Originally Posted by raydefan
OK - Every recipe I read says that to avoid botulism spores from growing, you should rapidly reduce the temperature of the sous vide cooked meat by placing the bag in a ice water bath for a specific time before placing in the refrigerator or freezer.
My question is what do you do with a chicken breast that you cooked sous vide, took out of the bag, but didn't eat. Can you just put it in thechicken breast in the refrigerator and eat it the next day without the risk of botulism or do you need to throw it out.
I thought that the risk of of botulism with sous vide is that there is no oxygen in the bags (similar to that of canning). Therefore I would assume that once I take the meat out of the bag, it's just like any meat that was grilled or baked. I just can confirm this from any website or book. Anyone confirm or deny?
Botulism spores activate in anaerobic conditions at temps between 40-120 degrees F. Therefore toxin can only produced under those conditions. Extending that logic, then whatever state of toxin production existed when you took it out of the water bath, will exist at that moment and the next day. In other words, if you are comfortable eating it right after it is cooked, then it will be just as safe from a botulism standpoint two days later.
I have seen discussions about cooking meat for 24 hours using this method at some range of 130-140 degree F. I personally would have a tough time feeling comfortable with this, as I don't plan on standing there with a thermometer in my hand for 24 hours to make sure it stayed above 120 F. The spores will not be killed in this cooking process and it takes 176 F to destabilize the toxin, which my guess is higher than desirable for most sous vide cooking.
If the food is cooked rather quickly, 2-4 hours, and not stored in the bag, which is where the problems have generally occurred, then it will likely be fine.