Any meat or food that is smoked below 190 def. F, should have nitrite in it to kill off the possibility of growing botulism......
Adding 1 gram or so, of cure #1 per pound of meat, will go a long way in food borne illness prevention... botulism is the deadliest pathogen known to man...
The Botulism Organism
There currently are seven known types of Clostridium botulinum bacteria. These differ in such characteristics as proteolytic activity, tolerance to salt and reduced water activity, minimum growth temperature and heat resistance.
The proteolytic type A, B and F strains produce very heat-resistant spores which are a major concern in the processing of low-acid foods. These types digest proteins in foods and produce a foul odor that may warn consumers of spoilage.
The nonproteolytic B, E and F strains can grow at refrigerated temperatures, but produce spores of very low heat resistance. These types cause problems primarily in pasteurized or unheated foods. Because they are nonproteolytic, no off-odor or evidence of spoilage may be produced with toxin development.
Type C strains cause botulism in birds, turtles, cattle, sheep and horses. Type D is associated with forage poisoning of cattle and sheep in Australia and South Africa. No outbreaks of type G have been reported; however, type G has been isolated in cases of sudden and unexpected death in humans.
Inactive Clostridium botulinum spores are found in soil and water throughout the world. In the spore form, these bacteria are relatively harmless. The problem occurs when the spores germinate into vegetative or actively growing cells. As the vegetative cells grow they become overpopulated and begin to die. As they do, they produce the deadly neurotoxin that causes botulism.
Type A toxin is more lethal than types B and E. The toxin is a protein which can be inactivated by heating at 180 degrees F for 10 minutes. The toxin can be absorbed into the blood stream through the respiratory mucous membranes as well as through the wall of the stomach and intestine.
Several conditions must be present for the germination and growth of Clostridium botulinum spores. Acid level is a primary factor. A pH near 7 or neutral favors the growth of Clostridium botulinum, while growth is inhibited at a pH of 4.6 or lower. The pH of a food also influences the amount of heat needed to kill C. botulinum spores; the higher the pH, the greater the level of heat needed.
A second important factor affecting the growth and toxin production is temperature. Proteolytic types grow between 55 and 122 degrees F, with most rapid growth occurring at 95 degrees F. Nonproteolytic types grow between 38 and 113 degrees F, with an optimum for growth and toxin production at about 86 degrees F. For these types, refrigeration above 38 degrees F may not be a complete safeguard against botulism.
Another important condition affecting the growth of Clostridium botulinum is the presence of oxygen. These organisms can’t grow if air or free oxygen is present in their microenvironment (the area immediately next to them). This area is so small that it is not readily observed. Therefore, it is possible to have conditions develop in a food system or wound whereby it appears that lots of air is available, but in reality there are areas where no air is present and anaerobic organisms, such as Clostridium botulinum, if present, can germinate and grow. Anaerobic conditions develop when food is canned. If the food is not heated enough to kill the spores of Clostridium botulinum, the spores will germinate and grow during subsequent storage of the food.
Canning is not the only condition in the manufacture and preservation of foods in which anaerobic conditions can develop. Smoked fish can develop anaerobic conditions in the visceral cavity and under the skin. The interior of sausage also may become anaerobic during the preservation process. Anaerobic conditions capable of supporting the growth of C. botulinum also have developed in such foods as chopped garlic in oil, foil-wrapped baked potatoes, roasted chili peppers in plastic bags, canned cheese sauce, sauteed onions, turkey loaves, meat stews and pot pies left at room temperature or in a warming oven overnight. In these cases the original baking killed competing organisms and eliminated much of the oxygen in the micro-environment under the crust, foil or buttery coating. Subsequent storage at warm temperatures created an ideal environment for the germination and growth of botulinum spores. For these types of foods, growth of Clostridium botulinum is inhibited by storage at a low temperature (below 38 degrees F) and/or the use of a preservative, such as sodium nitrite.