My pink salt is no longer pink

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by mike5051, Jul 12, 2016.

  1. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I started to mix up some brine for turkey legs and found my pink salt was no longer pink.  It's not expired and has been stored in dark cabinet.  I think it's okay to use.  What do y'all think?  


  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like the red #3 dye just died.  It hasn't reached the expiration date yet.  Send an e-mail to the folks at Medley Hills Farm and ask them.  I suspect it is fine but go to the source for the definitive answer.
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    No problem....  The dye faded....   It is a fairly stable compound....  at least until 135 ish deg. F.....   Then it starts to break down...  or so it says in some curing publications....    You should put it in a container in a cool dark cupboard, and mark it clearly...    
  4. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks Dave!  It's stored in a cool dark place, and it is clearly marked.

  5. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks Ray!  I sent them an e-mail!  DOH!

  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I've just done a considerable amount of reading looking for an expiration time for cures.....  

    Seems moisture, heat and oxygen "can" cause degradation to the nitrite...  which creates nitrate...

    I'm of the opinion, what we have in our curing supplies will be fine to use for years...   I just finished up a 1# bag that I've had for about 15 years... and that 1# package cured ~400 #'s of meat..  of course there was a hiatus for several years until I found this great forum... 

    Previously I never used cure in salmon.. which I was lucky and never had a problem but now I always use cure #1 when I smoke any fish product...  had I been using it in fish, the 1# package would have only lasted less than 1 year....  

    Now I've been reading nitrite will prevent botulism in canned products...  So, I'm thinking I will start using it in canned fish, meat, beans etc. where botulism has been found previously....   Since it degrades above 130 deg. F, and testing of consumer end products at the grocery store show residual nitrite is in the 10-25 Ppm range, which is adequate for continued preservation, the cure in canned products will be minimal while the preservation of quality will be greatly improved.....

    Some folks think I over react to this botulism "BS"....   Well, if my home canned beans or fish caused someone's death, like my granddaughter's, for lack of 1 grams per pint cure #1, especially since I know about how nitrite prevents botulism in canned food.............   that would be very tough to live with..... 

    Here's a factoid I just found......

    Isn’t botulism one of those old

    diseases that aren’t really a

    problem anymore?

    Botulism is rare today because processing methods

    and preservatives like sodium nitrite are used to

    protect consumers. In fact, since sodium nitrite was

    approved for use in cured meats in 1925, no cases of

    botulism have been associated with commercially

    prepared cured meats. Sodium nitrite provides a food

    safety benefit to consumers.

    Are ‘nitrates’ used in curing


    Decades ago, sodium nitrate - a "chemical cousin"

    of nitrite — was also used as a curing ingredient.

    Sodium nitrate, even though still permitted as an

    ingredient, is rarely used to cure meat and only in

    some certain specialty meat products.

    Are cured meats the major

    source of nitrite?

    Actually, less than five percent of daily nitrite intake

    comes from cured meats. Nearly 93 percent of nitrite

    comes from leafy vegetables & tubers and our own

    saliva. Vegetables contain nitrate, which is converted

    to nitrite when it comes into contact with saliva in the


    In fact, the amount of nitrate in some vegetables

    can be very high. Spinach, for example, may contain

    500 to 1900 parts per million of nitrate; radishes may

    contain 1500 to 1800 parts per million and lettuce may

    contain 600 to 1700 parts per million. The nitrate to

    nitrite conversion process from eating vegetables

    makes up 85 percent of the average human dietary

    nitrite intake.

    By contrast, the amount of nitrite allowed by

    USDA to be added to cured meats is miniscule at no

    more than 156 parts per million. In most cases, the

    amount added is 120 parts per million or less and after

    processing the amount remaining in the final product

    is typically 10 parts per million or less. This amount is

    approximately one-fifth the level of 25 years ago.

    There is another source of nitrite in the body. Called

    the "Molecule of the Year" by Science Magazine in

    1992, nitric oxide is an amazing chemical that the body

    uses to control blood pressure, kill tumor cells and heal

    wounds. When nitrite oxide is done with its work, its

    byproduct is nitrite. So clearly, nitrite is something

    that is made by the body as part of its normal, healthy

  7. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for the info Dave!  I had to go do some Botulism reading due to me not having a clue as to what it is.  I knew it was bad, but didn't know what caused or prevented it.  I have a question concerning baked potatoes in this quote from Wikipedia:

    " Other, but much rarer sources of infection (about every decade in the US[27]) include garlic  or herbs[29]  stored covered in oil  without acidification,[30]  chili peppers,[27]  improperly handled baked potatoes wrapped in aluminum  foil,[27]  tomatoes,[27]  and home-canned or fermented fish. "

    Do you know what improperly handled baked potatoes are?

    Thanks again,

  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Do you know what improperly handled baked potatoes are?

    No I don't...  Chef JJ might be able to answer that question....  It might have something to do with not thoroughly washing but I can't imagine a washing would remove spores....


    C. botulinum is prevalent in soil and marine sediments worldwide, most commonly as spores. These spores are found everywhere. While the spores are generally harmless, the danger can occur once the spores begin to grow out into active bacteria and produce neurotoxins. A neurotoxin is a poisonous chemical that affects the central nervous system. It can destroy, paralyze, or adversely affect nerves or nerve tissue. C. botulinum produces seven different types of neurotoxins designated by the letters A through G; only types A, B, E, and F cause illness in humans.

    C. botulinum spores are often found on the surfaces of fruits and vegetables and in seafood. The organism grows best under low-oxygen conditions and produces spores and toxins. The toxin is most commonly formed when food is improperly processed (canned) at home. C. botulinum cannot grow below a pH of 4.6, so acidic foods, such as most fruits, tomatoes, and pickles, can be safely processed in a water bath canner. However, foods with a higher pH (most vegetables and meats) must be processed under pressure. Therefore, a pressure cooker should be used. The pressure cooker will reach high-enough temperatures to destroy the C. botulinum spores.

    For example, if a low-acid food, such as green beans, is canned improperly (not canned under pressure or improperly canned using a pressure canner), C. botulinum bacteria and other bacteria present will be destroyed by the boiling of water and food, but the C. botulinum spores will not be destroyed. The canning process will remove the oxygen from the jar, creating a low-oxygen environment that will allow the spores to grow into active bacteria. When the jars are stored at room temperature, the spores can germinate and produce the toxin. However, the toxin is sensitive to heat and can be destroyed if the food in question is boiled for 10 minutes (longer at high altitudes).
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Washing potatoes well helps with bacteria removal but the rough skin on potatoes has plenty of spaces for CB Spores to hide. Yes the baking process usually kills the spores but some can survive. The hazard comes with improperly cooled and room temp stored leftover bakers wrapped in foil. Potatoes are a nice moist protein rich food for CB to grow on. The foil creates the oxygen free environment CB needs to grow. It used to be common to make leftover bakers into Potato Salad. With no further cooking to kill active bacteria and destroy the heat sensitive Toxin, People got sick. While the risk is fairly minimal and negligible with potatoes that are promptly refrigerated...It has happened see below...I NEVER Foil Wrap Baked Potatoes. Foiled potatoes Steam not bake...I wash, rub with EVOO, Salt and Pepper and roast. The seasoned crispy skin is the best part! Leftovers get diced and Fried with onions and peppers to eat with Eggs...JJ


    An outbreak associated with improperly held foil wrapped baked potatoes actually occurred in a food service establishment. The outbreak involved an oven full of cooked, foil wrapped potatoes. After cooking, the oven was turned off and the potatoes were allowed to cool in the oven overnight. The foil wrapping and the warm oven made the conditions right for the growth of Clostridium botulinum and the subsequent development of botulinum toxin. The next day the potatoes were used to make potato salad. The consumers of the potato salad became sick.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2016
  10. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I bet the knee jerk reaction was to blame the mayonnaise in the potato salad and not the potatoes.  I had not heard this before, good info to be aware of.

    I keep my cure in a tightly closed snap lid container, mostly to prevent moisture clumping as I do live in the "humidity belt" of Georgia.  What is the average shelf life as I no longer have my original package and my cure is at least 2 years old.  Still looks good and seams to be working in sausage though.  I just did not think about keeping a note of the original expiration date from the package before I tossed it.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2016
  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Mayo causing food poisoning is a bit overblown as well. Homemade Mayo, raw egg and low acid, can cause food poisoning if left out. Commercial Mayo like Best, Hellman's and such uses pasteurized eggs and has a Ph of around 4. Pretty acidic and not hospitable for bacteria growth. The undressed Salad Greens at a Picnic represent far more risk than the Potato Salad that sat out in the sun for 4 hours! Of course both should be on Ice...JJ
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2016
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Personally, I wouldn't worry about an expiration date...  it's salt...    The nitrite converts to nitrate, probably at a rate that's so slow, you couldn't measure it over a 10 year period...  Like I mentioned above...   My first bag of cure #1 was probably 15 years old...   If it had degraded 20%, my attempt to cure meat at 156 Ppm was reduced to 125 Ppm which is well within curing guidelines and an acceptable concentration...  still very safe.......
  13. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thank you for the info chef JJ!   I am grilling/roasting my first taters without foiling!  I've grilled the tri-tip, asparagus, onions and peppers, all the while the taters have been cooking over indirect heat.  They were at 170 after cooking everything else.  Left them on till 190ish.  I've ALWAYS wrapped baked potatoes in foil....Let's see how it turns out.

  14. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Mike, you are welcome. If you are in a time crunch or doing quick cook meats, Nuke the Potatoes, 5 minutes per, added together. They will be hot but not quite done, unless small. Toss with the oil, S&P and proceed with the offset cook. The potatoes will be crisp and tender in about 20 minutes...JJ
  15. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You can never bee to careful when it comes to home canned food.
  16. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    My first potatoes without any wrapping, it was excellent!

  17. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Nice looking meal!...JJ

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