This question, Do fridges really keep things fresh, was put on hold by a moderator as off topic using the dialogue

This question does not appear to be about medical sciences, within the scope defined in the help center.

On topic questions, per the help center article on-topic

  • clinical guidelines
  • disease prevention and management
  • human physiology and pathophysiology
  • pharmacology
  • diagnostic and prognostic methods
  • public health
  • medical research

Food safety is part of public health and disease prevention. Food safety is taught in medical school, typically as part of a microbiology or infectious disease course, and there are entire departments that deal with it at local, national, and international public health agencies. Appropriately, we have a food-safety tag. The tag should probably get some attention and a definition, but it is DEFINITELY a medical science.

The question at issue here doesn't show the best research effort, but but appears to be an honest question, and has a good, accepted answer, and is definitely on topic.

I've nominated the question for re-opening. Please re-open it and don't hammer close food safety questions. Food safety/foodborne illness is on topic according to our definition of medical science.

To clarify, if you are of the very odd opinion (to someone who works in infectious disease and public health) that food safety is somehow not public health, disease prevention, or medical science, you may be interested to know that it is "on topic" at the NHS, CDC, WHO, PHAC, Australian Department of Health, and literally every public health agency I've ever worked with.

  • On topic with the new scope? Or our old one? – JohnP Dec 13 '18 at 19:49
  • I think the title of this question should be "Should food safety questions be on topic here?" because food safety isn't mentioned in the help center at all under either the old or new scope. – Carey Gregory Dec 13 '18 at 20:59
  • I'm prone to agree with De Novo that food safety in general should be considered on topic, but it's kind of a slippery slope and the questions would have to be very narrow. For example, "To what temperature do I need to cook chicken?" is a food safety question, but it's also clearly more appropriate on Cooking.SE. I would not want to see food preparation questions at all. I think if we're going to allow food safety questions, we need to define very carefully what the limits are. – Carey Gregory Dec 13 '18 at 21:01
  • @CareyGregory the fact that we have a tag, and it is a clear part of public health and disease prevention would seem to be enough. I didn't title the question "Should food safety questions be on topic here" because the help center would need to be re worded to make food safety questions off topic. – De Novo Dec 13 '18 at 21:59
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    If you wanted an answer about taste and texture of chicken cooked using different methods, that would be Cooking.SE. If you wanted one about the medical science re: disease prevention , you would ask it here (to what temperature should chicken be cooked to prevent illness). That is a question asked and answered in the medical literature, studied and disseminated by public health organizations. – De Novo Dec 13 '18 at 22:00
  • Related, we don't need a separate bullet on the help list for "immunization", because it is also clearly public health and disease prevention. – De Novo Dec 13 '18 at 22:02
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    @JohnP i would be interested in your rationale for how it would be off topic in either scope. – De Novo Dec 13 '18 at 22:03
  • I wouldn't put much weight in the fact that there's a tag. Tags aren't vetted. Anyone with 1500 rep can create tags, and we've got a number of ridiculous ones that shouldn't even exist. As for food prep, I would really hate to see questions on food preparation. Questions on cellular biology are also asked and answered in the medical literature but we move those to Biology. I would want to do the same with food prep. – Carey Gregory Dec 13 '18 at 22:26
  • Re overlap with Cooking.SE, I see that food handling is on topic for Cooking.SE. I haven't participated in that community, but I don't believe whether a topic has overlap between sites is a good standard for whether it is on topic. Food safety is such a large part of the role and budget of public health organizations, it's frankly bizarre to me that how any moderator would not consider it to be medical science. How do you square the clear role of food safety in public health and disease prevention with being off topic? It's not asking how to chop things, but how to not get salmonella. – De Novo Dec 13 '18 at 22:27
  • Dunno if we have to spell it out, but for me: 'anything food' == nutrition ==> cooking cannot be the way to go. // Although in this case, there are more problems to address. This looks like 3 metaQs: 1. food/nutrition/public health: on topic or not (JohnP & Carey: nay; DeNovo & me: yay? -> needs more clear spelling out) 2. Problems to the specific Q (DeNovo & me & …? [prior research?!]) 3. Close-reason or ModHammer-reason (DeNovo & me & … [good fit here?]) // (In this case: "Food safety = on-topic or not?" seems to me overly specific compared to the 3 issues just listed) – LаngLаngС Dec 13 '18 at 22:29
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    @LangLangC To clarify my position, nutrition is a different can of worms. There is too much variability and opinion in advice, and it is often a question about how to get fit, vs. disease prevention. We've also clearly disallowed nutrition questions in the help center article. Food safety is clearly microbiology and infectious disease, as disease prevention, and has to be on topic, unless there is a thorough meta discussion and help center edit taking it out explicitly. – De Novo Dec 13 '18 at 22:32
  • @DeNovo Pending discussion aside: without more 'prior research' added in, I cannot convince myself to re-open on this pretty basic Q. Once OP adds that, I'm all game for it. // Agreement on the nutritional value of a can of worms ;) – LаngLаngС Dec 13 '18 at 22:32
  • Sorry for my tone :) I just fully expected the response to be, "whoops, yes this is on topic, lets open it and we can see if the community wants to close for lack of research." I just didn't expect it not to be obvious. Is there some discussion I'm not aware of about taking public health and disease prevention out of the help center article? – De Novo Dec 13 '18 at 22:38
  • @LangLangC Not sure why you attribute a nay to me on food/nutrition/public health. Food and nutrition are definitely off topic, but public health is specifically on topic and I agree it should be. – Carey Gregory Dec 14 '18 at 0:56
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    As I said in my first comment, I'm prone to agree that food safety should be on topic. It's clearly medical science. However, I think such questions need to be fairly specific and stay away from issues more appropriate to Cooking. As for the question that was closed, I wouldn't have closed it as off topic but I was considering closing it for lack of prior research. The need for refrigeration is about as easy as a web search can be. – Carey Gregory Dec 14 '18 at 1:02

I've created a new question for discussion of the issues raised in comments.

Should food safety questions be considered on topic, and if so what, if any, limits should there be?

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