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nancylee

Newbie Question about Food Safe

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DAY    8

"In reality, the higher end chain stores are selling low fired, decorated wares with zero qualms. I see glazed terra cotta wares for sale. I see sets of dishes with crackled glaze in my local department store. It seems impossibly confusing to me. "

Good point, Chris!

And we also have to worry about lightning, and sharks, and alien abduction. (also, the Mad Cows are baaaack!)

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sobai    0

Newbie, too! Just taking baby steps into the pottery world (addictive!) and I'm using these boards to gain informative knowledge, in tandem with actual hands on experience. I came across this thread while investigating different types of food safe clay and firing methods. All the posts are helpful, interesting and appreciated.

 

Please excuse my lack of pottery knowledge; hoping this isn't a dumb question but . . .

 

Just wondering (regarding earthenware / unglazed clay pots and food safety) how cooking with Romertopf and other similar clay pots (commercial or hand thrown) relates to this thread. I have cooked with this type clay pot in the past but the cleaning of same was just too exhausting to make it worth my while - too much food getting into porous crevices. I was also concerned about food safety issues. The instructions state the pot is to be submerged in water (activating the porous feature and allowing steam to produce cooking effect) before use and that the pot is be heated at a high temperature during the cooking cycle, high enough to kill off the 'bad' bacteria. However, most people I know who have used this type clay pot cooking, usually let the pot sit for long periods of time after cooking thus allowing for the possibility of food bacteria to grow and harbor. With millions of these pots for sale, and in use, how is this unglazed earthenware pot any different from the thrown earthenware food safety concern being posed?

 

Still clear as mud (or clay) and interested in your thoughts.

 

Thanks.

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potterbeth    8

One other thing to remember...not all glazes (cone 06 OR cone 6) are food safe, whether they're crazed or not. Commercially prepared glazes are labeled for food safety. I do remind students that the label applies only to that specific glaze used by itself and fired properly. If one glaze is layered over another, it will chemically alter both glazes which could change the food safety rating. Do I tell them not to layer glazes? Of course not, that would ruin a lot of fun. But I do tell them how to do simple leaching tests (sliced lemon OR white vinegar) if they're concerned.

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JBaymore    1,432

 

So, knowing that restaurants can't legally use non-vitrified ceramic ware due to its porosity and inability to be effectively cleaned, should potters be selling it? We strive to meet the other standard of food safety regarding leaching of toxic chemicals, so should we hold ourselves to this standard as well?

 

 

Note that the FDA (and California) regulations for lead and cadmium apply to all food use wares sold. The other standards you are looking at apply onlt to matgerials USED IN THE FOOD SERVICE INDUSTRY, not for household use. The demands an usage are QUITE different.

 

best,

 

 

....................john

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Nancy S.    21

Just wondering (regarding earthenware / unglazed clay pots and food safety) how cooking with Romertopf and other similar clay pots (commercial or hand thrown) relates to this thread. I have cooked with this type clay pot in the past but the cleaning of same was just too exhausting to make it worth my while - too much food getting into porous crevices. I was also concerned about food safety issues. The instructions state the pot is to be submerged in water (activating the porous feature and allowing steam to produce cooking effect) before use and that the pot is be heated at a high temperature during the cooking cycle, high enough to kill off the 'bad' bacteria. However, most people I know who have used this type clay pot cooking, usually let the pot sit for long periods of time after cooking thus allowing for the possibility of food bacteria to grow and harbor. With millions of these pots for sale, and in use, how is this unglazed earthenware pot any different from the thrown earthenware food safety concern being posed?

 

 

I can't find anything at the Romertopf site, but I know the unglazed bakers/stones/etc from Pampered Chef are *stoneware* -- not earthenware. I'd bet the Romertopf is also stoneware (of some ilk) as well -- since it's fired to a higher temperature, it's more durable in the long run and doesn't hold as much water as earthenware does. Not as porous means not as many nooks and crannies for bacteria to hide.

 

From what I've read, part of the allure of unglazed stoneware is that, over time and with regular use, it will become "seasoned" -- it will become a little more non-stick and (according to some sources) enhance the flavor of the food you're cooking...kind of like cast iron skillets. smile.gif

 

Of course, whether that's true or not, I haven't had the chance to find out.

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mss    2

Hi,

Maybe I'm the only microbiologist/potter? Bacteria are tiny! (from http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/cellular-microscopic/cell1.htm) " A typical human cell might be one-tenth of the diameter of your hair (10 microns).... An Escherichia coli bacterium ... is about one-hundredth the size of a human cell (maybe a micron long and one-tenth of a micron wide), so it is invisible without a microscope. " So, like angels on the head of a pin, you can easily have millions of bacteria in a tiny crack in a pot.

mss

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Benzine    610

 

John, after reading that article, it makes me think of all the other articles, and news stories, that talk about how harmful bacteria and "germs" are just everywhere. That's the biggest problem in my opinion. You have news agencies, looking for something to report, and R&D and marketing branches of companies, looking for a new product they can hock, that focuses on the demand for a solution to a new problem.

 

I was washing the dishes the other day, when I remembered a news story, about how "dirty" a dish sponge can be, because it holds on to bacteria and such. I'm not saying, that's not true, but I'm not going to microwave my sponge, as they recommend" to kill off the little beasties. The way I see, unless I'm going around mopping up poultry juices constantly, my sponge is relatively clean, or at least not contaminated with anything that's going to harm me or my family.

And unless people want to live their lives in a "Clean Room", or start scrubbing their dish/ silverware and counter tops with irradiated bleach and fire, we all need to relax, and realize that our immune systems work pretty well on their own.

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