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Food Handling General Discussion General and open discussion for food handling and safety.


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Old 06-03-2016, 03:48 AM   #1
Panupat
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Default Sausage safety without Sodium Nitrate

Hi everyone.

I'm wondering. Assuming the meat was perfectly safe when we got them, what are the chances of our sausage becoming toxic (such as botulinum) after casing? I watched Franklin's channel and he left his sausage in the fridge for a night before smoking them, is that long enough to allow any harmful bacteria to grow?
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Old 06-03-2016, 06:00 AM   #2
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The idea with botulinum is it was on everything from the second you got it. So it's not about it getting infected after the casing. My guess is you watched Franklin cook these things to a proper internal temperature.

Botulism is only a threat for uncooked foods and by uncooked I mean not brought up to a temperature high enough and for long enough to kill the bacteria and destroy the toxins. I'm pretty sure the latter is the most important.

Also I might be wrong here but I'm pretty sure the deal with casing is really that it restricts oxygen which creates the right environment for the toxin to be produced. Either way cooking makes it kosher from everything I know.
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Old 06-03-2016, 08:19 AM   #3
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Oh so it's always there on the meat? I see, thank you Ibrahim.

I found an interesting quote on Wikipedia.

Quote:
Although the botulinum toxin is destroyed by thorough cooking over the course of a few minutes,[22][23] the spore itself is not killed by the temperatures reached with normal sea-level-pressure boiling, leaving it free to grow and again produce the toxin when conditions are right.
So that means we should eat the sausage soon after it's smoked?
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Old 06-03-2016, 10:09 AM   #4
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Use cure and you don't have to worry. Nitrites prevent the transformation of C. botulinum spores into toxins. It is almost like applying a vaccine to eliminate a disease. By curing meats with nitrites, we protect ourselves from possibly contracting a deadly disease. Nitrites are cheap, commonly available, and completely safe in amounts recommended by the Food and Drug Administration. So why not use them?
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Old 06-03-2016, 10:19 AM   #5
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Oh, one other thing. Have you ever wondered why docs say not to feed honey to an infant? Spores of Clostridium botulinum bacteria, found in dirt and dust, can contaminate honey. These bacteria are harmless to older kids and adults because their mature digestive systems can move the spores through the body before they cause any harm. But very young babies haven't developed the ability to handle the spores yet. So if an infant ingests them, the bacteria germinate, multiply, and produce a toxin. That toxin interferes with the normal interaction between the muscles and nerves and can hamper an infant's ability to move, eat, and breathe.

Bottom line, adults pass spores, infants don't. Don't confuse spores with toxin, which will get you at any age.
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Old 06-03-2016, 10:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panupat View Post
Oh so it's always there on the meat? I see, thank you Ibrahim.

I found an interesting quote on Wikipedia.



So that means we should eat the sausage soon after it's smyoked?
Meaning don't leave food out unrefrigerated.
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Old 06-05-2016, 07:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IbrahimSS View Post
The idea with botulinum is it was on everything from the second you got it. So it's not about it getting infected after the casing. My guess is you watched Franklin cook these things to a proper internal temperature.

Botulism is only a threat for uncooked foods and by uncooked I mean not brought up to a temperature high enough and for long enough to kill the bacteria and destroy the toxins. I'm pretty sure the latter is the most important.

Also I might be wrong here but I'm pretty sure the deal with casing is really that it restricts oxygen which creates the right environment for the toxin to be produced. Either way cooking makes it kosher from everything I know.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Okie Sawbones View Post
Use cure and you don't have to worry. Nitrites prevent the transformation of C. botulinum spores into toxins. It is almost like applying a vaccine to eliminate a disease. By curing meats with nitrites, we protect ourselves from possibly contracting a deadly disease. Nitrites are cheap, commonly available, and completely safe in amounts recommended by the Food and Drug Administration. So why not use them?
The above have covered everything I could bring into this conversation.

However I would like to add: Don't confuse cooking sausage in a smoker with cold smoking sausage at low temperatures. The recipes and formulations are completely different because they are stored, cooked, and smoked in distinctive contrasting methods. They also produce two distinctively different products with completely different characteristics of taste, texture and color. The difference is as plain and simple as comparing smoking a pork butt for pulled pork to a cured smoked ham, completely different in all aspects.

If you are smoking sausage at normal cooking temperatures in the smoker, (probably the case with Franklin's video, Texas Sausage) you are cooking the sausage at a safe cooking temperature killing the bacteria.

If you are smoking at a low temperature for a long period of time, this is when you enter the danger zone. Smoking at low temperatures creates a warm, moist, humid environment, and the smoke displaces the oxygen, creating the perfect host for the bacteria to grow (danger zone temperature, humidity, and void of oxygen).

The nitrite you add for curing and cold smoking prevents bacteria from growing while you keep it for an extended period of time in the refrigerator, and then smoke it in the temperature "danger zone" for another extended period of time. But as Michael Ruhlman says in the article, they're not bad for you, so why risk it? When used properly, the cure simply dissipates into a gas and there are is no sodium nitrite remaining in the final cured product.

There has been and always will be debate on the use of nitrites and nitrates in curing meat. Some will argue that only salt it is needed as a curing agent. They argue that "mankind has cured meats for centuries without the use of these additives." This statement is only partially true, because mankind did not intentionally add the nitrites when curing, they were natural formations of nitrites. It is also impossible to tell how many people in these centuries actually died from food poisoning because of the extended incubation time of these lethal bacteria. Today we have the medical technology to diagnose and treat food-borne illnesses, as unpleasant and painful as they may be, it is necessary to take precautions to avoid and prevent these food-borne illnesses.

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Old 06-05-2016, 12:00 PM   #8
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Thank you for your detailed explanation IamMadMan. It seems to be a popular believe in my country atm that we either die fast from the bacteria, or die slowly consuming small amount of nitrate over and over. I guess the latter is not true right if we use the right amount of nitrate?

In my case I definitely would be doing hot smoke so I can probably get away without nitrates? To be honest I'm quite scared using it in my meat as I heard too much of these can be very poisonous on its own.
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Old 06-05-2016, 01:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panupat View Post
Thank you for your detailed explanation IamMadMan. It seems to be a popular believe in my country atm that we either die fast from the bacteria, or die slowly consuming small amount of nitrate over and over. I guess the latter is not true right if we use the right amount of nitrate?

In my case I definitely would be doing hot smoke so I can probably get away without nitrates? To be honest I'm quite scared using it in my meat as I heard too much of these can be very poisonous on its own.

Yes Panupat, as long as the meat has been properly butchered, and kept refrigerated below 4 degrees Celsius the bacteria can be kept in check until it is cooked. As far as nitrites, when used properly in the right amount, and allowed to cure at the proper temperature, they are very safe.

I think where the problem comes into play with nitrite safety is when one uses the correct amount, and then thinks that maybe more is better. It the application of too much nitrite that can cause health issues as well as nitrite poisoning. Also the nitrite compound should never be used in place of regular table salt, and should be stored where it could be mistaken as salt.

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