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 Post subject: Re: Sous vide an Botulism?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:18 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:45 pm
Posts: 1531
Location: Ottawa, ON
JesBelle wrote:
Isn't confit usually cooked though? As I understand it, the botulinum toxin is fairly delicate. It's the spore that thinks it's Rasputin.


Spores can exist pre-cooking, and can survive light cooking. Typically confit is cooked hot enough and long enough (6-12 hours in most traditional recipes I've seen) to do the trick, but that is IF you follow instructions, just like SV.

On the earlier question of oxygen:

...O’Mahony et al. (2004) found that the majority of pouches after vacuum packaging had high levels of residual oxygen, this doesn’t imply that the Clostridium species – which require the absence of oxygen to grow – aren’t a problem since the interior of the food often has an absence of oxygen.

This is true for traditional cooking as well. In that vein, people are often confused because they think if they heat a food (eg. garlic in oil) up to a sufficient temperature, then they will kill pathogens. Of course, you can heat your garlic in oil to 150 C, but the interior of the garlic stays at 100 C until it dries out (unless pressure cooked), at which point you won't have much edible.

Modernist Cuisine also has a long and thoroughly researched section of food safety that generally concludes that SV is about as dangerous as most cooking, which is pretty rife with danger. Things cooked at high temperature (say >60) for long periods are probably safer. The biggest difference on the Internet is that SV has some well written, accessible, articles like Baldwin which discuss the dangers, but very little to discuss the dangers of salad (which is wildly dangerous), at least at the cook's level.


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 Post subject: Re: Sous vide an Botulism?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:21 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:03 am
Posts: 5147
Location: Portland, OR
Paul,

Where I see the danger of SV is that SV cooking times & temperatures are exactly in the range where they kill off microorganisms which cause spoilage while not killing off spores. This offers the opportunity for someone to have an SV pouch in the fridge which looks, smells and tastes fine but is actually completely toxic.

This is exactly the same danger presented by home canning, so it's not a new danger. However, 90% of botulism cases in the Lower 48 are attributable to home canning, so I think it's reasonable to assume that the same idiots who don't use a pressure canner for tomatoes are going to eat a 3-week-old SV chicken packet. The first time this results in a multiple fatality SV will be blamed, and Amy will have to suffer through a bunch of new regulations and safety videos.

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 Post subject: Re: Sous vide an Botulism?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 3:13 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:45 pm
Posts: 1531
Location: Ottawa, ON
Where I disagree is that a 3-week old pouch is likely to cause a problem. I think it is very unlikely, even in residential fridges. I'll admit, it is a risk, and more of a risk then one wants to run, but not that high. Canning generally presents much higher risk due to the typically very long storage times at room temperature.

I'll give you that it should probably be stressed a little more, though, that storage time should be limited, as the risk is certainly not zero.


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