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Nepas OTBS #242
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Dec 25, 2010
Rineyville, KY
For those of you with questions on dry cure and fermentation. Hope y'all find this information valuable as i have.
[h4]Dry and Semi-Dry Sausage Technology Robert E. Rust[/h4]
Dry and semi-dry sausage represents one of the oldest forms of meat preservation. Without knowing why our ancestors found out several thousand years ago that salted meat, either in whole pieces or cut up and stuffed in animal casings, would keep for months under normal climatic conditions when properly dried. Certain areas of Europe, particulary Northern Italy, Switzerland, and Hungary, because of their ideal climatic conditions, developed reputations for the production of these sausages which were dried, either in caves or in sheds.

It wasn't until 1900 that the microbial basis for dry and semi-dry sausage production was first discovered. In 1940 the first patent covering the use of a starter culture to prepare semi-dry sausage was issued. In 1958 the first commercial starter culture was offered to the meat industry.

European vs. US Type Products
As the dry and semi-dry sausages moved to the US from European origins, several changes took place. In Europe, fermentation is usually a slow process with fermentation temperatures around 75°F(24°C). Subsequent drying is also at low temperatures. European type products are seldom heat treated.

In general, many European type sausages tend to be less dry than their U.S. counter-parts. In Europe, you would expect a semi-dry sausage to lose 15% of its weight during drying and a dry sausage to lose 30% of its original weight. In Europe the product standards are characterized based on water activity (Aw) as opposed to moisture: protein (M:P) ratios.

Another difference is final pH. The U.S. market expects pH's to be relatively low. Dry salamis will generally have a pH of 5.0 to 5.4. Some of the semi-dry products like "summer sausage" may have a pH of 4.5 to 4.7, considerably lower than the European market would tolerate

Dry and semi-dry sausage differ from all other types of sausage in that they require microbial fermentation. This fermentation reduces the pH of the product to 5.0 to 5.3 for dry sausage and 4.6 to 5.2 in the case of semi-dry sausage. In addition, some of the moisture is removed by drying to produce a relatively low Water Activity (Aw) of approximately 0.85 in the case of dry sausage and 0.85 to 0.91 in the case of semi-dry sausage. The combined low pH plus the reduced Aw present conditions that contribute to the extended shelf life of the product. Table 1 shows the Moisture Protein Ratios (MPR) that the USDA requires for various products. It should be pointed out that in the U.S. we base the degree of drying on MPR as opposed to Europe where Aw is used.
Pepperoni, Chorizo in Lard1.6:1
Salami, Dry Salami, Turkey Salami1.9:1
Genoa Salami, Sicilian Salami2.3:1
Thuringer Cervelat or other Semi Dry Saus w/ Lactic Acid Culture
Early sausage makers depended on fermentation by indigenous microorganisms that were present on the meat ingredients, the spices or the environment. From this evolved the "backslop" method of inoculation which depended on taking the meat batter from a previous batch and using it as a "starter". A variation of this was the maintenance of a "mother batch" from which the starter was derived. All these methods involved the chance of introducing unwanted spoilage organisms along with the desirable bacteria. It wasn't until the 1950's that specific starter cultures were introduced.

In order to insure appropriate fermentation it is essential that starter cultures be used. There are two types of dry and semi-dry sausage producers who do not use starter cultures-those who have had product failures and those who are going to have product failures.

Raw Materials
Because of the critical nature of dry and semi-dry sausage production, only the highest quality meat ingredients should be used. The reason for this is that the product will be held at ideal temperatures for microbial growth for extended periods of time. Even with starter cultures, heavy microbial loads on the meat raw material could result in the growth of undesirable organisms with the production of off flavors, colors, textures and even product spoilage.

Some of the problems related to spoilage are "greening", a bleaching effect on the lean resulting in a white sausage that appears to be mostly fat, development of a mushy texture due to proteolysis, and an oiling out of the fat due to lypolysis. The greening problem results from peroxides produced by bacteria growing in the meat usually prior to processing. These organisms are fairly heat resistant but could be killed during heat treatment. They do, however leave behind the byproducts of their growth, namely peroxides which cause a greening of the pigment when exposed to air.

In traditional processing, dry and semi-dry sausage will often not be subjected to cooking temperatures during the process. This means that you would have little or no control over the final microbial loads. For the most part, these sausages will also be eaten without further cooking so that any microbial growth that occurs during production will be transferred to the ultimate consumer.

Because of microbiological concerns, particularly E coli 0157:H7, Salmonellea, and Listeria monocytogenese all U.S. products will probably need to be heat treated. Producers of dry and semi-dry sausage are now required to validate the effectiveness of their processes in the destruction of E coli 0157:H7. It appears that in order to achieve appropriate destruction of this organism, heat treatment is probably the only alternative. This will drastically effect the texture and character of U.S. type dry sausages.

Trichina control in pork products is of less importance today but the regulations still exist.

Freshness is critical in the manufacturing dry and semi-dry sausage. Fats begin to oxidize immediately after slaughter. While the total oxidation and the development of rancidity takes a relatively long time even the slightest degree of rancidity will eventually trigger the rapid onset of rancidity in the finished product. For this reason, long storage periods in either a fresh or frozen condition should be avoided.

The pH of raw materials is also critical. Actually, we would like to work with meat raw materials that have the lowest possible pH because the ultimate goal of the fermentation is to reduce pH. For this reason, dark firm and dry pork (DFD) or dark cutting beef should be avoided. PSE pork should also be avoided since the protein is damaged to the extent that color and texture will be negatively effected.

Color of lean and fat are also important for visual appearance. Meat with yellow or soft fat would be acceptable in emulsion type sausage but not in dry and semi-dry sausages. The more intensely pigmented lean meat is also preferred. For this reason we would opt for pork shoulder meat as opposed to paler ham and loin trimmings.

In these sausages we usually don't apply sufficient cooking to hydrolyze the collagen into gelatin. For this reason we like to avoid meat with a high amount of connective tissue. Some processors actually use desiniewing, either by machine or by hand, to remove connective tissue.

An advatage of low pH in the fermented product, other than the preservative and flavor effects, is the fact that it promotes more effective drying. The closer the meat is to the isoelectric point, the more rapidly it will lose moisture. Meat with salt added will reach its isoelectric point at a pH of approximately 4.6 to 4.8. The closer to that pH, the more we facilitate the loss of moisture from the product as it dries.

Temperature of raw materials is also critical. For the most part, chopping or grinding of lean meats produces better particle distinction at temperatures of 24°F to 26°F (-4°C to 5°C). Actually if fat meats and fat are frozen to a temperature of 5°F to 10°F (-15°C to -12°C). They will produce better particle distinction as well. It is imerative that temperatures be maintained as low as possible to reduce fat smearing during stuffing. Smeared fat reduces the effectiveness of moisture loss and can result in product failure due to inadequate or uneven drying. Fat smearing may also interfere with microbial fermentation of the product.

In addition, temperatures above 40°F(4°C) during mixing can promote fat loss during cooking in those dry or semi-dry sausages that are heated to temperatures of 140°F (60°C) or above.

Chopping and Mixing
There are two schools of thought regarding particle reduction in dry and semi-dry sausage. Many people like to use a chopper since the knife action promotes more clean cut particles. The disadvantage of the chopper is the fact that it is difficult to produce uniform particles from one batch to the next and the chopper does not provide any opportunity for the use of a bone removal system.

The grinder on the other hand, will produce uniform particles but unless temperatures are carefully maintained and unless the equipment is maintained in topnotch condition, it is easier to develop fat smearing and lack of particle distinction. The grinder does have a distinct advantage in that it can be fitted with a bone removal system on the final grind. Some processors will do the initial cutting in the chopper and then finish the product through a grinder to produce the uniform particle size.

In order to maintain good particle distinction and reduce fat smearing, it is preferable to go through a final grind before the meat is blended with the non-meat ingredients. After salt is added to meat, the protein extraction that results will cause the mixture to become quite sticky and reduce the effectiveness of the grinding process.

In order of addition of non-meat ingredients to the mixer is also critical. Salt should be added toward the end of the mixing contrary to the normal procedure which we would use in the production of an emulsion type sausage where we encourage protein solublization and extraction. The addition of starter culture should be made after the curing ingredients are thoroughly dispersed. Actually, the only purpose of mixing is to uniformly disperse the spice, salt, cure and other ingredients. Over mixing should be avoided at all costs and a good sign of over mixing is the accumulation of fat on the mixer paddle surfaces.

A paddle mixer or blender is preferable to a ribbon type blender. Many processors will use a vaccum mixer to remove air from the mixture and produce a more dense product with superior visual qualities as well as superior keeping qualities because the air incorporated into the mixture is reduced.

If chilling of the meat is necessary, dry ice is preferable to wet ice since in a dry or semi-dry sausage we are trying to lose moisture rather than add additional moisture. It may be necessary during the grinding steps to rechill the meat if it is not sufficiently cold to produce good particle distinction. During the grinding process it is common to use a coarse grind to initially promote uniform distribution of fat followed by a second or final grind. The final grinding step will often call for a finer grind, say 1/8 inch for the lean meat with a 3/16 inch grind for the fatter meats. This system likewise reduces the possibility of smearing.

Non-meat Ingredients
Salt, sodium nitrite and seasonings are basic. Sugar is a source of energy for the fermenting microorganisms such as dextrose. Dextrose is actually the most universally used fermentable sugar although there are some organisms that can ferment sucrose or lactose. The amount of the dextrose added should be appropriate for the fermentation desired. Generally the higher the level of dextrose, the greater the degree of fermentation and the lower the final pH. For many dry sausages, eight to twelve ounces of dextrose per hundred pounds is sufficient. Twelve to sixteen ounces per hundred pounds is characteristic for semi-dry sausages and, for a highly fermented product like Lebanon bologna, one to two pounds are often added.

Today most processors use sodium nitrite as the source of cure. On some dry sausages, nitrate is still included. From a technical standpoint, however, there is relatively little advantage to using nitrate over nitrite.

It is also common for some processors to add an antioxident to dry sausage. This may change the flavor profile somewhat since on some of our dry sausages, which require longer drying periods, the rancid flavor may actually contribute to the overall flavor profile of the sausage.

As stated previously, starter cultures are highly recommended for uniformity and to insure that the pH drop will be rapid enough to inhibit the growth of undesirable organisms. Generally, the low temperature cultures, that is those that grow best at temperatures of 70°F to 80°F (21-27°C) may give the most preferred flavors, but these do require longer fermentation times. The higher temperature cultures are faster and the flavor is completely acceptable, particularly for the more highly spiced and seasoned sausages. Normally, the low temperature fermenting cultures are used for the dry sausages with the higher temperature fermenting sausages being used for snack sticks and the semi-dry sausages.

There are two types of cultures available. One is the freeze-dried culture and the other the frozen culture. Each of these cultures require special handling and you should consult the culture manufacturer for the appropriate procedure. They are normally stored in a freezer, and being living organisims have limited storage life. Both cultures require reconstitution in water. Heavily chlorinated water can adversely affect the cultures. Using hot water to thaw frozen cultures can likewise destroy the cultures.

Different culture manufactures produce cultures using a variety of lactic acid organisms. From my experience, the cultures produced in the United States are far superior in performance to those produced in some European countries. Many of the cultures used in European countries tend to react quite slowly and by nature will not ferment to sufficiently low pH's to satisfy the U.S. tastes.

Some processors use chemical acidulants, such as GDL (glucono delta lactone) or encapsulated lactic acid. The problem with these acidulants is that normally they cannot be used in sufficient quantity to get the low pH's we expect from our fermented products and they tend to have a somewhat harsh flavor. If you are using GDL, it is important that the product be stuffed immediately after the GDL is added and then moved into heat processing without delay. When encapsulated acid is used, the product must be heated to a temperature that will release the acid.

Because we depend on very long processing times, natural spices appear to function better from the standpoint of flavor stability than the spice extractives or oleoresins. It is important, however, that these natural spices be treated to reduce bacteria and mold counts.

We sometimes apply mold inhibitors on the casings. It is also possible to apply mold inhibitors to the product after stuffing. Smoking the product will retard mold growth.

While on the subject of mold, there are some traditional dry sausages that actually depend on surface mold growth to achieve their unique characteristics. There are mold cultures available to inoculate the surface although many producers simply inoculate the new batch from a previous lot. This is done just prior to entering the drying room. The desirable molds for this purpose should produce a white mycelium with no black or other colored fruiting bodies. Undesirable molds produce variable colored fruiting bodies and nay even attack the casings and cause disintegration of the casings.

It is essential that the proper casing be used for the product. Depending on the type of product, natural, collagen or cellulose casings could be used. There are some excellent fancy casings which are made from silk reinforced collagen. These casings are extremely thin and have good drying rates. There are even some novelty casings made from sewn collagen, fibrous, or natural casing material. These can range in shape from footballs to little pigs.

If you are using natural casings, make sure they are in good condition. Some of the large diameter natural casings, such as double walled sewed bungs, if they are stored too long or improperly stored, will develop rancidity of the adhering fat. This rancidity will carry through into the product so good quality control measures should be used in selecting the casings.

It is essential that casings be stuffed to the proper diameter. Understuffing can result in air pockets developing between the casing and the sausage as the sausage dries and shrinks. Overstuffing can result in ruptured casings or clips being forced off the end of the casings as the meat expands during the initial phases of the fermentation cycle.

For dry sausages such as pepperoni that will be pealed before slicing, there are some very specific requirements. Essentially the fibrous casing needs to have close adherence to the surface during the fermentation and heat treatment stages. If the casing loosens at this point, surface fat pockets can develop. Subsequently, the casing needs to loosen so it can be easily stripped off prior to slicing.

To avoid smear, you need to use stuffing horns that are in good condition and free of nicks and dents and as large as possible. Likewise, the stuffing horn and transfer pipe should be as short as possible. Stuffing pressure should be limited to an amount sufficient to dispense the meat at the appropriate stuffing rate. Be sure the stuffing valves are fully open if you are using a piston stuffer since a partially closed valve will contribute substantially to smear.

If the meat is extremely cold, when it is stuffed into the casings, there will be a tendency toward moisture condensation on the surface of the casing immediately after stuffing. If this excessive condensation is allowed to carry through into the green room, the surface growth of microorganisms could cause problems in color or flavor.

The goal of the fermentation stage is to provide optimum conditions of temperature, humidity and time for the lactic acid producing bacteria to grow, produce lactic acid and other metabolic products and also overgrow any undesirable organisms, either those which cause food spoilage or the pathogenic organisms. The conditions need to be favorable to the starter culture and you should follow the culture supplier's recommendations.

Generally for semi-dry sausage, the fermentation temperatures would be in the range of 80°F to 110°F (27-43°C) with a 95% relative humidity. Under these conditions a good starter culture should achieve full fermentation in less than 24 hours.

For dry sausage, where fermentation is conducted at a lower temperature of 75°F to 80°F (24-27°C), it may take as long as 48 hours to achieve appropriate fermentation.

It is important to bring up the temperature slowly in the initial stages of the fermentation to avoid undue condensationon the surface of the product when the cold product is transferred into a warmer area. Humidity control during fermentation is also critical since too low a humidity can reduce the growth of the lactic acid organisms, particularly at the surface.

Following the fermentation, the product may be smoked. It is preferable to apply smoke after fermentation is complete and surface color has developed. Other than monitoring the pH of the sausage, a good indication of complete fermentation is a firming of the product. As lactic acid is produced it denatures the protein much in the same manner as protein is denatured by cooking and the product becomes firm. Along with this, the desirable cured color develops.

Once fermentation is complete, the drying cycle can be commenced. In fact, some people may lower humidity at the end of the fermentation cycle to achieve an initial moisture loss of about 10 to 12% by weight.

The drying of dry sausage is a very critical step. It is a situation where moisture and air circulation are balanced to remove moisture from the surface of the sausage at about the same rate as is transferred from the interior. In general, drying rates in excess of about 1 percent a day weight loss will result in case hardening. Once case hardening occurs the moisture loss from the surface is essentially suspended. The net result is that the product will develop deep creases and often voids in the interior as it begins to shrink.

The drying room temperature are normally maintained some where in the range of 60 to 65°F (15-18°C). A good rule of thumb is to start with a relative humidity that is no more than 5% below the water activity of the sausage. Thus, if you place a sausage in the dry room with a water cativity of 0.90 you would maintain a drying room humidity of 85%. As the product loses moisture and the water activity decreases you can then decrease the relative humidity of the drying room accordingly.

Below is an example of a typical temperature and humidity cycle for a high quality dry sausage. To monitor the correct degree of shrinkage, you can either monitor the water activity of the product or determine periodic moisture protein ratios until either the desired Aw or moisture protein ratio is achieved.

 1st Day72-75°F 94-96% 
 2nd Day68-72°F 90-92% 
 3rd Day65-68°F 85-88% 
 If necessary continue until fully cured68°F 85%
Possible variation: Start with 68-75°F, no humidity added, until surface moisture is driven off but without drying casing.  Then continue according to above schedule.
3-4 Days65-72°F92-95%
After 8-12 hours add very light smoke INTERMITTENTLY until color is set; then add more smoke. Semi-dry sausages can be processed according to these two schedules and if schedule A is used, then smoking is carried out at the completion of Schedule A according to the following:

Smoking after curing, pre drying, desired color/flavor
Exact RH depends on stage to which product was pre-dried.


If a high-quality product with higher moisture loss is desired, then the processing according to the following schedule is suggested:
Maintain this temperature until product is fully cured60-65°F90-95% After 3-4 days reduce to approx. 85-90%
At the end of the pre-drying period, the product can be smoked if so desired, and then transferred to the drying room or, in the case of air-dried products, the product is transferred immediately to the drying room until the desired degree of moisture loss is obtained.
Drying room until desired shrink is reached60-65°F75-80%
 Scheneider, 1984
Once the dry or semi-dry sausage has reached its proper pH and moisture protein ratio or Aw it is ready then for packaging and distribution. Vacuum packaging is very successful, however, at times you will find the accumulation of moisture inside the vacuum package and the result may be either an unsightly casing surface or possibly some deterioration of the surface of the sausage. For this reason, dry sausage is often packaged in a gas flush atmosphere. Of course, where the sausage is presliced, such as the case of presliced pepperoni for pizza, the use of a gas flush package is almost an imperative. The gas of preference would be and inert gas, usually nitrogen. It is important to flush all of the oxygen from the package before replacing it with the inert gas.

One technique that is used in Europe for the storage of large quantities of dry sausage is to place it in a master container with a nitrogen atmosphere. When the product is ready to be released for distribution, it is then given a brief smoking to "refresh" it. The net result is that the product can be stored for several months and then placed in the distribution stream without any noticeable deterioration in quality.
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Where did you find this??

Another one for Evernote, I've got some studying to do now, Thanks Again!!!
Another great post thanks...JJ
Another possible Sticky!  Keep it up Dear!  Loving the information!

Here is another rather long one.
[h1]Basics of Spices Jay B. Wenther[/h1][h4]           [/h4]
Spices have been around for ages and the history of spices is entwined with exploration, adventure, religious missions, commerce and conquest.  A majority of today’s poplar spices can be traced back to the East.  India, Southeast Asia, and China have given us anise, basil, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, garlic, ginger, mace, nutmeg, onions, pepper, tamarind, and turmeric.  Other spices such as bay leaf, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, fenugreek, rosemary, sage, sesame, and thyme came from the Middle East, North Africa, and other parts of the Mediterranean.  The colder regions of Europe have provided us with juniper and horseradish, while the Americas gave us allspice, chile peppers, and sassafras.

From the Bible, we know that King Solomon counted spices among the valuables in his treasury.  Today the United States is the biggest spice importer and the largest consumer of spices in the world in an attempt to satisfy the American consumer’s desire of “new” flavors.  A new revolution has begun in the eating patterns and way spices are used.  North American palates are becoming more daring and adventurous to seek a variety of flavors in the food that is consumed.

The word spice came from the Latin word “species,” meaning specific kind.  The name reflects the fact that all plant parts have been cultivated for their aromatic, fragrant, pungent or any other desirable properties.  Spices are the building blocks of flavor in meat products.  Spices stimulate the appetite, add flavor and texture to food and create visual appeal to meat products.

Spice Forms and Composition
Spices are available in many forms:  fresh, dried, whole, ground, crushed, pureed, as paste and as extractives.  The form chosen by the meat processors will depend on the specific application and processing parameter.

Fresh Whole Spices
Consumers are appealed by the perception of spices being “natural.”  Consumers relate this concept with “fresh” spices.  The freshness of spices comes initially from their aroma.  Freshness may be lost during harvesting, storage, processing and handling.  Fresh ingredients, especially whole spices, when freshly ground, give prepared foods a fresh taste.

Whole spices provide aroma, and most importantly, texture and visual effect.  The uneven distribution of whole spices in a product can be problematic, although whole spices provide great visual appeal.  If whole spices are used in the production of processed meat product, the manufacturing procedures may need to be modified to ensure that the spices stay in the “whole” form.  The manufacturing procedures need to follow two grinding steps and then a mixing step instead of the common grind, mix grind procedure.

The flavor of whole spices is intact and is not as will released when compared to ground spice.  Flavor consistency of whole spices is difficult because of their origin, age, and storage condition.  Therefore, in most cases dry spices and spice extractives are utilized.

Dried Spices
Spices are often used in their dried forms because they are not subjected to seasonal availability, are easier to process, have a longer shelf life and have lower cost.  Dried spices come whole, finely or coarsely ground, cracked and as various-sized particulates.  Spices are ground by milling them to various sized particulates.  The grinding also generates rapid air movement and heat that dissipates some of the volatile oils and in turn affects the flavor of the spice.

Ground spices have better dispersibility in meat products than whole spices.  In some spices, the flavor in intensified through drying because of the elimination of most moisture.  Whether a dried spice is used ground, granulated, cracked, or whole will depend on its use in specific processed meat applications.  Some processed meat products have characteristic spices, such as cracked black pepper in Thuringer Cervelat sausage.

The sensory, physical and chemical characteristics of dried spices are determined by environment, climate, soil condition, time of harvesting, and post-harvest handling.  The same type of spice can have different sensory characteristics depending on where it was grown and how it was harvested, stored and processed.

Dried spices can have some disadvantages.  Some have poor flavor intensity, can cause discoloring in the finished product and can create an undesirable appearance in the product.  For example, dried ground cayenne can cause irregular variations in flavor and color, sometimes creating “hot” spots in meat products.  Anticaking agents are added to ensure better flowability of dried spices.

Spice Extractives
Spice extractives are highly concentrated forms of spices which contain volatile and non-volatile oils that give each spice its characteristic flavor.  The volatile portions of a spice extractives, also referred to as essential oils, characterize the particular aroma of the spice.  The non-volatiles include fixed oils, gums, resins, antioxidants, and hydrophilic compounds, and they contribute the taste of a spice.

The ratio of volatiles to non-volatiles varies among spices causing flavor similarities and differences within a genus and even within a variety.  They vary depending upon the species of spice, its source, environmental growing and harvesting conditions and storage and preparation methods.

Spice extractives come as natural liquids (which include essential oils, oleoresins and aquaresins) and dry encapsulated oils (spray dried powders and dry solubles).  Developed from fresh or coarsely ground spices, spice extractives are standardized for color, aroma, and in some cased, their antioxidant activity.  They are more concentrated than dried or fresh spices and so are used at much lower levels.

The Function of Spices
Spices serve many functions in food products.  Their primary functions are to flavor meat products and to provide aroma, texture, and color.  Spices are composed of fiber, carbohydrates, fat, sugar, protein, gum, ash, volatile (essential oils) and other non-volatile components.  The flavor component (volatile and non-volatile) are protected with a matrix of carbohydrate, protein, fiber and other cell components.  When the spice is ground, cut or crushed, the cell matrix breaks down and releases the volatile components.
Flavor, Aroma, and Texture
Spices give characterizing tastes and aroma.  They give six basic taste perceptions:  Sweet, Salty, Spicy, Bitter, Sour, and Hot.  The taste sensations are generally experienced at different locations of the tongue:
  • Sweet: - Tip of the Tongue
  • Salty – Front side of the tongue
  • Sour – Across rear of the tongue
  • Bitter – Rear side of the tongue
  • Heat – Different parts of the tongue
Most spices have more than a single flavor profile. 

A spice’s textural qualities are derived from its specific physical characteristics, the form in which it is used in a formulation (e.g. whole or ground)

Some spices, such as saffron and paprika provide color as well as flavor to processed meat products.  The overall coloring given by a spice is sometimes a combined effect of two or more of its coloring components.  Spices can impart a characteristic color to processed meat products which are recognized by consumers (e.g. pepperoni).

Other Functions
Spices have long been known for their preservative qualities, as antimicrobials and as antioxidants.  Spices have strong, moderate or slight inhibitory activity against specific bacteria.  The aldehydes, sulfur, terpenes and their derivatives, phenols and alcohols found in spices exhibit strong antimicrobial activity.

Some spices have antioxidant properties.  The natural occurring phenolic compounds in spices are effective against oxidative rancidity of fats and color deterioration of the processed meat product pigments.  Spices, such as rosemary, can prevent rancidity and extend shelf life by slowing the oxidation of fats and enzymes.

During the process of oxidative rancidity, fats are broken down into peroxides (free radicals) with exposure to air or oxygen and finally into aldehydes and alcohols that give a rancid taste.  Spices can halt the oxidative process by blocking or “scavenging: the free radicals.

Storage of Spices
Exposure to light, humidity variations, air and certain metals can discolor many spices such as paprika or green leafy spices.  Flavor and aroma losses as well as insect and rodent infestation occur when spices are not stored in airtight containers.

Spices of spice extractives should be stored in tightly closed containers in cool, dark, dry conditions below 68 °F and 60% humidity.  Colder temperature also helps preserve volatile oil flavor and aroma, freshness, and sanitary quality.  Refrigeration also slows microbial growth in ground or whole spices.

The shelf life of ground spices is about three to four months at refrigeration temperature, and whole spices have about one to one and a half years of shelf life.  Good storage conditions, monitoring and specifications are important in retaining quality attribute of spices.

Nonmeat Ingredients used in Curing
Basic additives are included in processed meat formulations to impart the uniqueness that is characteristic of processed meat products.  These additives perform specific functions with meat during and after processing.  Some common additives utilized in processed meat formulations are water or ice, salt, curing salts, cure accelerators, phosphates, as well as others Nonmeat ingredients.

Water or Ice
While meat already contains a large amount (about 60-75%) of water, additional water frequently is added to processed meat for some very functional reasons.  Water is the common ingredient used in processed meat formulations to dissolve ingredients and thoroughly incorporate them throughout raw meat.  Distribution is very important to ingredients such as curing agents which are used in minimal quantities and need to be evenly spread throughout the product.

Water is also used to maintain profit margins due to shrinkage in heat processing.  The additional water aids in replacing water that may be lost during the cooking process.

Moreover, water is used to maintain a moist juicy end product.  The amount of water added can contribute to the texture of the final product.  With all else equal, additional water will soften texture, increase tenderness, and affect the general “mouth feel” of the product.  This means the added water is one means of compensating for the hardness that typically results when fat content is reduced in formulations where lo-fat is an objective.  Sensible use of added water is important because too much can also result in excessive product softness and mushiness.

The quantity of water contained in processed meat (including poultry) products, that is in excess of the normal water content in the unprocessed form is termed added water.  In some cases the USDA regulates the amount of water that can be added to processed meat products.

Ice or a mixture of ice and water has the advantage of temperature control.  Control of temperatures is obviously important for microbial reasons but is also practically important for improved protein solubility.  Meat myofibrillar proteins are more soluble at lower temperatures, but more importantly, temperature control will allow more mixing or chopping to physically extract protein.  This will greatly increase available proteins for water-binding, fat binding, and/or product adhesion.  The use of ice is especially effective for this because of the latent heat of crystallization.

Ice is effective because of the large amount of heat energy required for the phase change from solid to liquid (without a temperature change).  Ice chills the meat during chipping or mixing operations, which permits longer and more efficient processing without mechanical overheating due to friction.

One potential problem that meat processors should be aware of for water is the potential for hard water to introduce product quality problems.  Hard water can contain metals, such as iron, which are strong pro-oxidants and may cause rancidity and off-flavors to develop quickly.  Pro-oxidants may also affect product color and color stability.  Nitrate can be a contaminant in water sources as well but is not a major concern to processed meats.  There have been claims of nitrate causing color change (cured color) in fresh products, but this would be unusual.  There is seldom enough conversion of nitrate to nitrite to induce color effects, unless extended storage time is involved and growth of nitrate-reducing bacteria occurs.

Salt is basic to all curing mixtures.  Salt makes up the bulk of the curing mixture, not only because it is a good preservative, but also because it provides the most desirable flavor.  Another function of salt is as a dehydrating agent which acts by altering osmotic pressure and thus inhibiting bacterial growth and subsequent spoilage.

Salt is also used to solubilize meat proteins (myofibrillar proteins).  Salt is added at 4-5% to the lean meat portion of the meat block.  This gives a temporary high concentration in meat to improve protein extraction.  After protein extraction, the salt can be diluted to proper levels (2-2.5%) with the remainder of the ingredients.  This procedure effects fat stability, binding properties, water retention, texture, and slicing characteristics.

Salt, or sodium chloride, is an ingredient of two components.  The sodium ion is the element in salt that is important to flavor.  The chloride ion provides water retention in processed meats.  Myofibrils will swell and absorb water in the presence of chloride, giving general improvements in yields, texture, and palatability.

Salt is present in the finished product at a level of about 2.2%.  For related health reasons, consumers have attempted to reduce sodium intake, thus the level of sodium in most formulations through the years.  The use of salt is the oldest known form of preservation for perishable products and was quite likely discovered entirely by accident.

The purity of the salt used in the curing process is very important.  Only food grade salt should be used in curing, since impure salt can cause flavor and color problems.  Impurities in salt in the form of trace copper, iron, and chromium have a marked effect on the development of oxidative rancidity in cured meat products.  For many years, farmers cured their own cuts of pork using crude salt and well water.  It was discovered that the meat assumed a pinkish color due to the nitrite in the salt and the well water.

Salt used in meat processing can be in three different forms: Crystalline, Dendritic, and Encapsulated.  Crystalline salt is the  native form of salt when added to a brine, it will solubilize proteins and add flavor.  Dendritic salt is an easy dissolving crystalline form.  Encaplulated salt is coated with a vegetable fat or beef tallow that prevents it from solubilizing proteins but still provides the flavor of salt.

Due to the harsh, dry, salty final product as a consequence of the use of salt alone, it is generally used in combination with sugar, nitrite, and other ingredients.

Curing Agents
Curing agents are limited to either sodium or potassium nitrate (NO3) and sodium or potassium nitrite (NO2).  Curing agents, particularly nitrite, are another group of nonmeat ingredients that are absolutely essential to meat processing.

Nirite was orginally discovered as an impurity in salt and has been used in small amounts for thousands of years to cure meat.  When nitrate was added in the form of saltpeter (potassium and sodium nitrate) it was noted that the pinkish color of the meat product was preserved.

Nitrite performs multiple functions at extremely small concentrations.  Nitrite is limited to 1/4 ounce (7 grams) per 100 lbs of meat when added to chopped or mixed products.  The regulatory process has limited use of nitrite to that needed to produce an effect and to minimize any possibility that any of the substances used may be harmful to human health.

Meat curing with nitrite is a process that cannot be reproduced by any other compound.  There have been exhusive searches for a substitute because the use of nitrite has been controversial, but it has become clear that there is no subtitute available for nitrite.

The function of nitrite in meat curing is four-fold:  (1) to stabilize the color of the lean tissues, (2) to contribute to the characteristic flavor of cured meat, (3) to inhibit growth of a number of food poisoning and spoilage microorganisms, and, (4) to retard developement of rancidity.

Through research, it was concluded that nitrate was converted to nitrite by microbial action in the meat and that direct action of nitrite would eliminate the need for microbial conversion and make the curing process more controllable and predictable.  Nitric oxide is produced by the reduction of nitrate or nitrite.  The pigments react with nitric oxide to produce the stable pigments characteristic of cured meat.  Since nitrite reacts quicker and less is required for color stabilization, it is being widely used in place of nitrate.

The most obvious function is cured color development.  The reaction and production of color indicated that production of nitric oxide (NO) from nitrite has occured.  NO reacts directly with meat pigment to change the pigment to, first a nitroso-heme pigment (raw) and finally to a nitrosyl-heme pigment (cooked).  The nitrosyl-heme is the most stable and provides the desired, cured pink-red color.

Cured color must be developed prior to cooking or color will be poor.  In high speed, high volume production such as frankfurters, past experience has shown that products may have gray, uncured centers if cooking occurs too quickly.  Production of NO from nitrite is also facilitated by reducing conditions.  Again, meat has inherent reducing compounds that serve this role but may be slower than desired.  Addition of ascorbate or erythorbate provide very active reductants to greatly accelerate NO production.  Use of these reductants is the preferred way to accelerate curing reactions.

Flavor contributions of nitrite can be considered in two aspects.  A "cured" flavor, as noted in hams and other similar products, seems to be due to nitrite and cannot be reproduced with other ingredients.  Flavor protection is also provided by nitrite since it is a very effective anti-oxidant in meat systems.  Cured meat consequently is well protected from oxidation of fat and the associated rancid flavors.

Although color stabilization was orginially the primary purpose of adding nitrite to curing mixtures, its effect on flavor and inhibition of bacterial growth are even more important.  It was already established in the early 1950's that nitrite afforded specific protection against outgrowth of spores of the Clostridium botulinum organisium.  Without the use of nitrite, there are few doubts that there would be a tremendous increase in the number of deaths due to botulism.  Evidance also suggests the levels of nitrite found in cured meat may also aid in preventing the growth of other spoilage and food poisoning organisims.

Nitrite is also extremely valuable as an antioxidant.  The means by which nitrite acts as an antioxidant is not entirely clear.  Nitrite is a strong radical scavenger and is likely to react with the radicals produced as lipids are oxidized.

Cure Accelerators
As mentioned earlier, there are often times that meat processors need to speed up curing reactions or may need to drive the reaction to more complete conversion of nitrite.  Cure accelerators are nonmeat ingredients that can be used for this.

There are two general approaches to accelerating the curing reaction.  The first option is to use acidulants to decrease the meat product pH.  Compounds used as acidulants include glucono delta lactond (GDL) which at 0.5% in a meat mixture will decarease the pH about 0.2-0.3 pH units.  This would be enough to souble the rate of nitric oxide formation.  A more likely acidulant for speeding up nitrite reactions is sodium acid pyrophosphate (SAPP).  SAPP is permitted at levels up to 0.5% and at that level, it will reduce meat procuct pH about 0.2-0.3 pH units, similar to GDL.  Other acids such as citric acid are also options for manipulating product pH.  However, decreased pH in most cooked products creates concern for reduced water binding and decreased yields.

The second option for accelerating curing reactions is to use reductants.  This approach is the most common because the reductants effectively increase production of nitric oxide from nitrite but pH is not changed.  Compounds that can be used as reductants include ascorbic acid, erythorbic acid, sodium ascorbate or sodium erythorbate.  The concept behind adding sodium erythorbate to formulations is to increase the reduction of metmyoglobin to myoglobin thus accelerating the cure reaction.

The USDA issued a regulation in 1978 which required that absorbate or its isomer erythorbate, be used at a level of 547 ppm in injected and comminuted products, with the exception of bacon which is required at 550 ppm.

The antioxidant properties of erythorbate not only prevent developement of rancidity, but also provent fading of sliced meats when exposed to light.  If erythorbate is present, the pigments are protected against breakdown.  As erythorbate is depleted, the heme pigments are degraded and apparently catalyze lipid oxidation.

Another nonmeat ingredient which has multiple functions is phosphates.  Phosphates are very important to imporving water-binding and yields.  The action of phosphates in improving water retetion appears to be two-fold: (1) raising the pH and (2) causing an unfolding of the muscle proteins, therby making more sites available for water binding.

The pH effect of the phosphates is one of the most important reasons for their use.  Addition of phosphates at 0.4-0.5% will increase product pH about 0.2-0.3 pH units, enough to substantially increase yields and reduce vacuum package purge.  Remember, this pH change is opposite what is needed to accelerate the curing reaction, consequently, phosphates have potential to slow the curing reaction.  The pH change in processed meats needs to be balanced between cured color devlopement (reduced pH) and water-binding (increased pH).

The specific protein effects of phosphates in meat systems include partial solubilization of structural proteins that restrict swelling.  Muscle proteins are held together in a ridgid struture which hold the structure together.  Phosphates also prevent the proteins from moving very far apart when salt is added in attempt to increase water uptake and binding.  Release of these protein structures allows sigificantly more space to develope between proteins for more water uptake and greater protein solubility.

Another effect is the chelation of cations by phosphates that will also contribute to control of oxidation rections because man of the cations (iron, copper, etc.) which are catalysts for fat oxidation reactions.  By chleating the catalysts, phosphates provide an antioxidant function.  The anitmicrobial effects of phosphate are not will understood but may also be due to the chelating activity.  Phosphates typically inhibit bacteria that produce "milky" or cloudy purge in vacuum packages and may do so by binding an essential nutrient.

Phosphates and salt have been noted to have a synergistic effect on water holding capacity.  The amount of protein solubilized by adding 0.3% phosphate to a meat mixture with 1.8% salt has been shown to be over 40% greater than the amount of protein solubilized by 1.8% salt alone.  Therefore, more water can be bound by meat proteins.

There have been some concerns for off favors or "soapy" flavors resulting from the use of phosphates, but generally these seem to occur only at relatively high levels, will above the 0.5% permitted in processed meats.  They may also produce a rubbery texture.  Another problem sometimes encountered in utilizing phosphates has been the occurence of crystals on the surface of the cured product.  Because of the corrosive nature of phosphates, the equipment utilized must be made of stainless steel or plastic.  Canned hams pumped with phosphates should always be placed in anodized cans.

Other Nonmeat Ingredients
In addition to color, texture, and moisture retention, another absolutely critical role of nonmeat ingredients in processed meat is that of flavoring agents, sensory enhancers and/or flavor productents.

Sweetners or sugars are important to flavor profiles. Sucrose, or cane sugar, is one that has been used for many years in hams and similar products where sweetness is desirable.  In the past, sucrose was sometimes used to moderate the flavor of salt and allow use of high salt concentrations for improved shelf life.

Sucrose will reduce the saltiness perception at reduced salt levels as well.  Sucrose is the standard for comparing other sugars for sweetness and is commonly given a "100" sweetness value for comparison.  Sucrose is also a nonreducing sugar which means that is will not brown when exposed to heat in meat products.  Sucrose is a combination of glucose and fructose compounds.  Addition of sucrose to processed meats may increase the likelihood of microbial growth because sugars are a very good substrate for bacterial growth.

Dextrose, or corn sugar, is also a sweetner but is about 70 on a relative sweetness scale compared with sucrose.  This is still sweet enough to make dextrose a "self-limiting" sweetner so there is no regulatory limit.  A significant difference between sucrose and dextrose is that dextrose is a browning sugar and a reducing sugar.  This means that the dextrose will react with the proteins when heated and produce browing reaction products.  Dextrose will readily develope grill marks and brown surfaces on products when cooked.

Dextrose is also the most common sugar used for fermented sausage because starter cultures grow very readily on dextrose.  Sucrose is also very effective for fermentations but dextrose is by far the most frequently used.  Dextrose is converted to lactic acid by the starter culture and the product pH will be directly proportional to the dextrose added at levels below about 0.75%.

Corn syrup and corn syrup solids are another sweetner.  Corn syrups are a mixture of sugars because they result from corn starch processing.  Because of this, they are also variable in reducing sugar content.  The primary purpose of corn syrup and corn syrup solids is to improve moisture retention of meat mixtures and aid in "plumpness" of the final product.  Corn syrup and corn syrup solids also improve peelability of casings from frankfurters.  This may also be a result of improved moisture retention.

There is no regulatory limit on the use of sweetners.  When used, sweetners are generally added at levels of 1%-2%.

Antioxidants are compounds that are used where loss of flavor or freshness may become a problem as in dry sausage and fresh pork sausage.  Antioxidants will significantly slow down the oxidative deterioration of fat.  Butylated hydroxyl toulent (BHT) butylated hydroxly anisole (BHA), teritary butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), and propyl gallate are all condidered primary antioxidants.  They may be used at levels of 0.01% of the fat in pork sausage (0.02% in combination) and 0.003% of the product weight in dry sausage (0.006% in combination).

Flavor Enhancers
Several flavor modifiers can be used to add or intensify flavors.  One of these is monosodium glutamate (MSG).  This compound is unique in that is sensitizes human taste buds to increase the intensity of flavors already present.  It is also considered to be a source of "umai" flavor, which is described as a meat-like flavor component.  Umami flavor is one of the five fundamental flavor components that humans experience as part of taste.

Usage is product-dependent with most applications in products where increased flavor intensity is needed.  MSG is permitted at levels "sufficent for purpose" and is most often used at 6-8 ounces per 100lbs (0.5%) when included.

Starter Cultures & Acidulants
Starter cultures are used for fermented sausages are clearly flavoring agents and are listed as such by the USDA.  Starter cultures provide a strong flavor effect because they form lactic acid from dextrose.  The latic acid is responsible for the "tanginess" or "tartness" that is characteristic of fermented sausage.  These cultures are hoofermentative, meaning they produce only lactic acid.

There are several cultures available for a variety of fermentation conditions.  Different cultures are used and different flavor effects are produced.  Starter cultures produce a number of flavor components in addition to the lactic acid.  The bottom line is that different cultures can result in different flavor profiles, especially when comparing rapid, high-temperature fermentation with slow, low teperature fermentations.

A pH change occurs as lactic acid is produced by the starter culture during fermentation.  This production is important for much more than flavor.  Developement of acid is also important to deveopement of cured color because of the pH effect on curing reactions as discussed previously.  If the end product pH is sufficent to meet the USDA regulations, the product could be known as shelf stable.

Encapsulated acids (citric and lactic) are non-meat ingredients that are gaining popularity because the process is faster that traditional fermentation and the amount of acid is consistent.  Encapsulated acids are small droplets of acid that are coated with a cottonseed-soybean oil coating.  The coating is solid at room temperature but melts when the product is heated to about 135°F.  The acid is released slowly enoough to produce typical fermented sausage texture and flavor.

Liquid Smoke
In recent years, the application of liquid smoke has increased in commercial processing operations.  Liquid smoke has several advantages over the use of natural smoke.  First, it does not require the installation of a smoke generator, which usually requires a major financial outlay.  Second, the process is more repeatable, as the composition of liquid smoke is more constant.  Third, liquid smoke can be prepared with the particle phase removed, and thereby possible problems from carcinogens can be aleviated.  Fourth, liquid smoke application created little atmospheric pollution and can be applied easily.  And fifth, liquid smoke application is faster than conventional smoking, resulting in more through-put per unit.

A typical liquid smoke solution prepared and used by meat processors consists of 20 to 30 parts liquid smoke and 65 to 75 parts water.  The application of liquid smoke can be performed in several fashions.  It may be mixed or incorporated directly into the product.  In industry today, atomizing or spraying the liquid smoke into a dense fog and injecting it into the smokehouse to adhere to the meat products.

Binders and Extenders
Binders and extenders include several different ingredients that can be used to increase binding properties of a meat mixture and/or gain an economic advantage.  They are added to meat formulations for one or more of the following reasons: (1) to reduce formulation costs, (2) to improve cooking yield, (3) to improve slicing characteristics, (4) to improve flavor, (5) to increase the protein content, (6) to improve emulsion stability (7) to improve fat binding, and (8) to increase water binding.

There are a variety of binders and ectenders commercialy available.  Examples of a few are listed below

Animal Protein Sources
Milk Protein, Blood Plasma

Carbohydrate Sources
Starches, Konjac flour, Carageenan, Xanthan gum

Vegetable Protein Sources
Soy protein, Soy protein isolate, Wheat protein, Oat protein, Fruit powder

As shown, there are a variety of spices and nonmeat ingredients that may be used in the formulation of processed meat products.  Spices provide the opportunity to produce unique processed meat products.  Some nonmeat ingredients are essential in the productioon of characteristic flavors, colors, and texture required of processed meat products, while others aid in the developement profiles unique to certain products.
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Rick do you mind if I put these in the Articles section?

The thread will remain unchanged but it will make the info more accessible in the future to the members. 
Rick do you mind if I put these in the Articles section?

The thread will remain unchanged but it will make the info more accessible in the future to the members. 

Yes please.

Im going to post another on msg
[h1]Monosodium Glutamate(MSG)[/h1]
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Many People are concerned about the possible health impact of MSG, a widley used and safe food additive that is derived from a naturally occuring amino acid.  This fact sheet explains what MSG is, where it comes from, and who needs to limit MSG in their diet.

What is MSG?
MSG is a food additive.  Its full name is monosodium glutamate and it comes from the amino acid glutamic acid.  Amino acids are the building blocks of protein; our food and bodies contain protein that, in turn, contains glutamate.  Glutamate is therefore found in a wide variety of foods.

Why is it used?
Glutamate helps enhance the flavor of food, and therefore glutamate is often deliberately added to foods - either as MSG, hydrolyzed protein, or a variety of food ingredients rich in glutamates, such as cheese, tomato pastes, stocks, and sauces.
MSG cannot improve inferior quality food or make up for poor cooking practices.  It does not allow a cook to substitute low-quality for high-quality ingredients in a recipe, and does not tenderize meat.  MSG simply enhances the savory flavors already present in food.

Where does it come from?
Glutamate is found in abundance in virtually all natural foods - from meat, poultry, fish, cheese, and milk (including human breast milk) to tomatoes, mushrooms, and many other vegetables.  Glutamate is the most commonly found amino acid in nature, the average diet provides between 10 grams to 20 grams of bound glutamate (bound in protein) and 1 gram of free glutamate (not bound in protein).  Glutamate can also be manufactured as MSG.

How is it Made?
Japanese cooks for the past 1000 years have known that certain foods taste better when prepared with a soup stock made from a type of seaweed - Laminaria japonica.  But it was only in 1908 that Japanese scientists identified what it was in the seaweed that was enhancing the flavor, creating monosodium glutamate or MSG.  Like many foods today monosodium glutamate is produced through fermentation, a process used in making beer, vinegar, soy sauce, and yogurt.  The process begins with natural products such as molasses from sugar cane or sugar beets and food starch from tapioca or cereals, which are fermented in a controlled environment.

Is MSG different from glutamate?
The human body treats MSG the same as natural glutamate found in food.  For instance, the body does not distinguish between free glutamate from tomatoes, cheese, or mushrooms and the glutamate from MSG added to foods.  Glutamate is glutamate, whether naturally present or from MSG.

Is it high in sodium?
No, MSG contains only one-third the amount of sodium as table salt (13% vs 40%) and is used in much smaller amounts.  That said, the sodium in MSG needs to be taken into account when sodium levels in food are considered.

Is it safe?
Yes.  MSG is one of the most extensively researched substances in the food supply and has been studied for more than forty years.  Numerous international scientific assessments have been conducted involving hundreds of studies.  None of these have conclusively linked MSG to asthma or the infamous 'Chinese Restaurant Syndrome'.
Even though there is no convincing evidence that MSG is a significant factor in causing systemic reactions resulting in severe illness or mortality, a very small number of people who are sensitive to a range of foods, especially those with asthma, may be sensitive to glutamate.

How do I know if MSG is in a food?
If MSG is used in food or meat products, it must be declared on the label within the ingredient statement.  It is typically declared as "MSG" or "monosodium glutamate" in the ingredient statement.
There is no requirement in restaurants to declare the presence of MSG in the products sold.  If you believe you are sensitive to them you should ask if they are being used.  The restaurant should be able to tell you whether they are used.  Sensitive individuals should also be aware that high amounts of glutamates may be present naturally in certain food.

MSG Is An Ingredient That May Cause Allergen-Like Reactions
Certain food intolerances can cause reactions which do not involve the immune system.  These problems are caused by an abnormality in the metabolism of a particular food component.  Lactose intollerance is an example where susceptible individuals do not metabolize lactose normally.  In this case, there is no immune system response, thus it is not an allergic reaction.
In January, 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), requiring food labels to indicate if the product contains any of the "Big 8" allergens.  The FALCPA identified the eight major food ingredients as allergens that account for 90% or more of food allergies.  The "Big 8" allergens include:
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Fish(such as bass, flounder, or cod)
  • Crustacean shellfish(such as crab, lobster, or shrimp)
  • Peanuts
  • Tree Nuts(such as almonds, pecans, or walnuts)
  • Wheat
  • Soybeans
It is known that there are many foods and food ingredients to which some individuals may have some degree of intolerance or possible allergic reaction.  If you recall, FSIS Notice 45-05 (Verification of Activities Related to an Establishment's Controls for the Use of Ingredients of Public Health Concern) directed FSIS inspection program personnell to be aware of the "Big 8" allergen food ingredients, as well as other ingredients.
These other ingredients that may cause potential adverse reactions in sensitive individuals were identified as monosodium glutamate(MSG), sulfites, lactose, and Yellow 5(tartrazine).  The adverse reactions to these substances are due to the ingredient itself or its chemical composition.  Therefore, although MSG is not declared a true allergen, it is highly recommended that MSG be handled in the same fashion as an allergen ingredient.

Commercial Form of MSG
MSG is commercial retailed in grocery stores with the product name "Accent" and it is sold in the spice aisle.  Another retail product name is mei yen.

Yes please.

Im going to post another on msg
OK all of these very informative articles and the one about casings have all been put in the Articles section where they will be a lot easier to find in the future.

Thanks for sharing this information with us Rick!!!

(and the articles are set up where you can edit them if ever need be)
I have no idea why there was such a big HooHaa back in the 70's over MSG! There never was and issue for the majority of people, yes there are some that have trouble with MSG but it is Far less than those that react or are allergic Nuts, Gluten or even have Salt issues. So why the Big Scare? Chinese Food was awesome when I was a kid, it is ok now but just not the same. I cook with MSG, Fish Sauce and/or Anchovies and when asked, " How come your food is so much better? " I smile and answer, " Ancient Chinese Secret! 
 "...I know MSG is a Japanese invention but I get more laughs with my response...JJ
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Thank you Dave!  I am going to go and print them.  I was looking thru the articles section last night.  I am starting a notebook of sorts with all the great information from here.

Thank you Dave!  I am going to go and print them.  I was looking thru the articles section last night.  I am starting a notebook of sorts with all the great information from here.

I thought that was what a Kindle was for, so you never need paper again!

Do you use Evernote?
I have no idea why there was such a big HooHaa back in the 70's over MSG! There never was and issue for the majority of people, yes there are some that have trouble with MSG but it is Far less than those that react or are allergic Nuts, Gluten or even have Salt issues. So why the Big Scare? Chinese Food was awesome when I was a kid, it is ok now but just not the same. I cook with MSG, Fish Sauce and/or Anchovies and when asked, " How come your food is so much better? " I smile and answer, " Ancient Chinese Secret! 

 "...I know MSG is a Japanese invention but I get more laughs with my response...JJ

I'll have to borrow that line. Some people get a little wary when I tell them I use msg in a lot of food that I cook. I always assumed it had the same or more sodium than table salt. It's a pleasant surprise to find out it has significantly less. I think I'll use it more often now. Accent is expensive so I try to find the large container of off brand msg in the bulk spices section.
The articles posted above can be found at the following site-

Look under the tab "Links/Resources" to find the posted articles above and many others.

There is a note at the bottom of the page that says "all rights reserved", I would hope that you got their permission before posting their material here, especially since it is not attributed to them by the OP.
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