Food Safety

Decorating By Rylan Updated 12 Mar 2009 , 1:14am by panchanewjersey

Rylan Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 9:29am
post #1 of 16

I am so paranoid when it comes to food safety. I've read a lot of great ideas that use tools not meant for direct food contact. Things such as clay/play doh modeling tolls, regular rubber stamps, scrapbooking things, things you can find in the "paint" section of a hardware store and TONS of other tools. I've also seen it on tv, people using these "odd" tools for cake decorating. I think they are great but do you think that those tools can be passed if it is inspected by the health department? I'm not sure myself, thats why I want to know.

People say they have been using some of those tools for years and no one has ever gotten sick, but why take the risk? I mean look at it this way, people buy lottery tickets and usually don't win, but they do have a chance. You can buy 10 lottery tickets a day for a lifetime and never win, but guess what, someone eventually wins. Yes it can be 1 in a million but we all know its still possible. Same thing as food safety, yes no one has gotten sick as of now, but what if someone does? Aren't you liable for it? Are you willing to risk your business?

I've read one article here in cake central mentioning that it is not safe to use regular rubber stamps on food. It said that there is a specific rubber stamp made for food.

I'm pretty sure most people would say, "who cares, no one has gotten sick from my cakes" or "My great grandmother, grandmother, mother and me has been doing this for a while now and no one has gotten sick". Maybe you're just lucky, I think you will have to be in the position to actually think back.

15 replies
majka_ze Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 11:13am
post #2 of 16

I am one of those who use the "odd" tools for decorating. Some are odd only because how I use it - I know they are meant for contact with food. With some others I am not so sure.

As I bake cakes only as hobby, I am in different position from people who need to pass an inspection.
The risks are however the same. Not as much "it is made from food grade material" because most of it stays in contact with food for second only (stamps, scrapers, modeling tools ...). My main concern is "can it be cleaned well" if I want to use it for second time.

peg818 Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 1:46pm
post #3 of 16

I would worry more about the fillings and icings that people leave out overnight or longer and don't seem to think about the bacteria that can and will grow in it.

I doubt that one would pass inspection if they are using non food stuff in/on their cakes. But of course it would depend on what the inspector chooses to look at because lets face it they don't/can't look at everything. They usually have a few key things that they look for then they are on to the next food establishment.

leah_s Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 1:56pm
post #4 of 16

If the tool can be sanitized, there really should be no problem.

kakeladi Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 3:49pm
post #5 of 16

I agree w/leahs. It only takes soaking bleach water (2 Tablespoons of bleach in 1 gal of water); soak for 2 minutes the rinse w/fresh running water and let dry.
For years and years people did not know to keep butter in the frig. Can you really trace back anyone who died from eating it? Others (probably still) kept bacon grease or a pot of 'stew fixins' on the back burner for days and days......again have you ever been able to say for absolutely that anyone died from eating those?
Yes, most of us have and use common sense about such things. But.....having taken the 'food servers course' I can assure you they scare you more than they teach!

indydebi Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 5:29pm
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by kakeladi

But.....having taken the 'food servers course' I can assure you they scare you more than they teach!



oh man do I so agree! After taking that course, my family is not allowed to purchase anything Amish, nor are they allowed to buy from bake sales.

Rylan Posted 11 Mar 2009 , 10:03am
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by kakeladi

I agree w/leahs. It only takes soaking bleach water (2 Tablespoons of bleach in 1 gal of water); soak for 2 minutes the rinse w/fresh running water and let dry.
For years and years people did not know to keep butter in the frig. Can you really trace back anyone who died from eating it? Others (probably still) kept bacon grease or a pot of 'stew fixins' on the back burner for days and days......again have you ever been able to say for absolutely that anyone died from eating those?
Yes, most of us have and use common sense about such things. But.....having taken the 'food servers course' I can assure you they scare you more than they teach!




Good point. But do you think bleach can remove all the possible chemicals that can possible leach in to the cake? I've heard it somewhere that there has been traces of unsafe chemicals or such sort found in some plastic,vinyl etc. Or lets say, we soak a foam roller with a bleach mixture, do you think it would totally be free from toxins that it could possible have?

I really don't think that there is a high chance of someone dying from what I have mentioned earlier but do you think "IF" a toxic substance was found in your cake, will you be liable for it? Do you think you can lose your business?

Sorry I've been watching too many CSI shows. icon_biggrin.gif

Carolynlovescake Posted 11 Mar 2009 , 12:19pm
post #8 of 16

I wonder how many skin cells are on/mixed into fondant from our hands working with it.

That concerns me more than odd tools used to decorate the cake.

icon_lol.gif

Sugar_Plum_Fairy Posted 11 Mar 2009 , 12:41pm
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by kakeladi

I agree w/leahs. It only takes soaking bleach water (2 Tablespoons of bleach in 1 gal of water); soak for 2 minutes the rinse w/fresh running water and let dry.
For years and years people did not know to keep butter in the frig. Can you really trace back anyone who died from eating it? Others (probably still) kept bacon grease or a pot of 'stew fixins' on the back burner for days and days......again have you ever been able to say for absolutely that anyone died from eating those?
Yes, most of us have and use common sense about such things. But.....having taken the 'food servers course' I can assure you they scare you more than they teach!




That would explain why I used to argue with my husband about putting butter in the refrigerator. His parents leave it out all day long!! I always thought that was disgusting and try as best as I can not to use it when we visit. My father-in-law also has this thing about letting cheese come to room temp before serving/using it. His lasagna has gotten us more than once (stomach issues), so again I try not to eat any of this, but it's difficult since he puts cheese in so many dishes.

But at least now I understand a little about their mindset with butter.

tx_cupcake Posted 11 Mar 2009 , 12:50pm
post #10 of 16

After seeing some of the crap holes that pass for licensed kitchens around here, the "risks" of my using a foam roller to smooth icing don't seem very monumental.

Odds of winning the lottery: 18 million to 1.
Odds of dying from drinking water (in the US): 10 million to 1.

kakeladi Posted 11 Mar 2009 , 12:54pm
post #11 of 16

Oh how I wish I could remember the exact title of a book I read recently - about food in Appalachia. What was done back in the early 1900s to keep food! It was written as a sort of cookbook.....lots of recipes - like:
Take a teacup full of bacon fat and mix in flour until dough consistency......etcicon_smile.gif
It was soooooo very interesting. You would not believe how far we have come in food safety!
I don't worry at all about trace amounts of some chemical maybe being in some tool I'm using. When you know that so many rat droppings are allowed by law to be in food why be worried about some *possible* trace something!

BitsnBites Posted 11 Mar 2009 , 1:19pm
post #12 of 16

I get what RylanTy is saying. Yes, I think that ppl use non foodsafe tools that are full of chemicals that may leach into the food. But most of the times, the chemical composition of the material has to be altered in some way. Think BPA in baby bottles, it became dangerous because ppl put the bottles in the microwave, thous heating the plastic and changing the composition of the chemical.
The mount of time the stamp or whatever is in contact with the food is minimal, as is the amount of chemicals transferred, not enough to be considered dangerous. Maybe it is a chemical that gets stored in the body and it just accumulates in there. But I don't think ppl eat cake everyday for it to become a problem.
Also, even though product are no "foodsafe" they still have to be made with safe chemicals because they come in contact with your skin.

I wouldn't worry so much about it. And as far as making anyone sick, if they do make anyone sick its probably not going to be diarrhea, it would probably be cancer and I seriously doubt that that would be 100% attributed to eating cake.

Birdiepants Posted 11 Mar 2009 , 1:58pm
post #13 of 16

Very well said meegh. I couldn't have said it better.

Rylan Posted 11 Mar 2009 , 10:09pm
post #14 of 16

Kekeladi and meegh, I understand where you are coming from. I totally agree with what everyone says. I'm more concerned when it comes to business. Ok lets say no one dies and no one will ever die from anyones cake. BUT if ever you got inspected, will you lose. your business? Yes or No? Are you placing your business in jeopardy? Thats my question because I honestly don't know the answer.

Because if selling dragees in California can cause you big trouble, can using non food safe tools cause you trouble too?

peg818 Posted 12 Mar 2009 , 12:59am
post #15 of 16

frankly, i believe the inspector will tell you to remove those items from your kitchen and if you have them there when your next inspection comes up then you would get fined.

panchanewjersey Posted 12 Mar 2009 , 1:14am
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by leahs

If the tool can be sanitized, there really should be no problem.




You know I've used the rubber stamps on a few cupcakes to emboss but I bought and use them only for food and as Leah said if they can be sanitized then use them. I wash and keep them in a sanitzed container after I've cleaned and dried. You may have a point about food safety issues but I'd be more concerned about unclean, unsanitary areas where food is prepared and you don't know if people wash their hands or who's got what...hepatitis..etc

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