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Because of the special importance of The Microbiology of Foods in relation to what is striking this planet now—and will be increasing in frequency and ferocity, and the globalization of food and what it brings with it: foodborne illness, this document will be rather lengthy and divided into several sections, to be published over succeeding months.
Of major importance, throughout all this Chaos and Confusion coming, one wants to keep his health in good shape; and, if possible, improve his health. Of primary importance, one needs to know and understand something of the nature of the microbiology of foods and how to keep microorganisms under control. Food will, once more in man's history on earth, become of prime concern in having it. The food he comes by in the immediate and ongoing future demands that it be wholesome, nutritious, and relatively free of pathogenic microorganisms. If not, health will deteriorate and be difficult to maintain. We are now moving into a period modern man has never before experienced.
Up to the present, for at least the past 150 years, food became more and more easily obtained and various government bodies came into operation for judging its safety by passing laws to make food more healthy and relatively free of harmful disease producing microbes. But, some things are breaking down as more and more foodborne illnesses are being reported periodically, such as contaminated ground meat with salmonella and Escherichia coli. And we must not leave out Clostridium botulinum, the microbe that produces a neurotoxin. All are on the increase, it appears. They are making, or will be making, their debut as emerging viruses and diseases. But, when push come to shove, these diseases will present themselves as never before because people do not know how to take care of themselves, nor what to do in food preparation, and on reheating foods.
This globalization of foodstuffs such that we can have out–of–season fruits and vegetables not only has brought us more food, but, it appears more foodborne illness. Ground meat, unless ground before your eyes from one cow, generally is produced from 300 to 500 animals from all over the world. Do not get taken in by the words Organic Produce and Meat. China has now entered the so–called "health food industry."
When we speak of food, we also are speaking of potable (drinkable) water.
As more and more people populate the land and as food supplies are strained to feed all the masses and are now beginning to diminish...you won't become fully aware of this until 2011...and as potable water diminishes for crop growing, and as the weather becomes more inclement, and as the emerging viruses and diseases against food and man increase, it is now imperative that one understands something of The Microbiology of Foods.
This projects into water purification and sterilization of foodstuffs.
What Microbes Need
Microorganisms need the following to have viability:
Water (a source for much confusion for those who store Freeze Dried Foods; will explain later).
A neutral pH or a pH that is only slightly acidic.
Food has plenty of organic matter. Water is in sufficient quantity, at least 18 to 20 % of most foods, for microorganisms to grow. Water is necessary for life. Thus, moist food is a prerequisite for bacteria to grow. However, it is this last statement in which many who store freeze dried foods or dehydrated foods may come to grips with a problem they have not considered when rehydrating such foods.
Microogranisms do not tend to grow in dry foods such as beans, flour, and rice. But, if the rice is whole–grain, and exposed to an ambient environment that is not a desert, the fat in the grains can be attacked by microbes and cause oxidation resulting in rancidity. The oxygen in the atmosphere can also eventually bind with the such oils creating rancidity.
The pH in most foods is either neutral or slightly acidic. We make use of this fact in home canning of low–acid foods such as certain vegetables and meat, by adding standardized bottled lemon juice when doing a hot water bath canning on low acid vegetables. If one is "putting up" certain vegetables and meat, this food is pressure canned at 240 degrees psi for a predetermined time, such as 90 minutes for boned meats.
Most foods' pH's fall into the slightly acidic range. And many bacterial species proliferate at this range. Still, we're not out of danger in an acidic pH of 5.0 or lower. Molds are acid–loving and tend to grow well in this acid medium, whereas most bacteria won't. For instance, consider the following:
There are physical and chemical methods of preserving foods. Salts and sugars use osmotic pressure. This is a physical means of preservation. Chemical methods affect cell structures inhibiting metabolism of the microorganism. Sugars and salts when acting as preservatives, create an osmotic pressure, drying out the microbes thereby inhibiting growth. The cell structures of the microbes are not directly affected, neither is the microbe's metabolism.
Jams and jellies are preserved with sugars; meats with salt. The principle involved, osmotic pressure, is the same, the microbes, for the most part shrivel and die; however, some do not die immediately—they are like being in suspended animation. Some do die! Others may just shrivel up and wait for rehydration and come back to "fight" you another day. That day is when they are "plumped–up" with rehydration and therefore become viable again.
But, here's the difficulty. Molds are more capable of growth in higher osmotic pressure than bacteria. This is known as a hypertonic environment. The mold cell wall is capable of withstanding high osmotic pressure—bacteria cannot, they lose their "life juices." This is how penicillium mold survives, when found, for instance, in jelly. Jelly is 50% sucrose, or table sugar.
If one has an allergy to penicillin antibiotic, this can be a cause for concern. Some have actually had life–threatning responses to having eaten a jam or jelly with mold that turned out to be penicillium mold, whereby penicillin antibiotic comes from.
Molds and yeast are fungi. They grow as filimentous, silken threads. They intermingle and appear as fuzz growing on acid foods, such as fruits, jams, and jellies. Their cell walls can withstand the high osmotic pressures here.The acids in these foods protect against bacteria, but molds have an affinity toward acids, and thereby grow profusely in this medium. These two things make for survival of molds and yeast: Strong cell walls that withstand high osmotic pressures and an affinity toward an acid medium.
Molds and yeast are everywhere, and ever present. In the past, if mold was growing on a fruit or starch, it was brushed off, washed, opened up, and if it had "tentacles" down into the product, the mold was cut out, discarded, and the product eaten. The same with moldy cheese.
This practice is no longer advisable. At the time these practices were done, it was comparatively felt that molds were for the most part harmless. We know more now. Molds may have produced mycotoxins, which are harmful to eat. Some molds can cause some of our most powerful cancers.
If you have an orange or satsuma tree in your garden, keep in mind an intact orange rind means on a fresh fruit—no mold. But, if the rind is breached (badly bruised or just slightly opened during picking), mold, again, everywhere present, can gain entry into the orange. It behooves one to wash such fruit, dry and place in the refrigerator.
If foodstuffs are definitely in short shrift, your WebMasters advise to sterilize the product by cooking in a pressure cooker for 5 to 10 minutes or more, depending upon the item considered to ingest. Boiling may be used, but if certain bacterial spores also have contaminated the product due to unsanitary handling, don't boil—pressure cook.
Boiling is not sterilization, though many books write as if it is. Sterilization is the destruction of all life forms. Boiling does not destroy all life forms! Pressure cooking at 15 psi is sterilization when done for at least 15 minutes. This is analogous to autoclaving, which denatures protein (unravels it), thus causing inhibition of the microbe's
metabolism or its protein toxin it produces. In this latter process, all vegetative cells and the endospores they generate, are killed. The 250 degrees F (249.8 degrees F; 121 degrees C) temperature required for this can only be achieved in autoclaving or pressure cooking for Botulinus endospores. These spores germinate and cause botulism. The toxin produced can be denatured; and hence, destroyed, by boiling for 10 minutes. It is best to boil meats, fish, and fowl for at least 20 minutes. Your WebMasters recommend 30 minutes boiling time. But remember! The spores must be pressure cooked as given for at least 15 minutes.
But, be advised: Endotoxins (not exotoxins) produced by gram–negative bacteria can take the heat (steam pressure) from autoclaving (or pressure cooking) for up to 1 hour. This is a temperature of 15 lbs pressure at 250 degrees F.
You want to be careful of someone serving food who is sniffling. Their nose may be full of Staphylococcus aureus and contaminating your lunch. They may show no signs whatsoever. Also, they may have uncovered boils or abcesses on their skin and be shedding contamination into the food being served. S. aureus indicates human contamination.
Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxin (affects the intestines) is not destroyed by just boiling. The bacteria, S. aureus, produces an exotoxin that will not be destroyed by boiling for 30 minutes at 212 degrees F. Therefore, do not just heat and serve, if you are suspicious of the food. Boil for more than 30 minutes. The bacteria that produces the toxin will be destroyed when food containing S. aureus is only reheated, but not the exotoxin.
Be suspicious where ever you eat if the food handlers or servers display upper respiratory symptoms. S. aureus creates quite a diarrhea. This bacterium contaminates meats, fish, pastries that are cream-filled, dairy products, and salads, including egg salad, as well as ham. The ham is particularly susceptible because staphylococci are very tolerant of salt.
This bacterial species grows well under low moisture and high osmotic pressure of salt, sugars, etc., which, in part, explains why they grow well in secretions of the nose. Unaware, many humans carry staphylococci on their skin and in the mucus membranes of the nose. Low moisture and high osmotic pressure explains why this species can grow well in cured meats and ham. Low moisture in foods inhibits other bacteria, but not staphylococci species. Its yellow pigment may help in protecting it against sunlight.
S. aureus produces a number of toxins. It's a problem in hospitals, responsible for toxic shock syndrome, and when ingested in food, causes an enterotoxin resulting in vomiting and nausea. It is a common food borne poisoning. Being a common contaminant of the nose, it often causes lesions on the hands and skin. From here, it can readily enter food.
One must be careful in food preparation and in home canning, also in serving food. Just cooking food can eliminate most bacterial spp. (species). Here's the problem: Competitive inhibition from other bacterial spp. is eliminated and S. aureus then has a free rein in growth in the food that is heated but not boiled for 30 minutes. Also, note this, if , as in home canning, a higher osmotic pressure than normal is induced by salting; or, a relatively low moisture level is present, then S. aureus may well outgrow most competing bacteria with these conditions present.
Be careful of your own home canned foods. And, if you do not can, but are given some home canned goods, bring to a boil for more than 30 minutes before eating!
If you handle poultry products and allow them to stand at room temperature for a short while, be wary. S. aureus may be an uninvited guest. Now, this is something that most are unaware of, but it is in various textbooks on the subject. Because of the large number of microbes in hamburger meat, S. aureus is often not a factor in this form of food borne illness. S. aureus doe not compete well with the large supply of microbes contained in ground meat. We were just told something: Hamburger meat has a large assortment of microorganisms in it.
Do not cook any meat, especially chicken and ground meat, to where it is pink in the center, or has pink juices flowing out of it. It is now too dangerous. S. aureus does not betray itself. It gives no clue to its presence. It causes no obvious signs of spoilage when growing in foods. There are always problems when trying to detect its presence in food.
Food poisoning often presents with malaise, abdominal cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. Fever is often present. Blood invasion may be present in some. Diarrhea in children could be fatal. It should be countered with oral rehydration formula. Have some on hand, such as Pedialyte; however, we feel there is not enough buffer. So, add a pinch of baking soda to the drink for your child. In addition, it would be wise to have a box with the Easy Oral Rehydration ingredients in it and ready to mix in a moment's notice, if dysentery (blood or mucus in the stool) or cholera present from bad drinking water:
Easy Oral Rehydration Formula
1 quart (1 liter=1.057 qts) drinking water.
3 tablespoons sugar (table sugar) or glucose. Sugar delays gastric emptying and thus, it takes longer for water to get into the body to the tissues. Use sugar or glucose for cholera. Glucose for dehydration from sweat loss. Glucose works faster as does maltodextrin. Get glucose at your local pharmacy.
1/2 teaspoon salt (common table salt).
1/2 teaspoon salt substitute (potassium chloride).
1 teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), if severe diarrhea is present or cholera.
...And From The Bob Livingston Letter...
Saving Someone's Life From Dehydration
One of the greatest tragedies of survival medicine is dehydration: That's because severe dehydration can often be fatal and yet it is one thing that trained medical personnel can easily treat. As a result, the layman without a doctor or hospital available must learn how to cope with dehydration.
Severe dehydration can be recognized by dry skin and eyes, no sweating or urination, sunken eyes, fever, rapid heartbeat, and low blood pressure. The secret is tiny amounts of fluid frequently. In an emergency, and assuming a patient can drink, you can make your own oral rehydration solution by mixing 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon banking soda, 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 liter (about 1 quart) of safe drinking water.
If a patient is unconscious and you do not have (or know how to use) an I.V. drop, you can use a simple field technique for providing emergency hydration for an unconscious person. Known as rectal fluid resuscitation, it involves carefully inserting a thin plastic tube in the patient's rectum and then slowly dripping about 8 ounces of fluid (a cup) over a period of 15 to 20 minutes. This can be repeated every four hours. In the right circumstances, it can save someone's life.
With the globalization of foods now, food is going to get pretty nasty—but look pretty good! Keep this in mind when you buy fruits and vegetables now. Other countries are not as stringent in their food safety laws and the U.S. However, even with all the safe guards in place, our food chain is becoming more contaminated.
Please note that at higher altitudes, "the atmospheric pressure is less, a phenomenon that must be taken into account in operating an autoclave," or pressure cooker, or a pressure cooker/canner. "For example, to reach sterilizing temperatures (121 degrees C) in Denver, Colorado, whose altitude is 5280 feet (1600 meters), the pressure shown on the autoclave gauge would need to be higher than the 15 psi ...." — Microbiology: An Introduction, Tenth Edition, Tortora, Funke, and Case, 2010.
Pressure Altitude Adjustments
Use The "Altitude Adjustments For Canning" In Your Pressure Cooker/Canner Manuel For Minutes To Process at Weighted Gauge/Dial Gauge. The Minutes Vary According To The Altitude For PSI Given. (Home pressure cookers are not manufactured to withstand pressures much higher than 15 psi. For this reason, at higher altitudes you should process foods at 15 psi and adjust the amount of time you process the foods per manual instructions.)Ball Blue Book Guide To Preserving Writes:
Altitude In Feet
0 to 1,000
1,000 to 2,000
2,000 to 4,000
4,001 to 6,000
6,001 to 8,000
8,001 to 10,000
However, though boiling is not sterilization, yeast and molds are quickly destroyed between 1400 and 1900F. Boiling water only heats food to 2120F. This is generally sufficient to kill molds and yeast but not destroy the flavor or quality of the product.
When food is not readily available, remove as above, the fungi (mold and yeast). If a pressure cooker is not available, then boil the food that has had the fungi removed for least 10 to 30 minutes. If cheese is cleansed in the above manner, then "sterilize" it by cutting it up into chunks and reserve. Take a heavy sauce pan, mix flour with milk making a watery solution, and place the cheese into the pan. Heat on medium , stirring constantly, combining cheese, flour, milk. Bring to a simmer (very light rolling boil), continuously stirring, adjusting heat as necessary, to form an elegant cheese sauce.
If you have prepared with butter powder, reconstitute per directions, place in sauce pan on low heat, melt and add 2 to 3 tablespoons flour; stir and before the butter browns, quickly add 1–2 cups of reconstituted milk. Follow directions immediately above for velvety cheese sauce.
As nature turns more harsh, we will suffer more consequences on this planet. One will need to know something of the Microbiology of Foods, as our foods may not have the refrigeration necessary to preserve them. Food production and shipments may become highly sporadic. Different areas in the land where you live will be vying for those foodstuffs. The result: extremely high prices, if your region gets the shipments.
Brigands will abound everywhere. They will hijack food trucks and those deliveries will never reach their destinations in various parts of the country. The Brigands will purloin, in the dead of night, the products of the few farms left, such that agribusiness will have to hire armed guards to stand watch. This will make the already exhorbitantly high prices for foods even higher.
The Brigands will hijack your meager supplies, if you are not prepared to defend them. Remember! Your WebMasters have said many times in previous issues of ChemBio Updates, the time is coming when:
This is why you want to form a covenant community to help protect you and you them.
You want to be protected against Brigands marauding the following:
And, you should have your storage items spread around. Some can be in a Food Storage shed, such as this one:
Keep in mind, some of the Brigands are some of God's smallest creatures — microorganisms. You do not want to be able not to buy food, but, if you can't, then; go to your preparations, and discover some brigand microbe has already gotten there; or, later discover he has been there sitting, waiting for you to plump him out and then YOU are what's for dinner!
Probably, early humans did not have as big a problem with food spoilage as modern man. Microbes existed and still caused spoilage. But the food was generally consumed per meal and little to nothing left over. Then, the hunt for more food began. In fact, primitive man spent most of his time looking for and gathering food.
As this early man later learned, when they gathered more food than they could consume at one meal, it spoiled. As time went on and man learned to produce more food than he could consume, food spoilage occurred. It was discovered that this food, when spoiled, had an off–taste, an off–smell, and looked different, and quite often made them sick. This is the definition of Food Spoilage: The alteration of food from its expected appearance or form. In many instances, it is not evident that the food has spoiled. This may occur when staphylococci has enterotoxins (that which affect the intestines first) in food. Also, if the number of microbes are too small to make its presence known from the food itself, but once ingested, then grow and multiply into large numbers causing illness, if body defenses do not overcome it first, as may be in the case of elderly, the young, or immune compromised individuals.
Hence, this is why the writers of this document caution, When The Hell Breaks, it behooves one to know the following topic if eating home canned foods, and for commercially canned foods. Problems may exist in the cans that are not made manifest until 1 to 6 hours or more from the eating of such foodstuffs, as the microbial contamination had time to build up in numbers to cause problems. Certain poisons will not be overcome by the immune system, such as the toxin of Clostridium botulinum. This is a neurotoxin. Dr. Alcamo in his textbooks, Fundamentals of Microbiology, writes:
"The symptoms of botulism develop within hours. Patients suffer blurred vision, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing and chewing, and labored breathing. The limbs lose their tone and become flabby, a condition called flaccid paralysis.
The symptoms result from a complex process in which the toxin penetrates the ends of nerve cells and inhibits the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine into the junctions between nerves and muscles. Without acetylcholine, nerve impulses cannot pass into the muscles, and the muscles do not contract. Failure of the diaphragm and rib muscles to function leads to respiratory paralysis and death within a day or two."
"The picture shows a six month old suffering extreme flaccid paralysis produced by botulinum toxin. Note the lack of muscle tone, especially at the neck."—Nursing CE.
If such an individual stricken with botulism does not get "large doses of specific antibodies called antitoxins" to neutralize the botulinus toxin, he will die. "Life–support systems such as respirators are also utilized" to support the patient during treatment. This should always be suspect when nothing has been done by the patient to elicit such symptoms.
One can avoid botulism by heating foods to 90° C (about 194° F) for 10 minutes. The exotoxin is denatured by heat, thus destroying it. Most outbreaks of such a foodborne intoxication (poisoning), experience demonstrates, occur when food is eaten cold or just tasted. The exotoxin of botulism is so powerful that that one ounce could kill every person in the United States. A pint of the pure stuff could slate–wipe the world. That is, the entire world would be eliminated.
Botulism gets its name for its shape. It is derived from Latin botulus, for "sausage."
Today, preservation of food is extremely important since man cannot consume more than he produces. Various methods of preserving food used today were undoubtedly discovered by accident throughout the centuries man has been on earth.
Early man noticed that fish that had been in salt water and the water evaporated did not spoil as easily as fish not "salted." The same was noticed with meat. Meat that had accidently been dried or dehydrated, did not decay or rot. Nomads that followed the herds for milk must have noticed that milk that soured was still palatable and resisted further degradation. This was due to the acid condition produced in the souring of milk. Some peoples discovered cheesemaking through all this. If the milk was allowed to sour, not only did it not spoil any further for awhile and was still drinkable, but if they pressed out the fluid from the solids (curd) of the milk, removing the liquid portion; and set the curd aside for a time, it ripened and preserved for a time longer, and still tasted good. Thus, a new food was created, cheese.
This early man learned through experience if vegetables were dried, they kept longer. And if meat and fish were cut into strips and left in the sun and dried there, spoilage was greatly reduced and the strips of meat and fish could be eaten months later, as long as it was kept dry. This man learned that by drying, salting, and fermenting foods, they kept their nutritious quality as spoilage was reduced considerably. This allowed him to move from the rivers and coastal areas and go inland to explore, as well over seas and oceans to different lands.
The principles modern man uses to preserve food are an extension of these early methods by controlling heat, moisture, air (oxygen) and pH environment.
Throughout this time, man began to domesticate birds (fowl), herds of meat animals, and raised gardens that grew into fields of grains and vegetables. He learned that if the grains he raised were kept dry, mold did not attack them. He learned about root cellars for onions, tubers, and other things so he could eat during the hard cold seasons.
Basically, without science, he was learning that moisture can cause decay. Adjusting the pH downward (acid) would preserve certain foods for more than a day or so. He also learned that warmth and heat can hasten decay, as modern man knows today. But, heat can also, he later learned, help sterilize the foods he ate by boiling and during Napoleon Bonaparte's time, the canning process was discovered by winemaker, Nicholas Appert.
The Conditions for Spoilage are (1) Water, (2) pH (slightly acidic for most foods and bacteria survive and multiply at this range), (3) Physical Structure (dense structures resist microorganism penetration, such as whole meat versus ground meat). If a food is mainly carbohydrate, there are microorganisms that use starch. Others are decomposers of protein. Corn, potatoes, and rice are attacked by mold, if moisture is plentiful. These latter represent (4) Chemical Composition of foods that favor different microbes. Included with these spoilage conditions are (5) Oxygen and Temperature.
Food is contaminated, which man did not realize until Koch and Pasteur, by germs. However, a variety of sources cause this: Air–borne: vegetables and fruits have microbes which are ever present, fall onto the foods. Soil–borne: bacteria and other microbes can be carried to the plants that process them...and on to man. Shellfish are bottom feeders and filter their food through filtering mechanisms trapping the microbes; then, transmitting disease when improperly cleaned and cooked. Arthropods and rodents carry microbes on their body and their feet and deposit the organisms over the food that they traverse.
A very big source of food contamination is the handling of food by humans, such as salads; and animal carcases not properly handled, contaminating the meat with intestinal contents.
Some Instructions For Home Canning
Cooking & Canning With The All American Pressure Cooker/Canner writes in their manual the following:
Safety Tips For Home Canning
Home food preservation must be done with care to protect the quality and safety of the food. Jars or cans containing low–acid foods such as vegetables, meats, poultry and seafood must always be processed under pressure to prevent spoilage or food poisoning. The bacteria which cause botulism, a severe and potentially fatal form of food poisoning, are not killed by using the hot water bath canning process. Low–acid foods must be processed under pressure at a temperature of 2400 F (115.50C) for the full recommended period of time.
To ensure the safety of the foods you process at home, follow these precautions:
Use only fresh food products.
Keep all work surfaces, food and equipment clean.
Make sure the pressure canner is in good working condition and that the steam pressure guage is reading accurately.
Pack and close food containers correctly.
Process food at the recommended time and pressure.
Test seals after cooling containers.
Store canned foods in a cool, dry place.
Commentary by Chef Charles:Lack of this knowledge is going to cause much gnashing of teeth and probably will take many out!
All canned foods should be carefully inspected before use. As an added safety precaution, boil low–acid foods in an open pan before eating. (Boil meats, poultry, seafood, corn and spinach for 20 minutes; other vegetables, 10 minutes.) This will destroy the botulism toxin, should any be present.
To ensure the safety of home–canned fish, insert a meat thermometer in the can or jar with the tip at the center of the fish. Cover loosely with foil and heat in a 3500F (1800C) oven until the thermometer registers 1850F (850)C. Let container stand at room temperature for 30 minutes until temperature is uniform throughout.
Don't ever taste food which you suspect to be spoiled. Never take a chance on slightly off food. Discard it.
An incident occured when one college student cooked a soup and let it sit on the stove for hours and cool, as he went back to classes. One roommate came in and smelled it, but didn't taste it. Another came in, tasted it without reheating it to a boil for ten minutes, and hours later had a life threatening attack of botulism and needed antitoxin to save his life.
Don't taste food you are not sure of; or, has not been boiled for at least 10 minutes.
Immediately destroy any canned product you suspect has spoiled. Dispose of it where it won't be eaten by humans or animals. Discard the product if:
The ends of the can are bulged or the seal on the jar is broken (test each can or jar by pressing the ends or lip; they should not bulge or snap back);
The product contains gas bubbles or foam, or liquid squirts out when can or jar is opened;
Product looks soft, mushy, slimy, or moldy or, in the case of meat, off–color;
Product smells spoiled when boiled (heat brings out the characteristic odor of spoiled food).
Another reason to boil food When The Hell Breaks.
Some Causes Of Spoilage
Any bulging can or can with a loose seal should be considered suspicious. Bulging is due to carbon dioxide gas produced from fermentation, although other bad smelling gases may be mixed with it. Fermentation comes from undercooking or from the introduction of air through a leak. The product will smell sour, appear soft and discolored, and have an offensive odor.
There is nothing about the outside appearance of a can to suggest flat sour spoilage. Flat sour food is typically soft and mushy, although it may sometimes appear firm. Flat sour foods smell and taste sour, a result of organisms (thermophiles), which develop best at lukewarm temperatures. To avoid flat sour spoilage, follow through processing times and temperatures, and work quickly while canning to avoid holding foods at lukewarm temperature.
Corn, peas, green beans, greens and asparagus are prone to flat sour spoilage. To avoid flat sour, follow these tips:
Can only fresh products. The flat sour germs may develop before the product is canned and all the cooking in the world won't destroy the sour flavor after it has developed. Two hours from the garden to jar is a good rule of thumb.
Don't let pre–heated or scalded products stand at lukewarm temperature. Get them into the can quickly and have them as hot as possible when they're put into the cans.
Have the water boiling to avoid waiting too long for the temperature to come up after the cans are packed in the cooker.
Don't try to can too much in one cooking.
Keep burner at a relatively high temperature.
Don't let cans stand after being packed or before putting them into the cooker.
Don't pack cans too tightly; this ensures the heat will get to the center of the can.
Cool quickly. Don't stack cans while cooling.
Store in a cool place.
This rarely occurs alone in canned food but is found in connection with other spoilage. A rank cheesy odor is typical of botulism in its well–developed stage. Discard without opening all canned foods which show any signs of spoilage. This will minimize the risk of botulism poisoning, although the presence of this spoilage cannot always be determined by the appearance or odor of the food.
Botulinus spores are found in the soil, so thorough washing of all soil–contaminated products is a good precaution. Be careful not to under process. Don't pack foods too tightly. Get the heat to the center of the can.
If you have too much spoilage, there is something wrong with your processing method.
Evaporation And Boiling
The importance of understanding this will make manifest in a few years, if not in the immediate future; ergo, this information, from Graphic Survey of Physics by Taffel; Oxford Book Company, is given now and can be applied in the present, as our societal standards degenerate:
A wet floor will dry up after a time. We say, then, that the water has evaporated from it. By this we mean that the water has turned from a liquid to a gas or vapor.
Evaporation is the result of the fact that some of the molecules at the surface of a liquid have enough kinetic energy to escape from the main body of the liquid. When a liquid is heated, its molecules move faster and faster, so that more of them are able to leave its surface and escape into the air.
With continued heating, a temperature is reached at which not only the molecules at the surface of the liquid but also those within the liquid have enough kinetic energy to escape as vapor. Bubbles of vapor will then form throughout the liquid, and the liquid will boil.
The temperature at which this occurs is called the boiling point of the liquid. For example, water boils at 100° C., ether boils at 25° C., and mercury boils at 357° C.
Evaporation is distinguished from boiling in two ways.
While evaporation, to a greater or lesser extent, takes place at any temperature, boiling occurs only at the boiling point.
While evaporation takes place only at the surface of the liquid, boiling takes place throughout the entire liquid.
Conditions Affecting Evaporation
The rate at which a liquid evaporates depends, in part, on the nature of the liquid itself. Thus, alcohol, chloroform, and ether evaporate much more readily than water. Regardless of the readiness with which a liquid evaporates, there are four ways in which its evaporation may be aided.
By adding heat. When heat is added to a liquid, its molecules become more active, and therefore can leave the surface more easily.
By spreading the liquid over a wider area. In this way, more molecules are brought to the surface, so that more of them have a chance to escape.
By decreasing the pressure upon the liquid. The air (or other medium) above a liquid offers opposition to the escape of the evaporating molecules. Thus, if the pressure is decreased, the molecules can escape more easily.
By steadily replacing the moisture–laden air above the liquid with dry air. This can be done by fanning or blowing dry air over the surface of the liquid. In this way, we prevent the molecules that have already evaporated into the air from falling back into the liquid.
Effect of Pressure on The Boiling Point
We have seen that the vapor molecules which escape from a liquid must do so against the pressure of the air or other gas above the liquid. Therefore, it is relatively hard for a molecule to leave a liquid when this pressure is high, and easier when this pressure is low.
Thus, we can draw the following conclusions in regard to pressure and boiling.
When the pressure upon a liquid is increased,
its boiling point is raised.
When the pressure upon a liquid is decreased its boiling point is lowered.
These two facts may be demonstrated by the following experiments.
Effect of High Pressure.
Place some water in a pressure cooker and then clamp on the lid. When the water is heated, the steam which is formed cannot escape. This steam and the hot confined air therefore exert a pressure on the surface of the water.This can be read from the gauge on the lid, while the thermometer indicates the temperature of the water within.
As more heat is added, it will be noted that the pressure increases and temperature of the boiling water in the cooker rises above 100° C.
Effect of Low Pressure.
A flask is half filled with water, and then closed by means of a two–hole stopper. Through one of these holes a thermometer extends so that its bulb is in the liquid. Through the other hole is a bent outlet tube. The water is heated until its temperature is about 80° C. By connecting the outlet tube to a vacuum pump, the air in the flask is gradually removed, thus reducing the pressure upon the water.
The water will soon be seen to boil, although the thermometer shows that its temperature is somewhat below 80° C.
Applications of Boiling Under High Pressure
Stream is obtained at much higher temperatures than 100° C. by boiling water in high–pressure boilers. When the gauge of such a boiler reads 131 pounds per square inch, the steam and water in it are at a temperature of 180° C.
At high altitudes, the air pressure is low, so that water will boil at temperatures below 100° C. In some cases, these boiling points are so low that food cannot be properly cooked (WebMaster's Emphasis).
Even at sea level or low altitudes, many housewives prefer to do their daily cooking with pressure cookers because food can be prepared more rapidly with the high temperatures attainable in these devices.
WebMaster's Comment: Food and water can be sterilized also, if contaminated by chance.
Therefore, if an object is contaminated, say with feces or blood, and one is at high altitude, and boiling water is used to decontaminate, first remove blood and feces traces from contaminated article and boil for 30 or more minutes. At altitudes that are higher than 0 to 1,000 feet, boiling time should be increased, as it will take longer to compensate for the lower water boiling point to do the decontaminating. The reason is because as altitude increases, the atmospheric pressure decreases, and the boiling point of water decreases. To compensate for the lower boiling point of water, the cooking time must be increased.
If using a pressure cooker, then recall that when you hear/read the gauges and/or dials (temperature & pressure) at boiling, they are boiling at a lower temperature and pressure. At higher altitude, when using a pressure cooker with a weighted gauge or pressure dial, you will have to go to higher weighted gauge or pressure dial setting per instructions of your manual. Or using the same settings but increase the time you pressure cook.
See the following:
At high altitudes, the pressure cooker is an essential kitchen tool. By cooking under pressure you are in effect increasing the atmospheric pressure and therefore, increasing the boiling temperature of water. Food will cook faster and more thoroughly.
Pressure cookers come with one or more pre-set weighted gauges. If your pressure cooker only comes with one weighted gauge, you will need to increase the cooking time to account for the lower cooking temperature at higher altitudes. If the pressure cooker has more than one weight, you may be able to make the needed adjustment by using the higher weight. Be sure to follow the directions that come with the pressure cooker for making altitude adjustments for the type of pressure cooker you are using. If there are no recommendations for altitude adjustment, contact the manufacturer directly.
To prevent water evaporation, once the desired pressure is reached on the pressure cooker, the heat can be reduced. Regulate the heat under the pressure cooker to maintain a steady pressure at, or slightly above, the correct gauge pressure. Check the manufacturer's directions for maintaining pressure.
Pressure Cooking at Higher Altitudes:
(1) Consult your manual:
"Using the process time for canning food at sea level may result in spoilage if you live at altitudes of 1,000 feet or more. Water boils at lower temperatures as altitude increases. Lower boiling temperatures are less effective for killing bacteria. Increasing the process time or canner pressure compensates for lower boiling temperatures. Therefore, when you use the guides, select the proper processing time or canner pressure for the altitude where you live. If you do not know the altitude, contact your local county Extension agent. An alternative source of information would be the local district conservationist with the Soil Conservation Service."
Problem With Owning A Pressure Cooker:
We have heard from many who have purchased pressure cookers and have not read the manual nor started practicing with their cooker. Practice time is getting really late! Several subscribers bought an aluminum pressure cooker—not stainless steel, as advised—did a quick pressure release under cold water and cracked their new pressure cooker, ruining it.
The manual said not to do that for aluminum cookers. This fact was discovered after the fact.
Heat Seeking Missiles In The Offing ?
These missiles are very small and clever. They have a heat–enduring sensor and are heat–loving. High heat does not destroy them. These missiles have a name. They are known as Thermoduric, for heat–enduring, and Thermophillic for heat–loving, and they are zeroing in on your heat.
These missiles have been unleashed for billions of years. They are bacteria that often survive the heat of pasturization and may survive the heat of modern canning operations that occur at 121° C (250° F). Modern canning may go lower according to the pH, density, and the rate of penetration by heat into foods.
When milk becomes spoiled in the refrigerator, it is because of thermoduric bacteria that survived the pasturization process. When 20,000,000 bacteria of Streptococcus lactis, in one mililiter of milk is reached, the milk is spoiled. Their numbers grow slowly in the cool environment. They grow from 60° C to 70° C. The minimum growth temperature is 40° C and the maximum is about 72° C. The best optimum temperature for growth is around 60° C (+/-1 to 2 ° C).
Thermoduric bacteria generally cause no human disease because the human body temperature is 37° C. However, what if one is sick with a high fever and is fed food or milk that contains these bacteria? The heat–loving bacteria are given the temperature to grow well at in a high fever and the patient becomes sicker, if he hasn't already succumbed from the high fever.
Thermophilic bacteria have endospores that are more resistant to the temperature that is used to kill C. botulinum. But, they remain dormant at temperatures lower than 45° C. The body temperature is lower than this. Also, spoilage does not present a problem for these microbes at normal storage temperatures.
Canned Food Spoilage
But, when canned foods are incubated at higher temperatures, as in the back of a pick–up truck; delivery truck, or stored next to a radiator or heat source in the home or supermarket warehouse, the thermophillic microbials often survive commericial sterilization, germinate, grow and have now become active and are no longer dormant.
Thermophilic spoilage caused by anaerobic bacteria is a common form of spoilage in canned foods that are low–acid. Gas generated by this bacteria causes the can to swell or bulge, and the food will taste sour, due to its lower pH, and have a noxious or foul odor. Various Clostridium species do this, but when the canned good(s) do not bulge because gas is not produced, then thermophilic spoilage is termed flat–sour. Geobacillus stearothermophilus organisms cause this by reacting on the starch and sugars in the food from the can.
When cans are stored at greater than regular temperatures, both types of spoilage can occur: The bulge and the flat–sour. This occurs because the higher than normal ambient temperature allows the bacterial endospores to germinate and grow into vegetative (taking in nourishment) forms.
Bacteria may be in the can that is not of the thermoduric type. There may be moderate temperature loving microbes, known as mesophilic bacteria. They can spoil canned goods just as easily. These bacteria get into the cans by virtue of the fact that the can may have a hole in it; that is, the seal(s) were not crimped securely. The cans are processed by heat, then cooled with a spray or water bath. As the can passes through the cooling vat of water, the cooling can's contents shrink creating a vacuum inside the can. The water in the trough is sucked into the cooling vacuum space in the can, and this water is not sterile, thus sucking contaminated water into the can, past the sealant that has been softened by the heat processing and the poor crimp. Thus, mesophilic bacteria enter into the can.
Cannery cooling waters do have sanitizers in them. Generally they are of the halogen type, for example, chlorine. The halogens are disinfectants, not sterilizers. A disinfectant is intended to reduce counts of microbes to safe levels for the public and lessen the chances of transmission of diseases. A disinfectant does not kill them all. Examples are common household bleach (Clorox), iodine, and Lysol.
The above is why you do not want to buy dented or bent cans. Any one of the three seals may be compromised. When things get really bad, if you have dented or bent cans, you want to boil the food for ten to thirty minutes, or pressure cook at 250 degrees F at 15 psi for 15 minutes.
When food is underprocessed and mesophilic bacteria is discovered, it is highly suggestive of a leak in the can, or the can has been underprocessed. The odors of putrification are often produced in protein rich foods at temperatures that are in normal range. In such cases, one must not taste the food, as given several times in this document. Spoilage that occurs as such presents a strong potential that these foods may harbor bacteria that are of the botulinus type.
Food that has been contaminated with this flat–sour spoilage is from a coliform, or some other acid–producing bacteria, or a Bacillus species.
Without awareness, many will fall prey to foodborne illnesses. They will eat the sour (acid) tasting food if really hungry and may become quite sick, even if they boil it, because these bacteria are the hardiest of the lot that survive commerical sterilization (commerical sterilization is not true sterilization—the killing of all life forms), they may still be present and not dormant and survive the 'heat and serve' approach of most Americans. They can still become ill if they boil their food and are at a high altitude. If boiling is performed, do so for an extended period of time, such as 30 minutes or so. This allows the heat more time to penetrate the microbes at such altitudes. Those who have prepared can also become ill if they do not pressure cook their food, at sterilization temperatures for their altitude.
However, no amount of boiling will get rid of the flat–sour spoilage of thermophillic bacteria. The food will taste acidic (sour) and putrid. But, if hunger is a grave problem, one could try a couple of pinches of baking soda in the food to ameliorate the acidity; and do as we gave earlier that the French did to mask the rancid taste, apply generous amounts of spices, especially cinnamon, to the amalgam, and then pressure cook according to altitude for proper sterilization for at least 15 to 30 minutes. You may make a very spicy soup, but it should not make you sick, nor cause a vagal nerve response from the stomach organ back to the brain generating a regurgitation (vomiting) reflex. This is a carry over from animals and early man to keep him from dying when ingesting something noxious. Mother Nature was very wise in building the human and lesser animals.
Farmers have suffered from lung infections from thermoduric (thermophillic) bacteria when working with hay that has been sitting in the sun for some time and is moist.
Even Healthy Foods Can Make You Sick
Even Healthy Foods Can Make You Sick
By VRP Staff
It’s hard to believe that nutritious whole foods like beans, grains, nuts—even fruits and vegetables—could pose a threat to your health. But they can… and even the cleanest organic produce may not be safe.
You see, foods like tomatoes, wheat, bananas, corn, and others deliver more than a load of critical vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants—they’re also abundant in a class of sticky proteins called lectins. And while the primary purpose of these proteins is to bind to carbohydrates in order to protect plants from threats by predators, their effect on the human immune system can be quite the opposite.
Celiac disease—a severe intolerance toward wheat gluten—is just one example of the damage lectins can cause. But celiac sufferers aren’t the only ones at risk. In binding with sugars on the surface of your gut, lectins can also be responsible for reactions ranging from bloating, weight gain, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, and sinus problems to the worsening of a whole host of immune diseases—including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and more. (1)
The good news is that you can gain the upper hand against this particular enemy—and you don’t have to sacrifice your favorite foods to do it. A comprehensive blend of lectin-binding ingredients—like those found in Lectin Lock™—may provide the protection you need.
This novel formula contains several safe, natural compounds that have been shown to act as “decoys” against dangerous lectins—safely binding them for removal from your body before they have the chance to wreak havoc on your delicate intestinal lining. Mucin, for example, is a glycosylated lectin-binding protein that exists naturally in your saliva. It offers critical protection to your digestive tract—effectively fighting leaky gut and reinforcing your intestinal barrier against attack.
In addition to mucin, natural sugars like n-acetylglucosamine (NAG), d-mannose, and fucoidin (abundant in herbs like Bladderwrack) are some of the most potent lectin-blocking substances in nature. NAG plays a key role in your body’s immune regulation and cell signaling systems—and studies reveal that it can effectively suppress wheat germ agglutinin, a lectin that’s implicated in both celiac disease and autism.2-3 D-mannose and fucoidin, on the other hand, offer additional benefits against pathogenic bacteria and yeast, including Candida, E. coli, and H. pylori. (4-7)
Lectin-binding vegetable supplements like okra—especially in combination with the enzyme pepsin—can enhance nutrient absorption by clearing away excess mucous in your gut, while protecting your digestive tract against ulcers, inflammation of the cell lining of the intestines and other intestinal disorders. And seaweed-derived sodium alginate acts as a barrier against acid reflux, while delivering the critical soluble fiber your colonic cells need for long-lasting health. (8-10)
Your best Defense Against Food Intolerance. Designed to “lock up” problematic lectins and safely escort them out of the body.
1. Pierini, Carolyn M. Lectins: Their Damaging Role in Intestinal Health, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Weight Loss. Vitamin Research News. 2007;21(1): 1-4
2. Mikkat U, Damm I, Schroder G, Schmidt K, Wirth C, Weber H, Jones L. Effect of the Lectin Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA) and Ulex europaeus Agglutinin (UEA-1) on the alpha-amylase secretion of rat pancreas in vitro and in vivo. Pancreas 1998 May; 16(4): 529-38.
3. Horvath K, et al. Improved social and language skills after secretin administration in patients with autistic spectrum disorders. Journal of the Association for Academic Minority Physicians 1998; 9(1): 9-15.
4. Zapopozhets TS, Besednova NN, Loenko luN. Antibacterial and immunomodulating activity of fucoidin. Antibiot Khimioter. 1995; 40: 9-13. [Article in Russian]
5. Criado MT, Ferreiros CM. Selective interaction of a Fucus vesiculosus lectin-like mucopolysaccharide with several Candida species. Ann Microbiol (Paris). 1983; 134A: 149-154.
6. Criado MT, Ferreiros CM. Toxicity of an algal mucopolysaccharide for Escherichia coli and Neisseria meningitides strains. Rev Esp. Fisiol. 1984; 40: 227-230.
7. Boren T, Falk P, Roth KA, et al. Attachment of Helicobacter pylori to human gastric epithelium mediated by blood group antigens. Science. 1993; 262:1892-1895.
8. Kimura Y, Watanabe K, Okuda H. Effects of soluble sodium alginate on cholesterol excretion and glucose tolerance in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 1996; 54: 47-54.
9. Mandel KG, Daggy BP, Brodie DA, Jacoby HI. Review article: alginate-raft formulations in the treatment of heartburn and acid reflux. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2000; 14: 669-690.
10. Anderson DM, Brydon WG, Eastwood MA, Sedgwick DM. Dietary effects of sodium alginate in humans. Food Addit Contam. 1991; 8: 237-248.
Considerations For Freeze Dried & Dehydrated Foods
Your WebMasters, including Chef Charles and Kong, highly recommend having at least 6 months to one year—more is better—of Freeze Dried and Dehydrated food, in addition to store bought provisions (dry and canned), coupled with your personal home canning stores.
We can no longer emphasize you have too little time left if you are going to do something. You will be caught short!
Earlier, we mentioned that you could possibly have some trouble with freeze dried and/or dehydrated foods. To understand this clearly, we point out the following from Professors Tortora, Funke, and Case, in their latest book, Microbiology: An Introduction, Tenth edition, 2010:
Preserving Bacterial Cultures
"During lyophilization (freeze–drying), a suspension of microbes is quickly frozen at temperatures ranging from –540C to –720C, and the water is removed by a high vacuum (sublimation). While under vacuum, the container is sealed by melting the glass with a high–temperature torch. The remaining powderlike residue that contains the surviving microbes can be stored for years. The organisms can be revived at any time by hydration with a suitable liquid nutrient medium.—page 170.
"In the absence of water, known as dessication, microorganisms cannot grow or reproduce but can remain viable for years. Then when water is made available to them, they can resume their growth and division. This is the principle that underlies lyophilizsation, or freeze–drying, a laboratory process for preserving microbes.... Certain foods are also freeze dried (for example, coffee and some fruit additives for dry cereals).
"The resistance of vegetative cells to desiccation varies with the species and the organism's environment. For example, the gonorrhea bacterium can withstand dessication for only about an hour, but the tuberculosis bacterium can remain viable for months. Viruses are generally resistant to dessication, but they are not as resistant as bacterial endospores, some of which have survived for centuries. The ability of certain dried microbes and endospores to remain viable is important in a hospital setting.
"Dust, clothing, bedding, and dressings might contain infectious microbes in dried mucus, urine, pus, and feces."—page 192.
And Dr. Alcamo, writing in the Eighth Edition of Alcamo's Fundamentials of Microbiology with Dr. Jeffrey C. Pommerville, says:
"During the past 20 years, freeze–drying, or lyophilization, has emerged as a valuable preservation method, although it has a long history. In this process, food is deep frozen, and then a vacuum pump draws off the water in a machine.... Water passes from its solid phase [ice] to its gaseous phase [water vapor].
"The dry product is sealed in foil and easily reconstituted with water. Hikers and campers find considerable value in freeze–dried food because of its light weight and durability. Lyophilization also is a useful method for storing, transporting and preserving bacterial cultures."—page 775.
The food to be lyophilized may be cooked as an entrée, then deep frozen and lyophilized. Reconstitute with water, heat, and eat.
Dr. Alcalmo continues:
"The killing effect of heat on microorganisms has long been known. Heat is fast, reliable, and relatively inexpensive. Above the growth range temperature for a microbe, enzymes and other proteins as well as nucleic acids are denatured. Heat also drives off water, and because all organisms depend on water, this loss may be fatal."—page 698.
Notice the word May be fatal. Also, recall from immediately above, the reconstitution of microbes for laboratory study and purposes. They come alive again.
The point we are making is that with all the Hell now breaking over our heads, one may not be able to get to a physician if one's freeze dried or dehydrated food still harbors pathogenic microbes, waiting to plump up with rehydration and go into action in your body. The temperatures the food is cooked at should destroy all such dangerous microbes prior to lyophilization or freeze drying. But, as you read earlier, it may not destroy all.
We have never heard of campers or hikers developing a foodborne illness from eating freeze dried or dehydrated foods; however, we feel some may have become ill, and as in many foodborne illnesses, the patient does not seek medical care and simply gets over it. With botulism, it is a different story, one is so sick and toxic from the botulism toxin, he starts becoming paralyzed, and seeks medical care rather immediately. Unless it is a mass outbreak of Escherichia coli or salmonella poisoning, patients tend to
not see their physican.
Probably, the way food that has been freeze dried or dehydrated becomes contaminated, is through unsanitary practices of the end user. The foods may be open while the water is heated and airborne micobes fall onto the foodstuffs. The food should be rehydrated and brought to a rolling boil for ten minutes to make the food safer to eat.
There is always a danger lurking when one just "heats and serves." This means heat the water to a boil, pour into the pouch, stir, wait 5 minutes, and eat. Some simply heat the water to a warm temperature. Both of these latter two can be dangerous. It would be best, for the tough times immediately ahead, to rehydrate the food and bring it to a boil for 10 minutes or more, if you want to be very safe.
From What You Have Read So Far,
What Could Be Some of The Possible Problems In The Following?
Even though water is removed, "Unfortunately, spore–forming and capsule–producing bacterial species can be problems because they resist drying."—Ibid, page 775.
The Eve of Destruction
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