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*
Edited by Javin007 - 2/21/14 at 8:58am