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Green spots on Bologna

dedecv3

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Hello, new member here. I found this site while researching trying to find a cause for a customers returned smoked venison bologna. A customer picked up their bologna frozen and vacuum sealed this past Thursday. They thawed and sliced a full 3 lb log on Friday. All appeared and tasted normal at the time. Then today when they went to eat a piece it was covered in green spots. Every slice, random spots throughout. This is a sweet bologna with hot pepper jack cheese. We are a large deer processor and make tens of thousand of pounds of smoked venison producst a year. We use a computer controlled, commercial smokehouse. We have never seen or heard any such complaint previously. Trying to figure out if this was something we did in our process that may have caused this. They returned 3 other sticks which were still frozen and vacuum sealed. For now we are going to thaw those and slice in the same manner the customer did to see if we can duplicate what happened.

Edit: Note that the spots are not just around the cheese. Very randomized just like the cheese. We checked the dates on the cheese and the cheese is good. Some of the green spots are all the way along the edge so I think I can rule out not being fully cooked.
 

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flatbroke

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were the sticks given to them frozen ?
 

thirdeye

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I'm assuming you are using Cure #1?

If so, I've come across articles on 'nitrite burn' which results in a green color on bacon. Most are published by a State Extension office or a university. The general consensus is that nitrite burn, while unsightly, is okay to eat.... HOWEVER I recall a couple of articles that mention 'green spots' or mold are not acceptable. Sorry, I don't recall the reasoning. I'll do some digging.

Edit: This PRODUCER is saying green spots in their product can be caused by celery powder, which is high in natural nitrates.
 
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dedecv3

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were the sticks given to them frozen ?
Yes, it is a sweet bologna. We let it hang in the cooler 3-4 days after smoking then it is cut in halves, vacuum sealed and frozen until the customer has picked up the order.
 

dedecv3

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I'm assuming you are using Cure #1?

If so, I've come across articles on 'nitrite burn' which results in a green color on bacon. Most are published by a State Extension office or a university. The general consensus is that nitrite burn, while unsightly, is okay to eat.... HOWEVER I recall a couple of articles that mention 'green spots' or mold are not acceptable. Sorry, I don't recall the reasoning. I'll do some digging.

Edit: This PRODUCER is saying green spots in their product can be caused by celery powder, which is high in natural nitrates.
Yes, cure #1 is mixed and ground with the meat. Then left in the cooler a day or so before smoking and curing. I've seen posts related to green spots on bacon and I do not think it is the same thing.

According to the customer the spots "appeared" after 2 days. I am starting to lean towards this being the result of something the customer did. Maybe they tried thawing in hot water or a microwave then left it set out at room temp all day? Really not sure. However I am thawing their other 3 sticks which were still frozen then I will slice and see if the same green spots appear after a few days in the cooler.
 

jcam222

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Is it possible for you to send it out for analysis? Based on the nature of your business and potential liability I’d think it wise to find out exactly what happened.
 

DanMcG

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I was just reading about someone having the same issue, but not sure where I saw it now. I'll keep looking.
OR have you posted this on another site too?
 

DanMcG

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Would you share your recipe and methods, It might help to get to the bottom of the issue.
 

dedecv3

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The recipe is pretty basic...Salt, Pepper, Brown Sugar, Cure, water...90/10 venison and beef. Smoked about 5 hours starting @ 140 then up to 185 til internal 160 temp. We literally make tens of thousands of lbs of product a year and bologna is always gives us the most consistent results. We have not noticed any inconsistency or issues with the batches nor have we ever had any previous similar complaints.

Sulpher is a possibility as our well does have a bit of sulphur.

I have not posted this elsewhere so if there is a similar post elsewhere on the internet I'd appreciate a link.

I have thawed multiple sticks from the same batch as well as the other still froze sticks the customers returned and sliced them all to see if the green spots appear same as they did for this customer. Will update with results.

I have Identified a lab which I will contact tomorrow to see what testing can be done.
 

chopsaw

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I have had this trouble myself , do to oxidation around high temp cheese in Summer sausage .
It shows up after slicing , and air gets to the surface of the slice . The addition of sodium erythorbate helps to keep this from happening . I add it in myself , or only use a pre mix that has it in the mix . No more trouble .

 
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dedecv3

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I have had this trouble myself , do to oxidation around high temp cheese in Summer sausage .
It shows up after slicing , and air gets to the surface of the slice . The addition of sodium erythorbate helps to keep this from happening . I add it in myself , or only use a pre mix that has it in the mix . No more trouble .

An ad for sodium erythorbate showed up on this page. I clicked on it and the description says it prevents exactly this problem. Interesting.

A common ingredient used in sausage making and meat curing for accelerating the breakdown of sodium nitrite allowing you to smoke cured meats immediately after stuffing. It also acts as an anti-oxidant which prevents discoloration/pigmentation of meats treated with Cure. The latter is important for those using high-temp cheese in cured sausage, Erythorbate will act as a color stabilizer and prevent the meat directly in contact with the cheese from turning odd colors via oxidation (when this occurs it is not spoilage) and give it an even consistent appearance.
 

chopsaw

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An ad for sodium erythorbate showed up on this page. I clicked on it and the description says it prevents exactly this problem. Interesting.
I posted that so you could read thru it .
 

dedecv3

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I posted that so you could read thru it .
Thank you. I ordered some to try/use.

The two other sticks of pepper jack I sliced up last night have started to develop the same green spots. The cheddar stick shows no signs.
 

chopsaw

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Wondering if you used high temp cheese ?
When I had this happen , it took 2 to 3 days to show up on slices , or the end of the stick .
Good luck let us know how it goes .
 

DanMcG

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I use extra sharp store bought cheese and haven't had a problem ....yet
 

chopsaw

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I use extra sharp store bought cheese and haven't had a problem ....yet
That's why I was wondering what he used . Most descriptions call out the problem with high temp cheese .
Dan do you use a mix , or make up your own ?
 

DanMcG

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Summer sausage I usually use a mix.
 

dedecv3

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Wondering if you used high temp cheese ?
When I had this happen , it took 2 to 3 days to show up on slices , or the end of the stick .
Good luck let us know how it goes .
Yes, it was high temp pepper jack and the spots are starting to show up after 12 hours after slicing. The customer brought theirs in 48 hours after slicing and there are multiple spots on each slice.
 

dedecv3

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MYSTERY SOLVED - It's the cheese.

Contacted our local supplier whom we purchased our cheese. They are seeing the same thing over the last few weeks, they have also had other customers contacting them with the same.

The cheese was purchased from Biery Cheese out of Ohio and dated 12/4/19. I contacted them directly and am awaiting a return call with further explanation as to what this means for our product. We used all but 5 lbs of 160 lbs we last purchased which I assume was all dated the same.
 

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