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The not so Thankful Thanksgiving - Essay Example

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Summary
The Gibsons cleaned, prepared and stuffed a turkey on a cutting board, prior to putting it in the oven, for being cooked overnight. The cutting board was not cleaned but just wiped dry with a paper towel. In the morning the same cutting board without being cleaned was used for cutting vegetables to be eaten raw…
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The not so Thankful Thanksgiving
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of the of the of the The not so Thankful Thanksgiving The Gibsons cleaned, prepared and stuffed a turkey on a cutting board, prior to putting it in the oven, for being cooked overnight. The cutting board was not cleaned but just wiped dry with a paper towel. In the morning the same cutting board without being cleaned was used for cutting vegetables to be eaten raw. Around midday the turkey was removed from the oven and kept in the open in the kitchen, which was quite warm. The guests and hosts after a sumptuous dinner watched the idiot box for four hours, after which some of these people had another helping of the exposed turkey meat. At around 8 P.M the remnants of the turkey were placed in the refrigerator.
From the foregoing description of the activities and the subsequent events that transpired, it is obvious that the Gibsons' and their guests had contracted Enteritis. This is an inflammatory disease of the intestine, accompanied usually by abdominal pain or cramps, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, and diarrhoea. (Enteritis).
The most common micro-organisms contributing to food borne illnesses associated with turkey are Campylobacter jejuni, Clostridium perfringens, Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. coli), Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, Shigella and Staphylococcus aureus (Onset, Duration, and Symptoms of Food borne Illness).
Considering the time of onset and the lab reports of the Gibsons' it is obvious that the organism involved is Salmonella serotype Enteritidis bacterium. The turkey was left at room temperature for 4 hours from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM. The salmonella bacteria multiplies rapidly in cooked food which is left at room temperature and the cooked turkey becomes unfit for consumption after two hours if it is left at room temperature. (Turkey handling, storage and safety). Also most of the salmonella enteritidis infections do not require much treatment. So the Gibsons were discharged by the hospital after being treated as out patients and hence they went home without any elaborate treatment.
The factors which led to this unpleasant situation for the Gibsons are that the cutting board that they had used for preparing and stuffing the turkey was not cleaned properly after it had been used. Further, they had used it to prepare carrot sticks, celery sticks stuffed with cream cheese and other vegetables to be served raw as a part of the relish tray, without first cleaning the board properly.
This was a capital blunder as the salmonella bacteria is found in uncooked poultry especially turkey and mainly spreads by cross contamination. This led to this mishap as the contents of the relish tray, namely the carrot sticks, the celery sticks stuffed with cream cheese and the other vegetables were infected with this pathogen by cross contamination. To compound the felony, leaving the turkey for such a long a period on the kitchen counter was inviting trouble as it is not recommended to leave turkey meat exposed to the elements as any pathogen present in the turkey multiplies rapidly at the 40F to 140F room temperature.
The salmonella species is especially vicious in as much as that it can infect people even if present in small numbers. Also the gravy was heated before being poured on the turkey meat. The Gibsons erred in not having removed the leftover turkey meat from the bones as soon as possible after the meal and then subsequently refrigerating it. Another major blunder that the Gibsons committed was that they did not take cognizance of the fact that the wings and legs of the turkey could have been refrigerated as they were, but any left over meat on the body of the turkey should have been removed as the turkey had been stuffed.
When the adults started eating this contaminated food in the evening, about 40960 viable pathogens are estimated to have been present in their diet. The pathogens in even such small numbers are capable of infecting healthy individuals and this is borne out by the events that took place on that Thanksgiving Day. The foregoing illustrates that meat and poultry should be prepared and preserved carefully, as it gets contaminated very easily.
Works Cited
Enteritis, Microsoft Encarta Reference Library 2004.
Onset, Duration and Symptoms of Food borne Illness . 12th October 2005. U.S. Food and
Drug Administration. Centre for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. <
http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/mow/app2.html>.
Turkey Handling, Safety & Storage. Hormel Foods, Our Kitchen. <
http://www.hormel.com/templates/knowledge/knowledge.asp. Read More
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