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Bacterial Food Poisoning... Very informative short bulletin... Save it for future reference....

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Types of bacteria, symptoms associated with it, temperature ranges, types of foods susceptible/host etc.... Good informative read....


http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/food-technology/bacterial-food-poisoning/
post #2 of 12

Very informative article thanks Dave

Ronnie g.

post #3 of 12

Great article Dave - Thanks

 

It needs something like as a reminder for everyone who prepares food at relatively low temperatures for long periods. Most will be fine as the standard smoking temperatures are generally safe however it is important to realise the importance of minimising the time that food is kept within the bacteria danger zone before and after cooking. Temperature and bacteria awareness is always important when preparing any foods but especially important when air drying meats or cold smoking things like minced meat and chicken.

 

What usually happens when people ingest sufficient bacteria is that they feel rough or get a bad gas attack - sometimes a day or so later - and this is often not put down to the food but to the beer that they have drunk or even to a mild attack of flu... For susceptible folks though this can be a life threatening problem.

 

When producing cold smoked air dried meat especially this is can be a real risk if the correct precautions are not taken - also with non-acidic canned foods.

 

From experience, some people on here can be a little dismissive of catering standard food hygiene but in my opinion you can never be too careful - especially when cooking for others.

 

Take the appropriate precautions and everyone can have the confidence that what they produce is safe.

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
I was surprised at the number of "things" that can grow at refrigerator temperatures and those that have spores that survive cooking heat treatment....

Stuff I never heard before..... or forgot......

Dave
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveOmak View Post

I was surprised at the number of "things" that can grow at refrigerator temperatures and those that have spores that survive cooking heat treatment....

Stuff I never heard before..... or forgot......

Dave

 

Yes, some are not aware that boiling (100 C, 212 F at sea level) will not kill some of the really nasty spores. Boiling at altitude will kill even less - as water will boil at a lower temperature. Luckily this is not usually a problem if the food is eaten quickly however - if it is subsequently stored for an extended time, or stored anaerobically in the right conditions for a period of time - it can become very toxic. Vac packed food that is not frozen, pressure canned food that has not reached the required temperature for long enough and air dried products that have not been appropriately cured can all pose a serious risk to health.

 

Unfortunately it is like playing Russian roulette - If you are someone who does not take the basic precautions you may be perfectly OK 99 times out of 100 but it is the 100th time that will kill you - or someone you love! 

 

I am sorry if that was a little too morbid for the forum...

post #6 of 12

wow i thought getting temps high enough i would be safe. Luckily when preparing anything i go cleaning crazy in the kitchen..LOL. Wife loves it. Just kind of freaky how tough these bacteria are.

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thatcho View Post
 

wow i thought getting temps high enough i would be safe. Luckily when preparing anything i go cleaning crazy in the kitchen..LOL. Wife loves it. Just kind of freaky how tough these bacteria are.

 

Don't get too worried Thatcho. The bacteria themselves are easy enough to kill. Providing you get the centre of most uncut meats above 140F (60C), because most of the bacteria on a slab of meat are on the surface (which will usually have reached at a higher temperature than the centre) then you will be fine. Salmonella, which is usually found on the surface of foods is killed at 160F (71C) and so long as the surface of the meat has reached that temperature for a period of time then there is not a problem.

 

With minced meat though (burgers and sausages etc.) the act of mincing actually means whatever was on the meat surface is now liberally distributed throughout the whole of the food. This is why it is important to get the centre of the food containing chopped or minced meat also up to 160F (71C) to ensure that all of the bacteria are killed.

 

Bacteria spores though are harder to kill and one that is all around us but usually does us little harm in its dormant state is Clostridium Botulinum. However when it finds itself in a warm place that is not acidic with low oxygen levels (e.g. medium pH containers of canned or vac packed food at room temperature) then it starts to produce a very unpleasant toxin that causes botulism in humans. So long as we take the sensible precautions it is not usually a problem to us. In order to minimise risk eat cooked food soon after cooking or chill and freeze it. Also avoid storing it in a low oxygen environment at room temperature. The spores do not like an acid environment so things like pickles, sauces high in acidic tomatoes and BBQ sauces that usually contain vinegar are relatively safe. If you want to kill the spores completely then you need to heat them up to 250F (121C) for 3 minutes or  240F (115C) for more than 20 minutes. In order to get to 240F you would need a pressure canner - which are easily purchased online.

 

They can also be controlled chemically and this is the method used in most curing salts

 

Smoking a pork shoulder or brisket for several hours and then consuming within a few days (if it lasts that long) should not cause you any problems.

post #8 of 12

Bit of a qualifier here:  I was a 91T in the U.S. Army stationed in Cairo Egypt (Naval Medical Research Unit #3 - NAMRU3) doing medical research.

 

The vast majority of bacteria that we're typically afflicted by are those we're all familiar with (Staph, Salmonella, Clostridium, Campy, E.Coli, Listeria) and most of these are fairly easy to detect by smell, with the exception of Clostridium (eg: Botulism).  Also, it's not the bacteria itself you always have to worry about.  Often, you can kill the bacteria entirely, but the toxins produced by said bacteria (very specifically in the case of Clostridium) continue to be every bit as deadly no matter what the temperature you cooked it at.  (Even thoroughly cooked meat that has been rotted by staph can be deadly).

 

Botulism (a type of Clostridium) is the one beast that is the worst of them all since its spores are literally EVERYWHERE (fortunately for us, it prefers a low oxygen environment).  Every day, you're breathing in Botulin spores whether you like it or not.  The vast majority of people just don't have the body PH/O2 balance for them to grow so they're not a problem.  (As a side note, ignore EVERY warning given to you about Honey being a botulin spore harbor, I can provide more info on that if interested.)  

 

When it comes to food, though, particularly those in canned anaerobic conditions, this is where Botulism becomes a problem.

 

There is one thing all dangerous bacteria have in common (Botulin included):  Off gassing.  Get yourself a vacuum sealer and seal everything up, and you have a pretty solid indicator of bacterial growth that works past smell alone.  (For this reason, even though I sterilize our chicken stock with a canner, if the lid pops off too easily, no matter how good it smells it goes down the drain).  If you've vacuumed sealed your meats, and there's air introduced, sure, it could be a pin hole in the bag, but is it worth the risk?  

 

Now, since we're on a smoker forum, I'll let you know that I've been doing some very interesting experiments with long-term storage of smoked meats.  Pretty much all bacteria dies within a few hours at 105 degrees (thus the reason we get fevers), within minutes at 140, and within seconds at 160.  Smoking for extended periods of time literally sterilizes the meat.  (Again, bear in mind, this does not include spores which don't start to die until the 240-ish mark - but these your body is (are?) quite capable of handling.)  

 

Long and the short of it is: if you're immunosuppressed to the point that botulin spores are a risk, you'd already be living in a bubble.  BUT, if you're planning on storing your post-smoked foods for any length of time (eg: more than a day), then either A.) Can them so you can cook them at high temps long enough to kill the spores and easily detect any off-gassing, or B.) Vacuum seal them and toss anything that has air in it where it shouldn't.  Botulin toxin is no joke.  Unless you're going for some home-grown botox, which I would not particularly recommend.  The "stroke" look isn't "in" these days.

 

Fun math fact:  A single bacteria reproduces approximately once every 20 minutes.  Thus if you have a single bacteria on your food (and the food is left in ideal growing conditions - roughly the temperature of the human body), you'll have 2 in 20 minutes, 4 in 40, and 8 in 60.  In 12 hours, there will be 68,719,476,736 individual bacteria on the food.  The more you know.  *rainbow*

 

-Javin


Edited by Javin007 - 2/21/14 at 8:58am
post #9 of 12

Really wish I could edit posts... :(

 

In other news, you have remarkably little to worry about if the CENTER of the cut of meat doesn't hit temperature for an extended period of time.  DEPENDING ON WHERE YOU GET IT, Generally speaking, if the center of the meat had these bacteria in it, the critter would've been dead before butchering.  BUT, the caveat here is if you're not getting your meats from a trusted local butcher, you can't really be sure that they didn't stab some infected needle into the meat to add water/salt/flavorings to the inside of it to "make it better" for you, and potentially introduce said bacteria.

 

Edit:  K, I'm a special kind of stupid.  The obvious "edit" button allows me to edit... Is there a "delete" button?

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade in http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/157860/what-next-for-my-second-smoke
 

The important thing is to get the areas of the meat that are at higher risk up to temperature as quickly as possible. Usually with a chunk of meat this is the surface and as JJ says, putting it in an oven at 120C plus will do what is required. The point that JJ also made about puncturing the meat is less intuitive but is nonetheless just as critical a point to remember. Once you pierce the meat for any reason - injection, additional of herbs/flavourings etc. then the cut or injection hole that you have made has now just taken the "surface" of the meat deep inside the meat itself. These new "surfaces" that you have created by piercing the meat will take much longer to get to temperature, especially when cooking at low temperatures. This will mean that they will stay in the danger zone for both the time you have taken to prepare the meat before cooking and for the cooking time itself. If you have cooked for several hours and the deep inside temperature does not actually go above 71C (160F) then you are significantly increasing the risk from bacteria like salmonella. Taking basic care to ensure that all of the meat reaches the required temperature and that it stays within the danger zone for as short a period of time as possible will mean that you and your guests will remain safe.

 

 

Hi Javin. Posted in a different group but relevant to your post too I think.

post #11 of 12

Yes, what Wade says.  

 

And let's not forget that thermometer probe as a potential vector.  No matter how clean it is, you're pressing bacteria from the surface deep into the meat.

 

In the vast majority of cases, it's a non-issue, as you'll get stabby just before putting the meat into the smoker, and the internal temperature will hit that 105 mark when the bacteria quit growing and start dying.  However, if you stick your thermometer in, say, chicken, then for some reason decide to leave that at room temperature for 6 hours before sticking in the smoker, you do significantly increase the chance of giving your more sensitive guests Montezuma's Revenge.

 

Here's a chart we should all commit to memory.  This also explains why smoking (extended periods at lower temperature) actually makes it much SAFER to eat foods at these lower temperatures (eg: The fact that I only cook my chicken into the mid 140's):

http://www.primolicious.com/info/svsaf/more/pathobacsal

 

This is because once my chicken's internal temperature hits 145, it'll be there (or higher) for half an hour or more, making it every bit as undesirable for bacteria as having sat at the FDA recommended 165 for just a few seconds.  Keep in mind that bacteria's lifespan is a matter of heat over time, not just heat itself.  Bacteria doesn't multiply at 164 degrees then implode at 165.  You want to get your meat's internal temperature above 105 fairly quickly, but from there out, you can take your time getting it to whatever target temperature you're looking for.  These FDA recommended interior temperatures are there to get people who aren't willing to do the research well into that safety zone with a minimal amount of information and a microwave while keeping the government's feet well out of the fire.  

 

When you start reading about people cooking beef and pork into the 180's though, we're no longer worried about bacteria at all, but rather are doing this to reach the temperatures that the collagen turns to gelatin at a cellular level, making the meat more tender.


Edited by Javin007 - 2/21/14 at 2:51am
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Javin007 View Post

Really wish I could edit posts... :(

In other news, you have remarkably little to worry about if the CENTER of the cut of meat doesn't hit temperature for an extended period of time.  DEPENDING ON WHERE YOU GET IT, Generally speaking, if the center of the meat had these bacteria in it, the critter would've been dead before butchering.  BUT, the caveat here is if you're not getting your meats from a trusted local butcher, you can't really be sure that they didn't stab some infected needle into the meat to add water/salt/flavorings to the inside of it to "make it better" for you, and potentially introduce said bacteria.

Edit:  K, I'm a special kind of stupid.  The obvious "edit" button allows me to edit... Is there a "delete" button?



Bottom left of the post "box" there is a pencil.... click on it and edit away......

Dave
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