The thing is, there are are a lot of different kinds of food safety questions.
For example the one we both answered about scalding - you could argue that it's a food safety question because it was originally done for food safety (and sometimes still is).
- Can I eat the apple used to stuff a turkey (after cooking)?
- What is the minimum internal temperature I need to cook a turkey to?
- Can I reuse marinade that was used on raw meat?
- How do I clean a cutting board that was used for raw meat?
- How do I store [X] to maximize its lifetime and how long will it last?
- Is it safe to eat this food that's been sitting in my fridge for 3 years and has turned green and blue?
All of these are completely different questions. The last of the above examples is pretty silly but, not surprisingly, has actually been asked (obviously not using those exact words). The second-last is probably going to be the most common type of "food safety" question and is very easy to cross-reference. The one before that is almost a "technique" question, and the one before that really should be common sense (although apparently it isn't). The first two examples are basic, but I think it would be hard to explain to people why we've decided that they're off-topic.
I can even imagine certain instances where the person asking the question doesn't even know that there's a safety issue and thinks it's just about taste.
No, I don't think we can just label them off-topic. They're certainly not my favourite questions, but if we disallow these and allow other tangential topics like equipment purchasing or wine pairing, the scope starts to look like swiss cheese, with everybody dancing around the holes trying to land on the magical "on topic" area. I think that we either have to be restrictive or permissive; we can't reasonably cherry-pick areas just because they might constitute a legal liability.
A disclaimer in the FAQ should be sufficient, something like:
Posts on [Site Name] are community-edited and may not be verified against authoritative sources. [Company Name] is not responsible for any false claims made about food safety or any other subject. Readers are strongly recommended to independently verify any unsourced claims before acting upon them.
I also don't know exactly how the business model works, but if it were me, I would probably set up a different limited-liability corporation for each site. Regardless, I don't think it should fall to us to try to hunt down and eliminate every safety claim; even if we declared it off-topic, there's still a good chance that something will slip through the cracks, and then we'll need the legal mumbo-jumbo anyway.
I'm sure the team has a lawyer or two they can consult; surely they've had to deal with these issues already on Stack Overflow (let's not forget that software is also used in hospitals, avionics, and other life-or-death situations). Let's stick to the disclaimer and be done with it.