Food Safety Chit-Chat

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by jp61, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Let's have a civilized discussion here so that people who actually look at this forum wanting to learn more and understand food safety better can do so.

    Fresh Pork: (not ground)

    1- The "official" Safe Minimum Cooking Temperature for fresh pork is 145°F IT (internal temperature) with 3 minutes rest time. Is this correct?

    2- Bacteria grow fastest between 40°-140°F. Is this correct?

    3- What kills bacteria on or in meat when smoking? A specific heat intensity and length of time they're exposed to it. Is this correct?

    4- Some bacteria can penetrate muscle tissue. Is this correct?  If so, how deep? ???

    5- Some bacterial spores can survive temperatures of 212°F+ at sea level Is this correct?

    Smoking a pork butt most of us use some type of thermometer to determine when it's done to our taste.

    5- Some of us, at times insert the temperature probe at the beginning of the smoke and some wait 2-3 hours into the smoke before they do so Is this true?  (IMO, yes)

    6- Always have to assume there are live bacteria at least on the surface of the meat Is this correct?

    7- Inserting temperature probe into raw meat is considered unsafe  Is this correct?

    8- Inserting temperature probe into meat that has a minimum surface temperature of 145°F is considered safe. Is this correct?

    If, pork associated bacteria are killed at 145°F with 3 min. rest, does it make a difference when smoking a pork butt if the bacteria are on the surface, on the interior or how many there is when, the IT of the pork at some point goes over 145°F and stays above for hours up to a final temperature of 205°F IT for many of us? (some pull it at a lower temp) Dead is dead, no?

    Last edited: Mar 31, 2014
    disco and russell page like this.
  2. beeflover

    beeflover Smoke Blower

    Ive seen other threads here about that you should just ask in one of those.
  3. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    This isn't the kind of discussion I had in mind.

    I realize "food safety" is a complex issue, sensitive topic here on SMF and has been discussed many times in the past.

    In my opinion, food safety should always be top priority for anyone who eats and should be discussed more frequently.

    I understand the SMF' 40°-140° in 4 hr rule. That doesn't mean food safety is crystal clear in my mind. I must be all alone in that regard. 

    The basics I get, I was looking for more detailed information and facts, that's all. 
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2014
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yes, these questions have been asked before but being an important and open forum, it is acceptable for members with any questions to ask again. I have tried to make things clear but as in many situations opinions vary, guidelines change and with any government bureaucracy justifying their budgets, studies will show that," what is the best thing in the world for you today...Is deadly tomorrow. " Educate yourself and thanks for your participation in a great forum...JJ
    disco likes this.
  5. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good thread, questions and response.


  6. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks for the answers above Chef JJ!

    To whomever,

    - If ground pork is handled in an all-around  safe manner along with a whole muscle, why does (should) the ground pork need to be cooked to a minimum of 160°F IT + 3 min. rest and the whole muscle to a minimum of 145°F IT + 3 min. rest?

    - Ground pork comes from where?  Whole muscle(s), trimmings  or both?

    - Always assume there are live microorganisms in play when dealing with raw pork.

    Pork has been ground and now there are many small pieces of pork, much larger surface area and bacteria mixed in. If there isn't any bacteria inside of the whole muscle(s), then there shouldn't be (much) more bacteria mixed into the ground pork than what the total bacteria was on the surface(s) of the whole muscle(s) prior to grinding?

    [​IMG]  What am I missing?
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
  7. The bacteria are now distributed throughout the meat instead of being just on the surface where they are easily killed. They are "sheltered" so to speak on the inside & have a longer time to multiply & create toxins before the IT gets high enough to kill them. Hopefully that makes sense the way I explained it...
  8. Also, Most of the ground meat has touched the grinding blade and other surfaces of the grinder. Any bacteria on the surface of the meat now attaches to those surfaces and some comes off on the previous clean internal muscle as it is exposed.

    That being said I have always put my probe in early and will continue to do so. If a bad butt takes me out it was probably my time anyway
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Both good answers.  

    My local Grocery Stores Butcher will custom cut and grind any meat to order. They have a single large #32 Grinder They get very busy so there is no time to breakdown and sanitize the grinder between customers. It is not uncommon to follow the grinding of Chicken for one customer with the grinding of Pork or Beef for the next... So there is any number and type of bacteria beyond what was on the surface of that chunk of Pork Butt that just got ground. 

    Remember the USDA Temps are guidelines designed to keep the majority of cooks safe regardless of their level of cooking and food safety knowledge...

    Under most circumstances, even with a little Chicken mixed in from the previous grind, a batch of custom ground Pork can be cooked to 140-145°F, Medium, (See info below) without issue because WE understand food safety and handled/cooked the meat properly...BUT...There are many people who don't have our knowledge. They will pick up the groceries, then make a couple more stops before getting home and putting the meat in the freezer. The day they are serving, they Defrost on the counter, that's the way Grandma did it, then start cooking. Fortunately they see the label says " Cook to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F ", follow that guideline and all is fine. 

    Copied from the following...

    The majority of Salmonella  serotypes are not particularly heat resistant and are usually killed by pasteurisation processes. D-values are typically 1 – 10 mins at 60 ºC/140°F and less than 1 min at 70 ºC/158°F, with typical z-values of 4 – 5 ºC. However, there are some important exceptions. Some rare serotypes such as S. Senftenberg are much more heat resistant (approximately 10 – 20 times) than others at high water activities, and some foods with high fat content or low water activity reduce the effectiveness of heat treatments that would normally destroy the cells.

    Ground Pork is typically made from Trim. Whole muscle can be sold at a much higher price.

    If you buy a Pork Butt and grind it yourself, yes the only bacteria is that which was on the surface and now is mixed through out the meat. Our safety concern is still one of proper handling. There are some types of bacteria that do not multiply or at least not well, in the Oxygen rich environment of the meats surface...BUT... Now that you ground the pork these types of bacteria are now in the mostly Oxygen free environment of the Interior! They are also surrounded by plenty of Food and Moisture. All that is needed is to spend some time in the Danger Zone of 40° to 140°F and there is rapid growth and in some case dangerous Toxin production.  
  10. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Edit: What's important is to not allow cross-contamination to happen in the first place. 
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2014
  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    In general the Salmonella Bacteria will die once the water in spattered juices dries out, it does not form endospores. The concept of not washing Chicken and Cross-contamination is very valid. Chicken is usually packed with a lot of liquid that splashes easily. So, many feel washing will spread that bacteria to the sink and surrounding area and any foods, Lettuce, Etc, will be contaminated when they are washed. In general I do not wash Meat unless it needs it such as, it is slightly slimey, has an unusual odor or I am removing it from a liquid or dry cure. I am then careful to limit contamination followed by cleaning and sanitizing.

    Food Safety requires diligence. Learn all you can about Food Handling, think of a work plan and follow it. Clean off your work space, rack full of clean dishes should be in the cabinet, not sitting where they can get contaminated.  Wash all other food items before the bird or any meat. Clean and sanitize the sink and surrounding area after use, 1Tbs Bleach per Gallon of Water works nicely especially if allowed to soak the area for 30 seconds or more before wiping. Using equipment in good working order cook / smoke meat at proper temps, 225°F or higher unless Cured. Get the meat to a safe Internal Temp of 140°F in 4 hours or less if the surface has been broken. And lastly,  properly Cooling, Storing and Reheating leftovers. 

    Using common sense and some knowledge, great food is in your future...JJ
    bhawkins likes this.
  12. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for all the great responses Chef JJ. One can't have enough knowledge of food safety, and the occasional discussion like this is a good refresher!
  13. davidhef88

    davidhef88 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If you have ANY questions, especially when it comes to food safety, feel free to ask. The replies I quoted above are not the norm for responses here, nor do I like them. If members are going to respond to threads with a negative attitude, I wish they wouldn't respond at all. Thanks Chef Jimmy for taking the time to go over this again. I have been missing for a few months while I remodeled my house. I'll be back to help soon.
  14. One thing I use a lot in the kitchen, esp with chicken is a food safe sanitizer. I use a product call star san that was designed for use in beer making. When mixed properly it is actually safe to drink (demoed by company owner) but will kill most bugs in short time. It is great for cleaning down the sink and counters. Probably be good for sausage equipment too
  15. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    It is the Northern Hemisphere's turn pretty soon for some hot weather.

    [​IMG]  There are days when I spend too much time and money at Sam's. I could probably count on one hand the times I walked out from there spending < $100.00.

    Not many, but a few times I've noticed someone's shopping-cart with raw meat and/or poultry (not using supplied plastic bags..... (possible cross-contamination) in it within the first 5-10 min of me being in the store. Then at the check-out lanes, lets just say one hour or more later, with 3-5 full carts in front of them. It's 90°F outside, their car has been roasting for an hour before they load items purchased into the trunk. Who knows how far away they live or if there are other stops in between. They go home late Friday afternoon and put the stuff in the fridge. What's the temperature 35°, 40°, 45°? Now the temp inside the fridge will go up some do the huge load just placed in it. How long will it take for the fridge to catch up and maintain proper temperature with the kids eyeballing the contents inside of it every 10 minutes. Saturday evening the pork butt and chickens get prepped and spend more time in the danger zone. Sunday, out they come from the fridge to bring to room temperature before going into the smoker. The chicken go on the top rack and the pork butt bellow with a temp probe sticking out of it. Having some issues maintaining smoker temperature for awhile and the smoke generator went out twice already. But things are looking much better now and the $9.99 thermometer says it's 235° in the smoker. Then your phone rings and it's your best friend..... "hey dude, common over if your not doing anything, I'm smoking two chickens and a pork butt". The chicken is almost done, it LQQKS pretty darn tasty. OK. I'll be over in 20 minutes. I sure hope my friends know what they're doing....

    Food poisoning

    Possible long-term effects:

    - Kidney failure

    - Chronic arthritis

    - Brain and nerve damage

    - Unexpected goodbye and numerous heavy hearts

    Stuff doesn't always just happen to other people. Don't be scared or uninformed. Like Chef JJ says...... "get educated"  [​IMG]

    Edit: BTW, I'm under the "getting educated" column [​IMG]

    Last edited: Apr 4, 2014
  16. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks for the info! 

    Hmm...... "safe to drink", that's interesting. Without knowing anything about it, I would think that if it kills most of the bad bugs it may also do a number on the good bugs in our GI tract, which probably wouldn't be a good thing?
  17. I didnt say I would drink it :) The company owner did it more as a point of how food safe it is. It is a no rinse sanitizer so a lot of people were concerned about leaving residue in there beer carboys and kegs
  18. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks Martin! [​IMG]   

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