Food Safety, Sausage-making and Hygiene

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Food Safety, Sausage-making and Hygiene

Post by NorCal Kid » Fri Apr 12, 2013 04:13

I try and stay up on the latest and greatest with regard to proper procedures for commercial kitchens with regards to cleanliness and food safety. I try and mirror some of the more applicable procedures when it come to food prep in my own home. This is of particular concern when the food being handled is ground meats-a fertile environment for nasty bacteria and the like. I attempt to be scrupulous with regards to proper temps, clean equipment and work surfaces and protective clothing (i.e. gloves, wipeable apron, etc).

I don't consider myself OCD nor having a extraordinary fear of germs. I AM concerned about the safety of those who will be consuming the products I make, whether it be immediate family, friends, neighbors, or folks at a social gathering. To me, it is well worth the extra effort (and peace of mind) of taking the necessary food safety steps to ensure what I make is not only tasty, but is safe to consume.

What amazes me, however, are the images posted on several meat & sausage forums depicting raw meat being handled rather, um, lackadaisically... :shock:
Please hear me, -I'm not trying to be judgmental or copping a 'holier than thou' attitude with regards to how others choose to operate. But knowing the inherent risks, my mind is boggled at times by what I see folks doing.

Today I viewed some posted photos of several home sausage-makers making a HUGE amount of sausage. Two large bins full of hundreds of pounds of ground meat. All four were up to their hairy-armed bare elbows mixing meat... :shock: For one, well-chilled meat would be extremely painful to mix bare-armed, especially that amount. All I could think was the meat just wasnt very cold. Secondly, vigorous hand-mixing leads to skin flakes and hair being pulled off into the meat mix. Bare handfuls were then loaded into a stuffer....

Anyways, I just had to share some observations about what I see n line all the time. I'm not saying we all need to use hair-nets and hazmat suits to make sausages, but my goodness, some of the stuff folks post just amazes me.

Kevin
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Post by ssorllih » Fri Apr 12, 2013 04:59

Just the idea of feeding friends and family bad food scares the carelessness out of me. This is an area where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
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Post by Blackriver » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:12

I agree with you Kevin. I often have wondered that myself when I see stuff posted online. Food safety is very important.
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Post by Walleye1 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 13:49

I couldn't agree more. When some of my friends are over when I'm making sausage they all look at me when we are getting started and I pull out the soap and bleach to clean the already clean equipment. I can't help it, I've always cleaned all my equipment before putting it away and I've always cleaned everything before use. I also always keep a case of gloves in my sausage making area for use when handling anything. I'm pretty sure everyone thinks I'm a clean freak but really I just want to play safe.

Most of the time I make 100 to 200 lbs at a time. However I always mix in batches of 25 lbs. This way the rest can be kept in the fridge. My stuffer holds 30 lbs so the 25 lb batch works perfect in it. It all fits in at one time which keeps the cold meat mix all together which also helps to keep it cold.

To each their own I guess. I'd never forgive myself if I made someone sick.

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Post by ssorllih » Fri Apr 12, 2013 14:52

I should think that for making large batches such as are being discussed a cold room would be worth having. Restricting the room temperature to less than 50° would be an improvement for food safety. Remember an empty bowl or lug that has been used will warm up very quickly and it has a large surface area for growing microbes.
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Post by Chuckwagon » Fri Apr 12, 2013 15:40

Each year in the United States food borne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses and 325,000 hospitalizations. Of this number, more than 5,000 Americans painfully suffer the clearly evident indications and symptoms of preventable food contamination, breathe their last breath, and agonizingly die! (statistics from Center For Disease Control)
We live in a microbial world in which there are limitless opportunities for pathogenic or spoilage microorganisms to contaminate food whether it is produced in huge commercial kitchens or prepared "from scratch" at home. Food borne microbes are present (usually in the intestines) in healthy animals raised for food and the slightest contact with even small amounts of intestinal contents may contaminate meat or poultry carcasses during slaughter. Others are passed along by any number of means. As a result, worldwide each year, over two million people die from diseases attributed to contamination of food and drinking water, many being painful diarrheal diseases. Even in industrialized countries, up to 30% of the population has reported suffering from food-borne diseases annually. I'll bet you didn't realize the number of deaths was so high!
A trusted sausage maker or cook may either promote or recklessly endanger the health of other human beings. I openly cringe whenever I hear someone repeat the words "he`s just a cook". Inside our ranch kitchen, cowboys helped with dishes and treated the cook as if he were royalty. After all, although he was "just the cook", all hands depended upon the "biscuit wrangler" to feed us fresh, tasty, and safely prepared food. Shucks pards, we all knew he could have easily slipped a little something extra into the chocolate pudding anytime he had revenge on his mind. We also trusted and relied upon him to help keep harmful bacteria out of the sausage and meat products we devoured like hungry wolves.
I wish everyone could see the development of bacteria beneath my microscope in less than one hour inside a Petri dish containing just one hair. It's enough to make anyone regurgitate, become cross-eyed, say a few bad words, and become a true believer! Remove your jewelry and rings too. Anyone thinking they can "just get by" or that the salt or cure will "kill the bacteria", is absolutely wrong! Read the facts - salt does NOT kill bacteria! It never has and never will.
I believe that there is only one reason a person does not follow the safety rules whenever making sausage - laziness! Shucks pards, if you'd like to kill yourselves, that's your own business. Just don't harm or kill anyone else with your sloppy, lazy, practices and careless attitude regarding safety for others.

Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon
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Post by NorCal Kid » Fri Apr 12, 2013 16:15

For those interested, this image is just one example of what I described in my initial post.
And it's not unique. Similar images are frequently seen on various forums where hunters & other groups get together to make boatloads of ground venison or pork sausages.

http://i1357.photobucket.com/albums/q74 ... a894bc.jpg
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Post by IdaKraut » Fri Apr 12, 2013 18:29

Totally gross. That's why this is the only sausage forum I frequent. At least the guys here have an understanding of food safety. What's even worse, not a single member questioned the cleanliness of their procedures on that forum. Yuk.
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Post by NorCal Kid » Fri Apr 12, 2013 19:24

IdaKraut wrote:What's even worse, not a single member questioned the cleanliness of their procedures on that forum. Yuk.
I suppose no one wants to talk about the elephant in the room. I considered raising the issue, but decided it may simply cause more ruckus than solution.
"My father, and HIS father always did it this way, no one ever got sick, nor died, etc. etc...." :roll:

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Post by ssorllih » Fri Apr 12, 2013 19:29

That is a disaster waiting to happen.
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Post by IdaKraut » Fri Apr 12, 2013 19:48

They should include Kaopectate in the ingredients, it wil be needed.
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Post by Blackriver » Fri Apr 12, 2013 20:12

Thing is I work in a hospital and know the importance of hand washing. I can't imagine all the bacteria those guys are introducing into that sausage mix. That is gross.
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Post by ssorllih » Fri Apr 12, 2013 20:41

In the pictures that i looked at I saw no hand washing place in that shop.
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Post by NorCal Kid » Fri Apr 12, 2013 20:46

ssorllih wrote:In the pictures that i looked at I saw no hand washing place in that shop.
Quoting that famous sausage maker, Friedrich Nietzsche:
"That which does not kill us makes us stronger."
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Post by el Ducko » Fri Apr 12, 2013 21:28

NorCal Kid wrote:Quoting that famous sausage maker, Friedrich Nietzsche:
"That which does not kill us makes us stronger."
Yeah. He's dead. ...and that country music singer sounds like she might be headed that way, too. (But don't they all...?)

Wanna live to enjoy that sausage you just laid plans to make? (Hmmm... tasty sounding recipe.)

Try the Duck's Dunking Directions (these work for home brew equipment, too):
(1) Wash all cutting boards, knives, equipment, et cetera (except electrical parts, of course) with soap or dish washing detergent and water before and after use. (...NOT the lemon-scented variety.)
(2) A cap-ful of chlorine bleach in a bucketful of water is all you need to sanitize your equipment. After a thorough washing with soap and water, rinse, then dunk it (or wipe it down) in the bleach solution, then rinse thoroughly with clean water.
(3)Always use gloves. Wash them with soap or dish washing detergent and water after you put them on, and before you take them off. Do NOT use hand soaps with skin softeners, scented soaps, or the like.
(4) Don't forget to wash your brushes and cleaning tools. Run anything that's dishwasher safe through the dishwasher if possible, for a shot at heat sterilization. Brushes, especially, build up meat particles between uses unless thoroughly cleaned.
Oh, yeah:
(5) Put your clean equipment into the freezer to cool down. Put your meat into the freezer. Put the bowls, etc, into the freezer. Pull 'em out only long enough to assemble, grind (or mix or stuff or whatever), and then stick it back into the freezer. ...until you're done with the grind, or the mix, or the stuff, or whatever operation. Then, put the meat in the refrigerator, pull out the equipment that you are finished with, and wash it. (See above.)
Yours in safety,
Duk
:mrgreen:
Last edited by el Ducko on Fri Apr 12, 2013 22:31, edited 1 time in total.
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