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Old 03-25-2015, 07:13 PM   #21
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Is there some government department or university you could ask? If you were stateside, I would suggest the county extension office.
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Old 03-25-2015, 07:18 PM   #22
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I don't know what book you are using. I started out with Charcuterie by Michael Rhulman, got another book as well but I don't remember the name off the top of my head, and went to an on-line forum that appeared to be reliable and specializes in BBQ, curing/preserving, pretty much anything to do with animal proteins and checked out what they had to say as well. I always gather info from several sources to see if they all pretty much agree before undertaking a project like this.

I'll be honest, it was something I wanted to try but I was a bit worried about trying the bresaola for the first time. We tried just a couple of paper thin slices a couple of days before we actually had it for a meal. On my part (though I don't think my DH knew it), it was just to make sure neither of us got violently ill from it even though I knew I had followed every step as directed. If I had known that the beef had likely been at too high of temps for an unknown period of time, I'd have chucked it and started again. But that's just me and my choice.

I'm certainly not an expert as I've only done this twice now but I don't think botulinum would be a worry in a whole piece of meat. I believe that's only a big issue with cured sausages and rolled products like pancetta, which I haven't ventured into yet. HOWEVER, I've seen several times the mention of a mantra of the charcuterie world of "If in doubt, throw it out!" and that's what I intend to live by.
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Old 03-25-2015, 07:22 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ciaran View Post
I'd quite like some specific advice before I chuck out this £20 piece of meat, rather than just sound bites!

I will throw it away if needs be I just would like someone to explain specifically if and why the meat is now unsafe.

For example, my main concern is botulism and this book says there is no risk of botulism in whole cuts of meat, is this true? And if the meat was a few degrees over 18C for a few days before being returned to safe temperature ranges, specifically what will this have done to the meat?

For example, if botulism is truly not an issue then would not the other possible contaminants eg. e coli cause quite obviously mealy/off meat, particularly after a couple of weeks?

I can't find these answers in the literature I have so I am asking here, but I need a bit more than "better safe than sorry" or "will it taste good when you're dead" etc.
Sorry for the intrusion.
It's true, I have no expert answers for you but those who come here don't necessarily have the answers either. By the way, my advice was sound, you can call it a "sound bite" if you wish.
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Old 03-25-2015, 07:23 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by medtran49 View Post
I don't know what book you are using. I started out with Charcuterie by Michael Rhulman, got another book as well but I don't remember the name off the top of my head, and went to an on-line forum that appeared to be reliable and specializes in BBQ, curing/preserving, pretty much anything to do with animal proteins and checked out what they had to say as well. I always gather info from several sources to see if they all pretty much agree before undertaking a project like this.

I'll be honest, it was something I wanted to try but I was a bit worried about trying the bresaola for the first time. We tried just a couple of paper thin slices a couple of days before we actually had it for a meal. On my part (though I don't think my DH knew it), it was just to make sure neither of us got violently ill from it even though I knew I had followed every step as directed. If I had known that the beef had likely been at too high of temps for an unknown period of time, I'd have chucked it and started again. But that's just me and my choice.

I'm certainly not an expert as I've only done this twice now but I don't think botulinum would be a worry in a whole piece of meat. I believe that's only a big issue with cured sausages and rolled products like pancetta, which I haven't ventured into yet. HOWEVER, I've seen several times the mention of a mantra of the charcuterie world of "If in doubt, throw it out!" and that's what I intend to live by.
Hmm, ok. I guess it's just a judgement call. I suppose I could just start again but I don't know if I could protect the meat from slipping slightly out of the 10-18C range the book quotes now and then, especially as the weather heats up (although this being England that's probably optimistic).

Probably botulism isn't the major risk so I guess it would be.. funguses and maybe e coli and listeria? I wonder how obvious they are..

This is the book by the way: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Curing-Smoki.../dp/140880882X The only thing it mentions about safety is to follow the instructions and "if it's black and dripping it's probably not ok" lol. It does have some bits on flies and moulds, but nothing much else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by taxlady View Post
Is there some government department or university you could ask? If you were stateside, I would suggest the county extension office.
I will probably contact some UK producers and ask for their advice. If they say chuck it I will chuck it and let the buyer's remorse fade before buying another leg and starting again, maybe I'll invest in a special curing fridge or something.

EDIT: They're £8000, nevermind.
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Old 03-26-2015, 08:47 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Ciaran View Post
Hmm. Well it was only at that temperature for a couple of days, but yeah I take your point.

It's currently hanging at about 16-17 degrees during the day, much lower at night, I can't seem to find anywhere cooler to put it.

I'm willing to take the risk with the other possible nasties especially as they are easier to spot/smell, but I don't want to take any risk with botulism.. That can very easily be game over and there are no clues it's there :(

I'm just wondering if in this case there is any particular risk of botulism in particular. Being anaerobic I understand it can't grow on the surface, so the question is, could it be present inside the meat and growing in there?

I didn't cut the meat, it's one solid piece. Presumably a cure with nitrates in it wouldn't have gotten into the centre of the meat anyway?

My book says that the risk of botulism is just with things like salami and saucisson where you first grind and then dry the meat, as that can potentially introduce spores into the meat, and that there is "no risk" with whole cuts like coppa and whatnot...

But I just wanted to check if that's actually true and not cavalier
The more surface area a piece of meat has (eg as in minced or chopped meats) the more likely it is to be infected with "nasties" so, yes, it's more likely to be sausage-type items where the morsels of meat are squashed together that "breed" anaerobic toxins .
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Old 03-27-2015, 02:00 PM   #26
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Hi guys, just thought I'd update with what I've learned so far. I have spoken to the author of a charcuterie recipe book and am still waiting to hear back from the UK's food safety agency as turns out they have advisors for this type of thing.

According to the author, it's true that botulism is not a risk in whole cuts of meat for the reasons described previously, there's no way for the spores to get into the meat tissue and no anaerobic environment for them to grow in the solid cut. This also applies to E Coli.

Apparently the only risk of being at that higher temperature for those days is mould, as in the bad kind, but that this should be visible and removable with vinegar.

I'll wait to hear back from the FSA but sounds like it should be fine.

I do think I've dried it too fast though so that might pose a problem later on. In the meantime I've inoculated the surface with penicillium using a store bought saucisson's skin so hopefully if I can get that going it will slow down the drying process.

It also turns out that my parents have an outdoor fridge they aren't using so I'm concerting it into a curing chamber.
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Old 03-27-2015, 02:13 PM   #27
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Glad to read that Ciaran. I bet you feel a lot safer about that leg of lamb now. Glad to read that you likely won't have to throw it out.
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Old 04-01-2015, 02:13 PM   #28
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Ok the mould is starting to appear, some flat and dry white patches on the surface, but in the crevices around the bone it's still white but a bit thicker and almost furry.

I stuck a cotton wool tip into this crevice and as well as the white there was a kind of dark brown smudge. I'm not sure if that's another fungus or if it's just the flesh, it didn't smell bad but I washed it out with vinegar as advised just in case.

I'm just a bit worried that this crevice goes quite deep into the meat... I'm not sure if I should amputate everything below that section or just leave it..
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:32 AM   #29
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Welcome!
Your post is another example of someone asking for advice from strangers with varying levels of experience related to food safety.
Risky business.
The fact that the meat has/is going through various temperature cycles is a big concern.
If it was me I'd discard the meat at this point. I know that may be a tough nut but that's what I'd do. I wouldn't get into the whole thing again until I have secured a proper aging/curing facility.
I know that people have been curing/hanging meats forever. We don't hear about the ones who killed themselves of others much but it's probably happening somewhere right now.
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:37 AM   #30
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Vinegar should kill any mould spores.
Glad you got some expert advice and a place to hang the legs in future.
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