Nitrite only Salami question?

Air dried cured Meat Techniques

Nitrite only Salami question?

Postby ped » Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:14 am

I have noted the ingredients on a salami which I have just bought and am a little confused as to how a salami can be produced with NITRITE only?

Ingredients:
Pork, Salt, Spices, Dextrose, Fennel, Garlic powder, Antioxidant Sodium Ascorbate, Preservative Sodium Nitrite. Made from 160g of pork per 100g of finished product.

Item Details:
Store at less that 6 degrees celsius. Keep refridgerated once opened and consume within 5 days.


Is this possible because there is the curing accelerator Sodium Ascorbate and it must be stored at temp below 6 deg C ? which perhaps indicates that it has been dried (37.5% weight loss) at an accelerated rate in a colder environment than we as home producers might use when curing with cure#2 nitrite/nitrate with temps approx 10-12 deg C and perhaps longer drying/maturing periods

I am assuming that this is the general 'Commercial' way of producing salami as they don't necessarily have the luxury of 'time' and need to get product out as quickly as poss?

By the way, the salami is very good as far as my palate is concerned.
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Re: Nitrite only Salami question?

Postby NCPaul » Thu Apr 28, 2016 10:32 am

You are right that time and temperature are the critical factors. In the thread about fermented snack sticks I used only nitrite and dried them at refrigerator temperatures in under two weeks (which I use as my effective timeframe for nitrite).
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Re: Nitrite only Salami question?

Postby wheels » Thu Apr 28, 2016 1:45 pm

Nitrite's preservative effect continues after it's presence in the product has ended. See section 1.4 of http://www.efsa.europa.eu/sites/default ... nts/14.pdf

However, there is no convincing evidence that the residual amount of nitrite contributes to the microbiological safety of meat products. For example, in meat products containing ascorbate (or isoascorbate / erythorbate) the residual nitrite content is very low and sometimes below the level of detection, yet growth of C. botulinum is prevented.


Also there's some logic in the argument that you only need to protect the product 'chemically' until such time as the pH and Aw are low enough to do the job instead.

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Re: Nitrite only Salami question?

Postby ped » Thu Apr 28, 2016 5:31 pm

Thanks for the input guys

NCPaul your example is of a very small bore stick and I understand that it may not take long to dry even in a fridge but would you consider using just Nitrite on a salami cased in a beef middle 50/55mm in the same environment without ascorbate? and if so, how long would you think it might take for 37% weight loss? Assuming your not using a bit of air circulation to help things along, or would you?

I suppose a simple way of what I'm trying to ask is, why do we need curing chambers and cure#2 if things can be done in a fridge with nitrite and just the addition of ascorbate?
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Re: Nitrite only Salami question?

Postby Swing Swang » Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:42 pm

Thoughts
- curing isn't just about drying the product.
- in the same environment a 55mm casing is going to case harden assuming that you're trying to cure it at circa 3C in a condensing fridge, whereas a small diameter stick with chunky cut meat will dry much more evenly in any environment.
- the curing time to ensure the product is safe with respect to trichinosis is a function of salt content and casing diameter and this will take longer than two weeks, so the need for cure 2
- slowly drying at a higher temperature will favour a different population of bacteria etc which will create a different flavour profile
- of course you can omit both cures and dice with death...
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Re: Nitrite only Salami question?

Postby wheels » Thu Apr 28, 2016 11:12 pm

Swing Swang wrote:Thoughts
- curing isn't just about drying the product.
- in the same environment a 55mm casing is going to case harden assuming that you're trying to cure it at circa 3C in a condensing fridge, whereas a small diameter stick with chunky cut meat will dry much more evenly in any environment.
- the curing time to ensure the product is safe with respect to trichinosis is a function of salt content and casing diameter and this will take longer than two weeks, so the need for cure 2
- slowly drying at a higher temperature will favour a different population of bacteria etc which will create a different flavour profile
- of course you can omit both cures and dice with death...


There's lots of issues raised here and, in the main, I agree with the conclusion that there is a need for cure 2 (or cure 1 plus saltpetre) particularly in a 'home environment'.

However, the question is how a commercial salami could be made with just cure 1 and ascorbate safely. I took that as my terms of reference in my reply above. As a purely academic exercise I note:

The EFSA report leads me to believe that in a controlled environment with appropriate HACCP plan salami can be made safely using just nitrite. Bear in mind that cultures were probably used; I don't think that they have to be declared on the label as they're just a processing aide. I would recommend that everyone reads this report in full a few times and studies some of the test results closely. Some relevant bits I note that refer to this discussion are - in no particular order:

There is no convincing evidence that the residual amount of nitrite contributes to the microbiological safety of meat products. For example, in meat products containing ascorbate (or isoascorbate / erythorbate) the residual nitrite content is very low and sometimes below the level of detection, yet growth of C. botulinum is prevented.


Taken in conjunction with the tests for botulinum toxin that were made on every combination of factors tested, the presence of residual nitrite did not guarantee that the product would prevent growth of C. botulinum. Conversely, the absence of nitrite did not indicate that the product would support the growth of C. botulinum. The products that prevented growth of C. botulinum for the longest time at any storage temperature tested were those containing added ascorbate (or iso-ascorbate), which caused nitrite levels to
decline rapidly and often contained no residual nitrite.


nitrite is not effective in controlling Gram negative enteric pathogens in commercially prepared foods.


Examples are Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Salmonella

The products that prevented growth of C. botulinum for the longest time at any storage temperature tested were those containing added ascorbate (or iso-ascorbate), which caused nitrite levels to decline rapidly and often contained no residual nitrite.


The authors demonstrated that ascorbate, and also cysteine, enhanced the antibotulinum efficacy of nitrite in cured meat by sequestering metal ions in the meat rather than by an anti-oxidative or reducing mechanism.


The safety hurdles to make salami 'shelf stable' can be found here:
http://www.meatsandsausages.com/sausage ... ty-hurdles

This shows that it is by making the salami more acid and reducing the water activity that we protect against most of the undesirable bacteria in our salami. The stated required EU level of an Aw of less than 0.90 is below the level at which C. botulinum will grow.

I'm not aware that any specific treatment for trichinosis is required in the UK, but an abridged version of the US rules can be found here:

http://www.meatsandsausages.com/sausage ... /trichinae

For example a 2.5 inch salami with 3% salt fermented at 26.7C for 48 hours and then dried above 10°C would appear to require 17 days to be safe (I'm surprised it's so short a period?).

The recommended storage temperature is not necessarily an indication of the processing temperature.

The weight loss assuming 80% VL Pork would be nearly 40% and with a lower VL much more.

I'll reiterate, those are just observations for academic discussion. I'm not suggesting for a minute that anybody should abandon the use of nitrate for long term product safety just suggesting how it might be done in a regulated environment with appropriate safety testing etc.

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Re: Nitrite only Salami question?

Postby NCPaul » Fri Apr 29, 2016 10:24 am

My guess is that they are also drying under vacuum to cut their cycle time.
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Re: Nitrite only Salami question?

Postby ped » Fri Apr 29, 2016 1:37 pm

I seem to say it every time but again, thank you Phil. From the relatively naïve hobbyist standpoint I am not cognisant of how the commercials do things, different producers seem to use different practices regarding curing agents (aside from all the other starters, accelerators etc) , i.e. NaNo2/NaNo3, NaNo2/Kno3, and in this case just NaNo2, presumably this may be a reflection of volume of production? and the need for faster/greater turnover perhaps?
NCPaul, thanks also, I was not aware that a process like this exists and only reflects on my lack of knowledge of how things may be done commercially!!, do you know where on the net I could study this process in more depth? (I had a look but didn't find much).
SwingSwang, understood and agree that it is not just about the temp but my original question referred to this particular salami which is being cured with just nitrite (no nitrate) and how it is possible?
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Re: Nitrite only Salami question?

Postby NCPaul » Fri Apr 29, 2016 2:09 pm

I have gone back and read your initial post and realize I had not caught the requirement that the salami is to be refrigerated after opening. This makes me believe that the product is a cooked one and that the moisture level is higher than a true dry cured salami. Vacuum is used on sliced products and you can read about it if you search "Quick-Dry-Slice", sorry for the confusion.
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Re: Nitrite only Salami question?

Postby ped » Fri Apr 29, 2016 2:40 pm

Not cooked NCPaul, just standard salami
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Re: Nitrite only Salami question?

Postby BriCan » Sun May 01, 2016 12:33 am

ped wrote:I have noted the ingredients on a salami which I have just bought and am a little confused as to how a salami can be produced with NITRITE only?


Because they are not listing ingredients as they should -- technical but legal

You have a cure which i believe is called Supercure

Ingredients:
Pork, Salt, Spices, Dextrose, Fennel, Garlic powder, Antioxidant Sodium Ascorbate, Preservative Sodium Nitrite. Made from 160g of pork per 100g of finished product.

Item Details:
Store at less that 6 degrees celsius. Keep refridgerated once opened and consume within 5 days.


Is this possible because there is the curing accelerator Sodium Ascorbate and it must be stored at temp below 6 deg C ?


No, Sodium Ascorbate is also for colour retention. I store all my salame's under refrigeration conditions ... reason; they do not dry out as fast .. that simple

which perhaps indicates that it has been dried (37.5% weight loss) at an accelerated rate in a colder environment than we as home producers might use when curing with cure#2 nitrite/nitrate with temps approx 10-12 deg C and perhaps longer drying/maturing periods


A colder environment slows things down and is impossible to accelerate -- this I do know as I cure/dry in a walk-in cooler that runs at 4 degrees C. with 70% to 75% humidity. A 2.5 inch (60mm/64mm) salame will take me no less than 183 days to approach being anywhere dried .. sometimes they will take 365 days

I am assuming that this is the general 'Commercial' way of producing salami as they don't necessarily have the luxury of 'time' and need to get product out as quickly as poss?

By the way, the salami is very good as far as my palate is concerned.
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Re: Nitrite only Salami question?

Postby BriCan » Sun May 01, 2016 12:54 am

ped wrote:I suppose a simple way of what I'm trying to ask is, why do we need curing chambers and cure#2 if things can be done in a fridge with nitrite and just the addition of ascorbate?


In all honesty .. without starting world war III --- you do not need a curing chamber that is running at 55 degrees F, with humidity at or about 80% -- you can and it is fine ... nothing at all wrong with it -- Salame's was made under these conditions from the start of time -- hence they started there life within the Mediterranean climate and not the English climate

Since the early 2000 I have helped and also produced Salame's for myself under refrigeration at temperatures of 3 degrees C. and humidity of (average) 75% and at the same time using what we know over this side in the trade )Canada) as "All Purpose Curing Salt" which is cure #1 -- You have the equivalent in Supercure

It is a far slower process than using a curing chamber that most use, the big difference is that I end up with a much richer (if that is the right word) tasting product -- It is akin to some cheep wine that has been produced fast to get it on the shelves for sale against a well aged/matured wine that has been left in the cask to build the flavour profile

Six months is normally the shortest any of my salame's take but on average they take around a year
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Re: Nitrite only Salami question?

Postby BriCan » Sun May 01, 2016 1:11 am

Swing Swang wrote:Thoughts
- curing isn't just about drying the product.

Curing "is" about drying the product :)

- in the same environment a 55mm casing is going to case harden assuming that you're trying to cure it at circa 3C in a condensing fridge, whereas a small diameter stick with chunky cut meat will dry much more evenly in any environment.

Again; not so -- I am using 60mm/64mm casings for my salame's and curing/drying in a walk-in cooler that runs at 3C/4C -- to prevent case hardening your humidity needs to be at or around 70% - 75% -- size of the meat has no baring :)

- the curing time to ensure the product is safe with respect to trichinosis is a function of salt content and casing diameter and this will take longer than two weeks, so the need for cure 2


Agree on salt content for trichinosis but disagree on casing diameter as that has no baring normally cure #2 is called for but one can use what you have over your end as know as Supercure
- slowly drying at a higher temperature will favour a different population of bacteria etc which will create a different flavour profile


One cannot slow dry at a higher temperature -- it is the other way around Lower the temperature and thus slow down the drying which will produce a far superior flavour profile everytime -- think of aged cheese as well as wine :)
- of course you can omit both cures and dice with death...


This is true :)
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Re: Nitrite only Salami question?

Postby ped » Sun May 01, 2016 9:08 am

Morning Robert, in what way could the label be misleading?, I am aware of all purpose cure and supersalz which I believe are the same thing, these have both nitrite and nitrate along with salt and as such, if used, would have to be declared, wouldn't they?
I am making an assumption here but I can't imagine that on a commercial basis this producer is slowing down the maturation/drying process in the way you do Robert, his main client is a well known supermarket to which he sells to several of their outlets so turnaround would be the name of the game in this case.
So I revert to my original question, how is this salami produced with only Nitrite (notwithstanding the QDS approach which NCPaul suggested) ?
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Re: Nitrite only Salami question?

Postby wheels » Sun May 01, 2016 1:33 pm

I'm not aware of a UK ready-cure called Supercure. The nearest from a name point of view would be Supracure. However, unless the formulation has been changed recently it contains both nitrite and nitrate.

Scobies do a nitrite only cure, but I don't see how anyone can tell from the ingredients list who supplied the cure?

ped wrote:So I revert to my original question, how is this salami produced with only Nitrite (notwithstanding the QDS approach which NCPaul suggested) ?


I think that the answer may lie in the info and link that I posted. The salami is (ultimately) made safe by lowered pH and Aw. The nitrite protects in the short-term until this is achieved. The EFSA scientists note that the nitrite continues to protect the meat even after it has been reduced, and that ascorbate enhanced the antibotulinum efficacy of nitrite in cured meat by sequestering metal ions in the meat. Whilst it will take time to fully dry, the acidification of the meat will occur at a fairly early stage. So, in theory (and as far as I'm concerned, only in theory!) the meat's protected throughout the whole process. I guess that the storage below 6°C is to 'cover their back-sides'.

FWIW, that's my take on it. The question it begs is why would they want to do it without nitrate?
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