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Botsulism: Just cursious about the safety always preached. - Page 4

post #61 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by inkjunkie View Post

Have a neighbor that claims to be a farmer. His plans are to strike it rich by raising/slaughtering pigs. After joining here I seen it mentioned that ALL pork needs to spend 30 days frozen prior to consumption. Mentioned this to my know it all neighbor and he claims it is BS. Apparently his plans are to sell the meat at local farmers markets. This scares me more than the thought of botulism. One could argue that you can buy his products and just freeze them yourself. But not everyone knows about how pork should be frozen. Not to mention if any one seen the way there land is kept it might make them wonder if everything was sanitary when the pigs were butchered.
I consider myself lucky to have never even had a mild case of food poisoning. I do my best to keep things clean and to adhere to the basic food safety rules. That being said I do feel some folks are more than a bit paranoid about things.....like my prior comment about stale smoke. To a point some of this is common sense.


On several occasions, I have noted it is best and recommended to freeze wild pigs for 30 days at zero or below to kill trichinosis...

Dave
post #62 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by fpmich View Post
 

My question was why so much emphasis put on botulism safety over all others.  There are other bug-a-boos in meat that can make us sick and even die from too.

I think the chance of getting food poisoning from them is much more prevalent, than botulism.

 

I think there are several reasons for this. One is the fear of the unknown. With some strains of botulinum there is little evidence when it is present in the food and it is not unusual for a certain amount of additional paranoia to manifest itself when a potential danger is "invisible". Another is that, although it is rare, the results of infection can be devastating. 

 

Most of the over emphasis in the forums though I think is due to a certain amount of ignorance, often brought on by fear, by those who do not really understand what botulinum it is and how easy it is to prevent. A little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing and can lead to elements of truth being extrapolated to extremes.

 

In practice Botulinum is unlikely to be a problem when hot smoking foods as the toxin and spores are quickly broken down at temperatures below those usually found in the smoker. The risks of botulism due to previously punctured meat when smoked are also minimal for the same reasons. When shelf life testing vac pack products that are stored above 3 C in the UK, the government guidelines are that if no botulinum growth controlling factors are applied then the shelf life of the product has to be restricted to 10 days*. Bearing this timescale in mind, any increased risks of botulism whilst the meat is cooking in the smoker for a relatively short period of time are going to be negligible. 

 

Where the risks of botulinum are increased are when food is stored in low oxygen environments for extended periods without any growth controlling factors (low pH, heat treatment, water activity < 0.97, high salt or added preservative). This is usually in canned/bottled foods, some air dried products or foods that have no controlling factors applied.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcarch View Post
 

Yes, absolutely “When in doubt, throw it out”, don't take chances, but make sure you really read the whole concept of food safety recommendations and only apply the relevant guidelines to your own situation, IMHO.

 

Absolutely, “When in doubt, throw it out” however the more you learn about food safety the less "doubt" that you will have in a given situation. When preparing food commercially there should be no deviation from USDA (or UK FSA over here) standards, however with a good understanding of the principles of food safety, when cooking at home you can take informed decisions as to when a risk moves from being negligible to becoming a potential threat.

 

* This only refers to botulinum safety. Other factors may require a product to have a shorter shelf life.

post #63 of 98

As a FYI, some folks may not know that infused oils are also a danger. If you like to drop some garlic in olive oil and leave it sitting on the table, you may be in for a nasty surprise. Here's a safety bulletin for University of Maine that discusses the topic.  http://umaine.edu/publications/4385e/

 

I had lots of extra basil at the end of the summer a few years ago. I mixed it with garlic and olive oil and stored it on the pantry shelf. I used it for several months. After reading about the danger of doing what I did, I not only felt stupid but also lucky that I didn't hurt my wife and kids. Needless to say, I've never done that again. 

 

I was naive as to the danger. When I mentioned it to a much older friend, he remembered folks that died of botulism when he was a kid. They were coal miners who canned lots of food for the winter. Much of the meat and fish they canned were packed in oil or lard. Seems like folks dying of botulism wasn't that uncommon in our little town. 


Edited by CueInCO - 4/2/15 at 4:17pm
post #64 of 98
I saw something in this thread that talked about choking down the exhaust and creating "stale smoke" and that causing the "big B" the way I understood it the choked down exhaust increases the chances of the "big C" C being creosote.
 
As for putting the thermometer in too soon and Chef Jimmy can correct me if I'm wrong the reason is that if there is bacteria or other "nasty" on the outside of the meat you just pushed it well inside the meat. The same can be said for not sterilizing a probe before using it. It doesn't really need to be 4 hours I think is was a meat surface temp of more than 140 degrees but don't remember for sure.
 
 
We preach the USDA standards because that is what the site owner wants and since we're on his site that's what we follow. Personally I think he wants people to be safe and somewhat limit possible liabilities. I also think people should understand that some new members have never really cooked much and don't know the proper procedures so why not teach them the right way
 
post #65 of 98

Thank you Wade for helping people to understand why we do what we do. Anyone that has had it knows they don't want to get it again or accidentally teach someone else the wrong way and hurt their family. I was sick for a long time and nearly lost some internal organs. Thank goodness I was in my early twentys and had a strong immune system.

post #66 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pineywoods View Post
 
-----As for putting the thermometer in too soon and Chef Jimmy can correct me if I'm wrong the reason is that if there is bacteria or other "nasty" on the outside of the meat you just pushed it well inside the meat. The same can be said for not sterilizing a probe before using it. ------

 

And you worry about your little thermometer probe? By law, they do not have to tell you that your meat has been treated this way.

 

dcarch

 

 

post #67 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcarch View Post
 

 

And you worry about your little thermometer probe?

 

dcarch

 

That equipment and the sterilization of it is super highly regulated by the FDA. I have been told by pops it is safe. Unlike the home injector or prober. You can sterilize your needle and probe but how do you sterilize the outside of the meat carch?

post #68 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by timberjet View Post

That equipment and the sterilization of it is super highly regulated by the FDA. I have been told by pops it is safe. Unlike the home injector or prober. You can sterilize your needle and probe but how do you sterilize the outside of the meat carch?
How do they (meat plant) sterilize the meat?
post #69 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by timberjet View Post
 

That equipment and the sterilization of it is super highly regulated by the FDA. I have been told by pops it is safe. Unlike the home injector or prober. You can sterilize your needle and probe but how do you sterilize the outside of the meat carch?

 

And so do Hospitals. They are more highly regulated than any other types of facilities.

 

Yet you know the statistics of people getting sick from being in the hospital.

 

I sterilize meat (cold smoke, sous vide, etc) by dipping the meat in boiling water for a few seconds or torch quickly.

 

dcarch

post #70 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by CueInCO View Post

As a FYI, some folks may not know that infused oils are also a danger. If you like to drop some garlic in olive oil and leave it sitting on the table, you may be in for a nasty surprise. Here's a safety bulletin for University of Maine that discusses the topic.  http://umaine.edu/publications/4385e/

I had lots of extra basil at the end of the summer a few years ago. I mixed it with garlic and olive oil and stored it on the pantry shelf. I used it for several months. After reading about the danger of doing what I did, I not only felt stupid but also lucky that I didn't hurt my wife and kids. Needless to say, I've never done that again. 

I was naive as to the danger. When I mentioned it to a much older friend, he remembered folks that died of botulism when he was a kid. They were coal miners who canned lots of food for the winter. Much of the meat and fish they canned were packed in oil or lard. Seems like folks dying of botulism wasn't that uncommon in our little town. 
If you grew up in CO (screen name hint) you grew in the state the 4th most cases of foodborne Botulism poisoning between 1950-1996- 30 cases (about half fatal 15).
About 14% were caused by meat products-if we keep the proportions 2-3 people died from bot poisoning due to consumption of meat products in Colorado between 1950-1996.
This season alone 5 children have died in Colorado from flu complications.
post #71 of 98

I've been in CO for 30 years, but I didn't grow up here. My old-timer friend was talking about when he was a kid in the 1930's. During the Depression, I guess a lot of folks were canning food and doing whatever they could to get by. He remembered folks getting sick from botulism. Based on the numbers you reported, I wonder if the altitude has something to do with it. 

 

My friend (he'd be 90+ if he was still alive) also remembered jackrabbit roundups.  All the adults and kids would go out of town into farmers' fields to drive jackrabbits into the center of the field and then club them. They'd load all the rabbits into the back of a city dumptruck and haul them back to town. They'd dump them into the middle of Main Street and let whoever wanted them come and collect them. He remembered all "the old widows" would come down and collect rabbits. The Social Safety Net of the 1930s. 

 

I guess if you couple questionable meat with desperate processes, the end result may be dangerous. 

post #72 of 98
Quote: " As for putting the thermometer in too soon and Chef Jimmy can correct me if I'm wrong the reason is that if there is bacteria or other "nasty" on the outside of the meat you just pushed it well inside the meat. The same can be said for not sterilizing a probe before using it. It doesn't really need to be 4 hours I think is was a meat surface temp of more than 140 degrees but don't remember for sure. "
 
Yes this is true....BUT....There are many other factors involved. 
Is there bacteria on that surface? Commercially packaged meats are packed in highly controlled environments. This is why the meat the butcher cuts and wrapped is shot in 3-5 days yet Sealed commercial pack meats have 3-5 WEEK shelve lives.
Many folks wash meat. Simple running water goes a long way toward removing surface bacteria...NO it's not sterile but the risk is lower as long as care is taken to not splash water around the room contaminating other surfaces.
Many of us apply a coating of Salt and Sugar with our rub...These chemicals quickly suck moisture out of the bacteria's cell structure killing them or simply bind up available moisture from around the bacteria and they can't multiply. 
Why does the USDA and all smoking sites preach smoking un-cured meats at 225°F or higher? Because this is a temp that not only kills surface bacteria very quickly, has been shown to be effective at getting the IT of the most commonly available meat cuts above 140°F in 4 hours. 
Is there there a chance that " Probing " raw meat will make you sick...Yes.  If for whatever reason the meat was probed raw must we lambaste the newbie into tossing $100 worth of meat...NO! 
There are no Black and White rules to smoking only PROVEN guidelines developed over many generations of trial and error, that will limit the risks. In general...No single or multiple occurrences of bacterial contamination from Probing and Injecting etc, alone will kill you. Nor will things like closing down the exhaust (all smokers are different) to limit oxygen. IF the smoker temp drops below 200°F for a couple hours, no big deal or IF it takes my meat 6 hours to get above 140°F, It does not matter....Food Poisoning is the result of Gross Mishandling or Multiple mistakes. If you probe or inject and and only one thing goes wrong, it takes 6 hours to get to an IT of 140°, there is no reason to panic. As long as we learn under what circumstances Bacteria can harm us, learn how to manage the situation and limit to only one mistake...There is little reason to beat each other up and as usual, RUDE posts or text will be deleted at managements discretion...JJ
post #73 of 98

As far as the OP, Yes Botulism is rare but it EASILY multiplies under the conditions of Smoking, Curing and Canning. It is extremely dangerous and where virtually all the more common bugs will give you a couple of days of Gastric Distress, the Toxin of Clostridium Botulinum is more likely to cause severe problems including paralyze or kill you. Many types of bacteria are all controlled in the same manner. So whether talking about CB, Salmonella, Ecoli or others, the rules of Safe Food Handling are the same and when we talk about one, we are educating on controlling all.

 

It is important to understand as much as possible about food safety so we can catch most of the problems before one or two mistakes has a severe outcome. If we know the possible issues and the fix, there will be very, very few circumstances where food has to be tossed out...JJ

post #74 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef JimmyJ View Post
 

As far as the OP, Yes Botulism is rare but it EASILY multiplies under the conditions of Smoking, Curing and Canning. It is extremely dangerous and where virtually all the more common bugs will give you a couple of days of Gastric Distress, the Toxin of Clostridium Botulinum is more likely to cause severe problems including paralyze or kill you. Many types of bacteria are all controlled in the same manner. So whether talking about CB, Salmonella, Ecoli or others, the rules of Safe Food Handling are the same and when we talk about one, we are educating on controlling all.

 

It is important to understand as much as possible about food safety so we can catch most of the problems before one or two mistakes has a severe outcome. If we know the possible issues and the fix, there will be very, very few circumstances where food has to be tossed out...JJ

 

Thats a damn good point, all the things we do are involved with it, whereas all the commercial production is geared now to avoid any chances.

 

Really Good point Chef!

post #75 of 98
Thread Starter 

I guess I deserves all the negative comments, as I didn't state in original post "botulism warning over all others".

I did mention that, in either my 2sd or 3rd post though.  But I think by then, people didn't read it thoroughly.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chef JimmyJ View Post
 

There are no Black and White rules to smoking only PROVEN guidelines developed over many generations of trial and error, that will limit the risks. In general...No single or multiple occurrences of bacterial contamination from Probing and Injecting etc, alone will kill you. Nor will things like closing down the exhaust (all smokers are different) to limit oxygen. IF the smoker temp drops below 200°F for a couple hours, no big deal or IF it takes my meat 6 hours to get above 140°F, It does not matter....Food Poisoning is the result of Gross Mishandling or Multiple mistakes. If you probe or inject and and only one thing goes wrong, it takes 6 hours to get to an IT of 140°, there is no reason to panic. As long as we learn under what circumstances Bacteria can harm us, learn how to manage the situation and limit to only one mistake

--------------------------------------------

As far as the OP, Yes Botulism is rare but it EASILY multiplies under the conditions of Smoking, Curing and Canning. It is extremely dangerous and where virtually all the more common bugs will give you a couple of days of Gastric Distress, the Toxin of Clostridium Botulinum is more likely to cause severe problems including paralyze or kill you. Many types of bacteria are all controlled in the same manner. So whether talking about CB, Salmonella, Ecoli or others, the rules of Safe Food Handling are the same and when we talk about one, we are educating on controlling all.

 

It is important to understand as much as possible about food safety so we can catch most of the problems before one or two mistakes has a severe outcome. If we know the possible issues and the fix, there will be very, very few circumstances where food has to be tossed out...JJ

Thank you Chef JJ.

 

So are you saying that if we follow the guidelines for botulism safety, we are also eliminating all, or most, other bugs as well?  Such as Listeria, salmonella, and E.Coli?

 

And are there times we can go less on guidelines, for foods such as cured jerky, or cold, or semi-cold smoked, fish (below 165* finish temp?

post #76 of 98
Thread Starter 

Dave, I'm surprised at your responses.

You, other than Pops, above all, should know how much I want to be safe, from our conservations of the last year or so, on how to calculate cures.

post #77 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by fpmich View Post

Dave, I'm surprised at your responses.
You, other than Pops, above all, should know how much I want to be safe, from our conservations of the last year or so, on how to calculate cures.


Your question seemed to imply.... precautions were not necessary due to the infrequency folks got botulism....

Anyway, that's the way I interpreted your question.......
post #78 of 98
Thread Starter 

Yeah, I know Dave,

My fault.  Read up to post # 75.

 

But even in my 1st post, I stated I was not saying, nor implying to ignore safety guidelines.

 

I always try to come in under the safety mark.  But if I go over just a bit, I'm not tossing it.  I just won't give it away to others.

 

This forum has given more info on food safety than I ever thought existed, and I have learned much and follow that.  My question was why Bot warnings over all others.  But I didn't phrase it that way,  My fault.

 

No sweat my friend.  These things happen on the net.

post #79 of 98
No problem..... all is OK.....
post #80 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by fpmich View Post
 

Thank you Chef JJ.

 

So are you saying that if we follow the guidelines for botulism safety, we are also eliminating all, or most, other bugs as well?  Such as Listeria, salmonella, and E.Coli?

 

And are there times we can go less on guidelines, for foods such as cured jerky, or cold, or semi-cold smoked, fish (below 165* finish temp?

Frank, your " Why CB? ", question is valid. We are pointing out that while the incidence of infection is low, the impact can be great. Additionally the CB bacteria is very common in basic soil. This is why proper canning of veggies is so critical. Cross contamination from produce to meat can happen as well. The reason we don't have greater numbers of out breaks is because fortunately, we don't often have a set of multiple mistakes/malfunctions take place and thorough cooking can degrade the toxin.

 

Each different type of bacteria has it's unique condition for growth outside the basic living conditions common to many animals. Some like Oxygen, some no oxygen, some tolerate salt and acid others not so much. Fortunately the general conditions for bacterial growth overlap to a great extent. Bacteria needs Warm Temps, 40 to 140°F. There are exceptions but in general bacteria growth slows or stops at temps below 40 and with the exception of Spore forming bacteria like CB, are killed at about 140°F, less if held at a steady temp for a longer time period. Bacteria needs Food, meat protein provides a great growth medium for most bacteria. Bacteria need Moisture. Any time we can limit available moisture bacterial growth is limited. Drying meat, cooking meat, using Salt / Sugar heavy rubs will bind available moisture and can even suck moisture out of the bacteria cells killing them. Most bacteria like a Ph close to neutral. Vinegar based marinades and sauces can extend shelf life, Fermented Dry Cured sausages like Salami are made of raw meat but the reduction of water through drying and the higher acidity caused by fermentation lets us store at room temps for months. Bacteria needs Time to Grow. This is why we can have time to prep our meat or use the " 4 Hour " guideline when smoking meat that has had the surface broken.. When you pull a Butt out of the refer going to a room temp of 72°F the bacteria will take between 2 and 6 hours to wake up and get multiplying. So by following general rules of sanitation and safe food handling we can control almost all growth of bacteria that can cause harm.

 

Now these are " Guidelines " so yes if you know EXACTLY what you are doing, you know the quality of your meat and how it was handled AND there are no additional problems during the cook, you can push the limits. Being a Moderator and following the Forum policy dictates that we follow USDA Guidelines including, temp and time limits and additive percentages, etc Is an injected Turkey safe upon reaching an IT of 140 in 3 hours and 59 minutes but absolutely Deadly if it took 4 hours and 30 minutes? NO that is silly! However...Was that Turkey processed in an facility that has more health violations than employees? Was it shipped cross country in a box car without refrigeration? Was that bird sitting at the bottom of a refer display case at <38 °or was it 3 feet in the air in an overfilled display? Was the bird defrosted over a couple of days in the refer or garage at <38°F or did it spend 24 hours on a counter during a balmy 75° Louisiana Wednesday leading up to Thanksgiving? These examples might sound extreme but are very common. I spent a couple years answering a Thanksgiving Help Line and working at grocery stores and have seen ALL these examples. Now the CRAZY Part...If any ONE of those things happened to that Turkey AND the rest of the cook goes without a single failure including smoking no larger than a 12-14 pound bird, smoking at a temp over 225, and smoking to a uniform IT of 165-175°F verified with a tested true Thermometer...The Bird was probably perfectly safe to eat and Grandma or Grandpa got rave reviews on another tasty TG Turkey....Happens all the time and NO I am not advocating cooking a mishandled bird, just puttin' out the facts...JJ

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