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Old 04-24-2008, 03:17 PM   #51
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Some here consider me a bit liberal when it comes to food safety issues, but even I wouldn't refreeze previously frozen, then thawed, fish!
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Old 04-24-2008, 07:10 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by mozart View Post
OK, probably more than you wanted to know

Your still here?
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Old 04-25-2008, 02:47 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by mozart View Post
Hi Rob:

This is a common misconception about botulism. The toxin is not hard to deactivate with heat.

First, the chance of getting botulism, based on reported cases, in any year is 1 in 10 million. Pretty rare.

Second, the toxin produced is not "bug poop" or waste products, it is a protein. This protein is heat labile, meaning it can be readily deactivated by heat. It takes 180 degrees F for 10 minute to deactivate it. The reason there are occasional cases from canned foods, like beans, is that we don't usually cook canned foods for that long, we merely heat them.

The actual botulism spores, however, are extremely heat resistant, and usually will take pressure cooking at well above normal boiling to kill them. PH is another factor in the time and temp it takes. Botulism isn't found in canned foods with PH below 4.6, like tomatoes.

If botulism spores are not killed by cooking no toxin will be produced unless the food is placed in an anaerobic condition, like a vacuum sealed can.

The one exception to this is infant botulism which is occasionally associated with honey. Botulism spores are commonly found in the soil and are picked up by bees and mixed in the honey. Usually, adults have no problem ingesting and eliminating these spores, but infants are missing what ever it is that kills them and the spores become bacteria in the infant's intestines and then produce the toxin. The actually missing process is not totally understood. Some think it is stomach acid of which infants have little. Some think it is just a weaker immune system. In any even, this is the basis for not feeding infants honey.

OK, probably more than you wanted to know
Yeah, come to think of it I believe you're right. I mixed that up- the spores are very heat resistant but the toxin isn't. In any event, it's pretty rare, luckily!
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