Originally Posted by Gretchen
Sorry you tossed it. Smell would tell you if it was okay--after you rinsed it. And botulism is not a candidate for meat.
Historically, sausage was one of the main culprits for poisoning people with botulism. Do just a bit of research on sausage making (we're talking uncooked, cured sausage like pepperoni, salami's etc.) and you will find that botulism was a real problem before it was found that sodium nitrite inhibited the organism's growth. I'm not sure if the microbe was introduced to the meat by the spices (which seems logical) or whether it can contaminate through air currents. I know it is a common organism in most soils.
I also know that it is an anerobic organism, hence my worry about un-refridgerated, vacuum-packed meat.
And yes I know that meat is often aged, but it is done so at a controlled temperature. Gretchen, you may be correct in your statement that the organism doesn't infect pure meat. But I do know that without proper temperature control, and in sausage casings, sausage mixtures are prone to contamination from a host of microbial cultures. And the meat doesn't have to be touched by fecal matter due to poor porcessing. There are many airborn contaminants, as well as those that live on working surfaces, on people's skin, etc.
Myself, I've eaten plenty of meat that's been allowed to sit at room temperature too long. And luckily, I've never had food poisoning. But that may be pure luck on my part. I agree with the statement, when in doubt, throw it out. It's just not worth the risk. And until I have concrete scientific evidence to prove otherwise, I will choose to err on the side of safety.
Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North