El Salvador? Space Aliens? Sweet Babbling Buddha ….

  50. @hi: It’s not “poison” (despite being called “food poisoning,” a term which does encompass toxins and contaminants as well as bacteria, fungus, and other pathogens) it’s pathogens. You’re not, like, accumulating arsenic in your body! You’re getting a bacterial infection and purging it.

  51. nedzeppelin says:

    @hi: it’s not “poison” when you get food poisoning. it’s not like there’s cyanide or mercury in your food. food poisoning is a result of bacteria.. which could arguably be good to have exposure to, i guess.

    sort of like how kids who play in the dirt a lot don’t get sick as often when they’re older.

    then again, the only times you’ll be exposed to food poisoning bacteria again (which is when the immunity would help you) is when you get food poisoning. it’s not something that really floats around in the air and you’re exposed to all the time i don’t think. so the benefit is questionable..

  52. ringo00 says:

    I have nothing against cold pizza, in fact I think Pizza Hut pan pizza is better cold than hot, but I had a room mate in college who absolutely refused to refrigerate his leftover pizza. The local Papa John’s had a campus special, $10 for a large pie and two 20 oz sodas. My room mate would get this and instead of using my refrigerator that I offered for community use, he would just put the leftover pizza in the box in his closet or under his bed and eat it over the next day or two. This wasn’t an occasional occurrence, this was two or three times a week. How he didn’t fall over dead I will never know.

  53. TheAbused says:

    About the 5 second rule… if you drop some food on the floor (let’s say in your home) and reach to pick it up, pause for a second (ha! only 4 left now), and ask yourself:
    “Did I wash my hands before eating?”
    If the answer is “No,” that food is probably not going to be much competition for whatever is on your hands. Unless you dropped the food near the toilet.

    I hardly ever wash my hands before eating, and that’s only if there is visible dirt or if I just handled something that I really don’t want to ingest (ie: heavy duty degreasing agent). Everything else, I figure I can handle.

  54. picardia says:

    I went swimming 20 minutes after eating a couple weeks ago and immediately felt nauseated. I couldn’t stay in the pool more than 15 minutes. So I’m not sure it’s only about muscle cramps.

  55. P_Smith says:

    Here are two more not one the list, one confirmed true and one just my opinion.

    1) Ice in fast food restaurants can be dirtier than toilet water.

    [abcnews.go.com]

    My guess is it’s because the containers with ice are usually near the floor and airborne bacteria will fall into it.

    2) Straws at fast food restaurants can be dirty.

    I never use straws from dispensers at fast food joints. Be honest: have you ever seen anyone wash their hands before buying at fast food restaurants? Few do. Worse still, I would bet many who do use the toilets in restaurants don’t wash their hands afterward. With countless people pawing boxes of straws for who knows how many days without the boxes being washed, there’s no way I’m going to use a straw out of one.

    People think I’m a skinflint because I order drinks without ice and want more. That may be part of it, but with no dirty ice and no dirty straw in the cup, it has got to be cleaner than it might be otherwise.

  56. Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

    In college my roommate’s mom used to bring her a huge pan of home made lasagna (w/meat) when she came to visit. We only had a small dorm sized fridge so she stored the leftovers on her desk just covered with a piece of foil. It took her most of a week for her and her boyfriend to polish the pan off. I’d love to know how they didn’t get sick off it.

  57. elanne says:

    Don’t worry about any of this.
    Just remember to drink EIGHT glasses of water a day.
    Oh no … wait … that turned out to be a myth, too.
    Funny thing about that one is that ‘they’ can’t seem to find out where that recommendation came from in the first place! No problem. It is just all part of the conspiracy to make us paranoid so we can get hooked on unaffordable prescription drugs and make the Pharma companies happy, happy, happy.
    I love being old enough to be a cranky curmudgeon!

  58. rrapynot says:

    “I hate sell-by dates. Cant we just simplify it for everyone and have food expiration dates? Then stores can determine how close they want to get to that date, before pulling it. I can see at the store if there is enough time before buying it. And I know exactly when to throw it away at home.”

    In the UK, Marks & Spencer foods carry a sell by date AND a use by date.

  59. Scoobatz says:

    @fonzette: I used to work at a grocery store when I was in high school. One thing I clearly remember was managment telling us that eggs were still good up to one month after the sell-by date. In fact, if any stocked product hit the sell-by date, it wasn’t discarded, it was discounted.

  60. rrapynot says:

    “It’s not “poison” (despite being called “food poisoning,” a term which does encompass toxins and contaminants as well as bacteria, fungus, and other pathogens) it’s pathogens. You’re not, like, accumulating arsenic in your body! You’re getting a bacterial infection and purging it.”

    Wrong! Many bacteria in food produce chemical endotoxins that make you feel sick even if you cook the food.

  61. stubar says:

    @P_Smith: The whole “ice is dirtier than toilet water” thing is an entirely moot point. If you were to use public toilet water, filled as it is with all sorts of toxic chemicals to eliminate bacteria, to make ice, you’d probably drop dead before you could finish your soda.

  62. magic8ball says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: I have never understood that “wash chicken before cooking” idea. I’m still going to have to cook it to an internal temp that will kill the bacteria, so why bother?

    And I’m going to go with “campylobacter” on the spelling, rather than “cylampobacter.”

  63. Orv says:

    @azzy: I think all cheese molds are safe to eat. On hard cheeses I usually scrape off the moldy part but I don’t worry about cutting an inch beyond. On soft cheeses I usually throw them out because they’re usually starting to go ‘off’ by that point anyway.

    @Gann: Microwaves by themselves don’t kill bacteria. It’s the heat that does it. If you microwave the food long enough to reach a safe internal temperature, it will kill bacteria just like any other form of cooking…but hardly anyone cooks leftovers long enough for that, because they’d be overcooked.

  64. Christovir says:

    “Debunking” implies they explained why these things are not true, and cited references to support those claims. Instead they mostly just asserted they were myths, without much evidence. Without evidence, this is just a competing set of myths, and much of it does not pass the sniff-test. If this stuff were all true, humans would not have survived before refrigeration and modern sanitization. For example, I know for a fact (as do most people here) that 2 hour old pizza is not a health hazard. The “bacteria = bad” paradigm is well past its use-by date.

  65. Piri says:

    @ringo00: I think I’m like your roomate then! I love hot pizza, can eat cold pizza, but to me refrigerating it just ruins it. The crust just gets terrible. I’d rather the pie sit out overnight than end up in the fridge. I won’t eat it after noon or so the next day though, doing stale ruins the crust too.

  66. hi says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: Quote the full wikipedia sentence McGee. Foodborne illness is commonly called food poisoning, [b]even though most cases[/b] are caused by a variety of pathogenic bacteria, viruses, prions or parasites that contaminate food, [1] rather than chemical or natural toxins.

    @nedzeppelin: “it’s not “poison” when you get food poisoning”

    When I got food poisoning I almost died. I’m not glad I got it and I don’t feel like my body gained anything from this. I don’t know where you guys learned it is good for you but I’m telling you it is not. Read the full wiki.

    Another quote from wiki: “The term alimentary mycotoxicoses refers to the effect of poisoning by Mycotoxins through food consumption. Mycotoxins have prominently affected on human and animal health such as an outbreak which occurred in the UK in 1960 that caused the death of 100,000 turkeys which had consumed aflatoxin-contaminated peanut meal and the death of 5000 human lives by Alimentary toxic aleukia (ALA) in the USSR in World War II[9].”

  67. crichton007 says:

    Has no one seen the studies done lately about the 5 second rule? It is true, scientifically proven.

  68. crazyasianman says:

    “7. The five-second rule”

    I and my friends have a different system that bases the rule on the nastiness of the surface that the food was dropped on. then again, most of us have admitted to having eaten while sitting on the toilet at least once. not entirely sure how that made it into a conversation though…

  69. hi says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: @nedzeppelin:

    Food poisoning isn’t just caused by bateria.
    [en.wikipedia.org]

    ok, I’m done posting now. :)

  70. glater says:

    It’s not eating out of the trash, but when I was a kid we would order a few extra-large pizzas (donato’s pizza, ohio, best ever) on a friday night for dinner; we’d leave them out overnight on the table, and on saturday morning when it came time for cartoons my brothers and i would have pizza for breakfast (and sometimes lunch, depending on how much pie was left). Never, ever got sick from it, not once. To this day, donato’s pizza left out overnight is one of my favorite foods.

    Also once I ate bagels out of a dumpster. They were good.

  71. @magic8ball: I know you’re right about the chicken but I was raised you HAVE to wash it, and I’m having a superstitiously difficult time NOT doing that, lol.

    @hi: “Quote the full wikipedia sentence McGee.”

    I was reciting from memory what I had to learn for class, not wikipedia, so your bizarre accusation is unfounded. Apparently this is a difficult issue for you, having nearly died of food poisoning, but if you actually read the comments, you’ll see I acknowledge in another post that it’s not “just” pathogens, although it most commonly is, and that that is to what I was referring.

  72. Piri says:

    @hi: “Food poisoning isn’t just caused by bateria.” No, it’s not, but that is what you’re in danger of exposing yourself to if you leave your food out unrefrigerated which, based on the content in the article, I believe is what people here are discussing.

    Your food isn’t going to reanimate viruses or spontaneously produce flatworms by sitting on your kitchen counter. Any toxins that were present in your food immediately after it was cooked (meaning, those that aren’t broken down by high heat) will be ingested by you wether it’s 10 minutes or 10 hours later.

  73. Gopher bond says:

    People who get food poisoning are clearly little dandy girls that should sit and comb their long hair and sing songs for the tough people of the world.

  74. P_Smith says:

    @Bladefist: I hate sell-by dates. Cant we just simplify it for everyone and have food expiration dates? Then stores can determine how close they want to get to that date, before pulling it.

    What I’d like confirmation on (not meaning by you) is why there are short expiry dates on canned food. When I was growing up, canned foods were known to last on the shelf for up to five years, sometimes longer. Now most cans are given a two year expiry date.

    Are companies trying to encourage consumption by scaring people into thinking the cans won’t last? Or has the canning process changed for the worse and long term storage isn’t possible? I could understand foods with pull-tab lids being unsafe because the seal isn’t as thick, but not the traditional style of cans.

    I’m not thinking in paranoid survivalist terms, more like an emergency stash in case of an earthquake or something. Who wants to have to constantly monitor what they have stored for emergencies? As well, who doesn’t load up on canned seasonal foods (e.g. christmas pudding) or stuff that is no longer going to be made?

  75. Landru says:

    @picardia: It was probably the pizza you ate before swimming; how many nights was it on the floor before you ate it?

  76. nursetim says:

    @hi:
    However, in “The Princess Bride”, Wesley built up an immunity to a poison he used to defeat a bad guy. On a serious note, immunizations work the same way, they put a little bit of the virus in your system so you can fight it off down the road.

  77. The Porkchop Express says:

    @hi: Not all poisions work that way. Some build up in your system and some go away.

  78. The Porkchop Express says:

    @nursetim: Inconceivable

  79. @Lo-Pan: I do not think that word means what you think it means.

  80. reviarg says:

    5 second rule? At my fraternity this didn’t exist. We had the 12 inch rule. If the food came within 12 inches of the floor it was considered contaminated and unsafe to eat. (Our house was a disaster area, it was demolished 1 year after I graduated)

  81. Decaye says:

    Man. This list made me laugh. Obviously not written for college kids.

    Pizza is dangerous after 2 hours? Seriously? I eat pizza after 3 days regularly. 5 second rule? Only if it doesn’t take me 10 seconds to get the food.

    Ridiculous.

  82. farker says:

    Groceries around here put lots of food on clearance when it’s the day of the expiration date, or a day or two after the sell-by date. It’s easy to take it home, eat it that day, or freeze it for later, and you save a bundle on food costs.

    On another note, the 5-second rule was indeed disproven on Mythbusters…only two seconds of exposure are required.

  83. theRIAA says:

    I agree with them all except 6. While thawing things on the counter allows bacteria to grow all over them, cooking to the right temperature throughout will kill any bacteria.

  84. lockdog says:

    Ah man, when I was in high school I worked up in the mountains, living out of a tent. A bunch of us ordered some pizzas and had them delivered from Tupper Lake, even though the drive was 40 minutes each way. Somehow 1/2 a leftover pizza made it under the bunk in my tent. I ate off that thing for at least 5-6 days despite the temp swings from the mid-40s at night to high 80s during the day. Stale as hell but still good!

  85. timmus says:

    you are 10 times more likely to get food poisoning from chicken than fish.

    Indeed… only if it’s Tyson (or other similar factory raised meat).

  86. ginnylavender says:

    I think Americans are so paranoid about stuff like this because for generations we’ve never had real problems to deal with, like wars in our country or huge disasters like tsunamis and giant earthquakes. We have an easy life and we worry about very minor stuff. Try telling some of these worries to people who escaped from the Khmer Rouge and made it to this country–they would roll on the floor laughing.

  87. Major-General says:

    The woman who got the Ignoble prize for research on the five second rule at the University of Chicago showed that in most dining areas on campus the floors had less bacteria than the tables.