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Old 11-30-2007, 12:37 PM   #81
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Originally Posted by Callisto in NC View Post
And another question for those in the states ~ do you brine ham? I don't eat the stuff but I've never heard of it being brined.
I've never heard of brining ham, either.
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Old 11-30-2007, 12:52 PM   #82
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Ham is both the name of the part of the hog and the finished product. To make a ham, you butcher a ham (rear leg from the hip to the knee) off the hog and brine it to make ham. You can also smoke the brined ham as an added option.
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Old 11-30-2007, 01:31 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Ham is both the name of the part of the hog and the finished product. To make a ham, you butcher a ham (rear leg from the hip to the knee) off the hog and brine it to make ham. You can also smoke the brined ham as an added option.
Heh, right there on the post I wrote earlier, the link at the USDA includes info on brining ham. I guess living in SE VA I hear so much about Smithfield country ham (and see it in the grocery stores), and I don't eat a lot of ham myself, that I don't think about the other types.
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Old 11-30-2007, 01:33 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
The unrefrigerated ham sold here in the southeast U.S. is dry-salt cured and will last for months, until cut into; then it requires refrigeration to keep it from drying out:
Ham and Food Safety
Smithfield's Ham Shop

It has a really salty taste and practically a crust of salt on the surface. I've eaten it but I don't like it much.
Thanks GotGarlic. I don't eat ham so all I knew is it wasn't in the refrigerator section and has Junior Johnson's picture on it.
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Old 12-01-2007, 12:23 AM   #85
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Here, vacuum packed ham is sliced ham or a chunk of ham that is just vacuum packed and needs refrigeration. This stuff sounds more like a preserved ham, which I couldn't possibly comment on one way or the other!! :)
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Old 12-01-2007, 06:22 PM   #86
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Even if everything you say is true Cordel, the bacteria produce toxins that can make you sick and even kill you and those toxins are not killed by heat. There also is no where near enough salt in a brine to kill enough things to make it safe.
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Old 12-03-2007, 10:28 PM   #87
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Toxins.........

GB,

This is my second post on this forum, so I'm a little hesitant to be at odds with the Administrator. I have read through this entire thread, and have a couple of comments.

First, bacteria do not produce toxins, at least not in amounts that make people sick. There is ONE particular bacteria, Staphylococcus, that does produce a toxin that causes food poisoning. However, this bacteria is associated with contamination of cooked foods or foods that are never cooked (think potato salad). It flourishes in temps from 80-100 degrees (think picnic or nasty restaurant). It is not found, to my knowledge in poultry or other meats, and seem to come from contamination by food preparers after the cooking process, if any, and then poor refrigeration of the prepared product. I have not heard of it associated with raw poultry, although it could certainly be introduced after the bird was cooked.

Second, the main bacteria that are associated with poultry are Salmonella, and Campylobacter, both of which are easily killed with proper cooking. Also E. Coli, if present, will be killed if proper temperatures are adhered to.

Almost all food poisonings are caused by either improper cooking (not reaching proper temperature ( think Jack in the box hamburgers) or contamination after cooking. This contamination often comes from improper hand washing on the part of food handlers after using the restroom, or cross-contamination, like putting cooked foods on surfaces that previously had uncooked foods without proper cleaning (like using a single cutting board to cut up raw chicken, and carving the cooked chicken)

Because Staph is a toxin poisoning, it occurs relatively quickly after ingesting the contaminated food, usually 6-12 hours.

Salmonella, and others, must have time to multiply in your body, so they take usually 12-24 hours depending on the dose (amount of bacteria ingested).

Almost all the angst over turkey around thanks giving comes from the custom of stuffing the bird ( think insulation) and allowing it to sit in the area that used to be the turkey's gut and bowels for a long period at a temperature that often doesn't reach a level adequate to kill the bacteria present. Leaving the bird out for 6 hours at 60 degrees makes this problem potentially worse, because, as you have pointed out, there will be a lot more bacteria to kill. Worse, the stuffing closest to the outside gets the hottest and is probably fine, but deep down inside is where the problem lies. Then in order to display the "traditional Thanksgiving" many cooks leave the bulk of the stuffing in the bird during dinner and that hour or so afterwords where the bacteria multiply even further. For that reason, I don't ever stuff a turkey.

I can't remember if the OP stuffed his bird or not. If he did, I'd really be leery. If he didn't, it is a tougher call. Frankly, I see no reason, if properly cooked and handled properly afterwords, why this turkey would be unsafe.

I'm not sure, however, I'd feel comfortable serving a turkey that I knew had been held above 40 degrees for a significant amount of time to 15 of my closest relatives and friends.

Mozart
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Old 12-04-2007, 08:27 AM   #88
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mozart, please do not be hesitant to post because I am an admin. I am just a member like anyone else and as long as you post in accordance to our community policies (as you did perfectly) then you have as much right as anyone else to voice your opinion.

I am very short on time right now so this will be a quick message, but in response to your post I will just simply say that if there was no danger of getting sick from a turkey left in the danger zone then there would be no need to refrigerate it which I think everyone will agree is not the case.
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Old 12-04-2007, 09:55 AM   #89
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danger zone......

Hi GB,

I wouldn't say there is no danger to leaving turkey in the danger zone. I ended by saying I probably wouldn't serve it to my family or friends under the original scenario as presented.

I just wanted to point out a few misconceptions about food poisoning. The pathogenic organisms that cause food poisoning are varied and are prevalent in our environment. But just like animals, they have habitats they prefer. Some prefer the intestinal tract (Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli) while others prefer areas like the mouth, nose, and hair.

The only two common food poisonings that are caused by toxins are Staph and Botulism. Botulism toxin is the most powerful poison known I have heard. Fortunately it is a rare food poisoning today due to better commercial processing, and occurs mainly from home canned products that are not properly heated prior to canning.

This leaves us with Staph. It is not found normally in large quantities in the intestinal tract, however it is prevalent in the rest of the environment.

So Staph food poisoning could present a danger in turkeys, but it is not likely to originate with the turkey.

The original point of processing of a fresh turkey is the first danger point. Once dressed, it can easily be contaminated by the hands of a careless worker or a fomite ( an inanimate object, like a cutting board or other surface). Turkeys are large and bulky so they take a long time to cool even under refrigeration. This is one reason I prefer frozen turkeys as the time in the danger zone after slaughter is less. I also believe that one is more likely to encounter problems with a small shop (butcher, etc) than a large processing plant that has many internal controls and is monitored closer by government agencies.

The second danger point is the possibility of contamination by the preparer prior to cooking. Thawing a turkey at room temperature is a good example, especially if it is handled unwrapped. If staph is present in the environment at that site, it can multiply on the bird, however, the preferred environment for staph is mid-sixties to 100 for best growth.

If growth occurs, there will be toxins, which may or may not be enough to make someone sick. Sickness comes from the body's reaction to the toxin. However, at this point, any bacteria growing on the bird will be killed by cooking, so the process stops at that point and whatever toxin is there you get. This assumes, however, complete cooking including the stuffing and cavity.

The next danger point, and the most common one for Staph poisoning, comes after the cooking. Contamination at that point by hands or fomites is more dangerous, because the food is more likely to be held in the 65- 100 degree range for several hours, allowing the bacteria to multiply and produce toxins. It is also more likely to lead to a far worse case of poisoning then the before cook scenario, because as you eat leftovers, you are not only ingesting toxins, but the live bacteria too, which just love that 96.8 degree temp in your body and therefore multiply and produce even more toxins.

This is the most common scenario in restaurants where contaminated food is left on steam tables for long periods without proper temperature.

Personally, I use frozen birds, thawed in the refrigerator, cooked unstuffed and stripped completely of meat very soon after served. I then either freeze it or put it in very shallow containers with lots of surface area exposed to get it cooled in the refrigerator as soon as possible.

I might add, this doesn't make me very popular with the family, who like to pick at the bird for hours after it is done and then would prefer to just tent it aluminum foil and put in the refrigerator for later:)

I applaud you and other administrators and moderators here for your continued positions in support of food safety and I did not intend to undermine your message. I tend to be very cautious, particularly with cooking temperatures and after prep handling and refrigeration.

However, I didn't want people thinking that all pathogenic bacteria produce toxins that make you sick, and wanted to emphasize that, in most cases, what you do after you cook something is a far more important contributor to food poisoning than what you do before.

Mozart
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Old 12-04-2007, 10:14 AM   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mozart View Post
The only two common food poisonings that are caused by toxins are Staph and Botulism.
It appears that this is not correct: Salmonella Infection: Health Topics: University of Iowa Health Care

<quote>
Gastroenteritis, or food poisoning, is the most common type of Salmonella infection. It results from the toxin of intestinal bacteria that live in animals and humans. The most common cause is eating improperly prepared or stored foods. It is not the Salmonella bacteria, but its toxins (byproducts), that cause illness.
<end quote>
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