Sourcing starter cultures in Canada

Devo
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Post by Devo » Wed Jan 28, 2015 21:51

Am I right in assuming you have to phone them to order? I don't see a online ordering page for them.
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redzed
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Post by redzed » Wed Jan 28, 2015 23:04

Yes, I talked to a Michelle. Pleasant lady, but does not really know her stuff. Unfortunately they don't have any surface starters. I still have some mouldy skins in my freezer, hopefully they will still grow. I shut down my curing chamber and washed it with chlorine, so I need to give the first batches a good dose of mould. After that you almost don't need it.

The Gewürzmüller cultures should be good. They are an old and established player.
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Post by redzed » Fri Feb 13, 2015 03:41

We can add another supplier of starter cultures in Canada. Wiberg the large German corporation has two locations in Canada: http://wiberg.ca/company/who_we_are

Head Office
931 Equestrian Court
Oakville, Ontario
CANADA
L6L 6L7
Tel: (905) 825-9900
Fax: (905) 825-0070

Vancouver Office
1790 Powell Street
Vancouver, BC
CANADA
V5L 1H7
Tel: (604) 255-5584
Fax: (604) 255-5311

I have been in contact with Alex, the Vancouver sales rep and he informed me that they carry only one starter culture, Biobak Ultra and a surface starter Biobak S that is brought in only a couple of times a year. Spec sheets are below. Wiberg also sells spices, additives and casings. Next time I'm in Vancouver I will pay them a visit. The prices are very reasonable as they are in Canadian dollars and in 50g packs. It works out to less than half of of what we would pay for a comparable Chr. Hansen product.

50g pack $12.15
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50g pack $1833
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Post by Devo » Fri Feb 13, 2015 13:57

One of the only people I listen to on the Sausage Debauchery page of facebook and feel he knows what he is talking about made this post yesterday. From this statement I wonder if the others are worth buying? Even with the Canada's dollar dropping it still might be worth while to buy the best?

Evan M. Brady said:
CHR Hansen is the worlds leading culture house. They are the premier producer of all bacterial cultures not only for meat, but cheese as well. Their food microbiologists produce the most pure strains and blends, on top of being the most consistent. Not every book of salumi and charcuterie touts Bactoferm as being the only culture available (read Francois Vecchio's book). The reason Bactoferm products are in most books are due to all the reasons I just mentioned. The other companies do not offer the unmatched quality Hansen do...
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Post by Shuswap » Fri Feb 13, 2015 15:51

My concern is the time taken to ship the product especially if the package gets held up by customs. I'd like to know more about how long the product's effectiveness is secured when out of the freezer.
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Post by Shuswap » Fri Feb 13, 2015 17:22

I see that Umai says Bactoferm is good in transit for 14 days.
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Post by redzed » Sat Feb 14, 2015 03:59

Devo wrote:One of the only people I listen to on the Sausage Debauchery page of facebook and feel he knows what he is talking about made this post yesterday. From this statement I wonder if the others are worth buying? Even with the Canada's dollar dropping it still might be worth while to buy the best?

Evan M. Brady said:
CHR Hansen is the worlds leading culture house. They are the premier producer of all bacterial cultures not only for meat, but cheese as well. Their food microbiologists produce the most pure strains and blends, on top of being the most consistent. Not every book of salumi and charcuterie touts Bactoferm as being the only culture available (read Francois Vecchio's book). The reason Bactoferm products are in most books are due to all the reasons I just mentioned. The other companies do not offer the unmatched quality Hansen do...
Devo, If you feel a brand loyalty to Chr. Hansen, then stick to it. My dad drove only Fords all his life too. I have owned cars from at least six automakers.

Brady' response was actually to my comment to a Canadian who asked how long Bactoferm cultures will survive in ambient temperatures. Brady certainly has done a lot more research than most of the other posters there and probably more than the authors of the several new books on charcuterie. I don't disagree with Brady about the quality and reliability of Chr. Hansen starter cultures, but I maintain that there are other options out there for hobbyists. Brady also wrote that Danisco cultures are used by Francois Vecchio. This was my reply to Brady's post:
Evan, I agree that Chr. Hansen has pioneered the field, but there are others out there whose products are just as good, if not better. Ford was also first but now there are also other choices. For instance, Sacco has a wider range of Listeria-protective and Listeria-annihilating starter cultures than Chr. Hansen. (unfortunately Sacco is also not available in Canada at this time). As long as a culture has a decent cell count, I would not hesitate in using cultures manufactured by SACCO, Danisco, Gewürzmüller and of course Chr. Hansen. These guys are all in the same league. Cultures sold by Wiberg, RAPS, Van Hees, and Mondostart are not made by them. So I'm not disputing the quality of the Bactoferm products, I'm ticked off at them for not making their products available in Canada. And as far as the authors of the of a number of recent charcuterie books, I really don't trust their judgment or have any faith in the amount of research they did into the cultures they recommend in many recipes. I doubt any of them even bothered to take a lookm at the spec sheets. They don't even understand how much of the frozen culture to add to comminuted products.
Last edited by redzed on Sat Feb 14, 2015 04:32, edited 3 times in total.
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Post by redzed » Sat Feb 14, 2015 04:28

Shuswap wrote: I'd like to know more about how long the product's effectiveness is secured when out of the freezer.
Good question, but I'm sorry to disappoint as there is no absolute answer to it. :lol:
The cultures we buy are freeze dried with 90% of the water removed. Frozen at 18C or lower, different producers tell us that they are good for 1 to 2 years. I used Bactoferm products that went over two years and I still had good fermentation. The great thing about freeze dried cultures is that they are resilient and will not be substantially diminished if the frozen state is interrupted for a short period of time. So that way we can order them through the mail. But exactly how many days, weeks, and at what temperature, no one wants to, or can tell us. I have read numbers like 5 days, 10 days, Igor I think posted here something like a few days but with temps under 20, and so on. Butcher Packer states that the cultures have a shelf life of 14 days when thawed and one year when frozen. So go figure, and they probably sell more of this stuff to hobbyists and small producers than anyone else. The other thing that we don't know is whether the American purveyors of the Chr. Hansen cultures which you crave so much, have them shipped in refrigerated trucks to their own business or by FedEx Ground across the desert? And how long did they sit on the loading dock once they arrived?
Shuswap wrote:I see that Umai says Bactoferm is good in transit for 14 days.
So if you get it on day 13 it will still be good for a year, and if you get it on day 15 it's dead? :shock:
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Post by Devo » Sat Feb 14, 2015 04:52

Devo, If you feel a brand loyalty to Chr. Hansen, then stick to it. My dad drove only Fords all his life too. I have owned cars from at least six automakers.
No where did I say I was loyal to Chr. Hanson, I was only trying to relay information to others who don't follow facebook.
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Post by redzed » Sat Feb 14, 2015 07:52

Hey, I only stated was that if you are comfortable with that particular brand, and I know that you have made numerous products with it over the past few years, and you like results and flavour panel, no reason to change or look for something else. The intent of this whole thread is not to dump on Chr. Hansen and promote substitutes, but provide information about different options to Canadians (and maybe others), so that they can make informed decisions as to what culture to choose. Like me, many of us don't make commercial quantities of fermented sausages, so if we buy one or maybe two sachets of a starter, it will last us a year or more.
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Post by redzed » Sat Feb 28, 2015 10:17

OK, there actually is a supplier/seller of Bactoferm starter cultures in Canada, a Quebec company called Testek. Little consolation however as their prices are obscenely expensive.

http://www.testek.ca/media/mediaclient/page/90.pdf
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