Author Topic: Aging Temperature - Pathogen Growth Temperature Range  (Read 628 times)

Offline smokjunkee

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Aging Temperature - Pathogen Growth Temperature Range
« on: June 02, 2012, 06:47:24 AM »
Ok, I'm very much a noob to this cheese-making thing. I come from a food-service backround so food temp. safety/danger zones are an everyday priority. So, after reading a couple books, making a couple batches of cheese(the latest aging in my homemade cave), I got to thinking about the temps. & RH these guys age at, sometimes for many,many months.
What is it that makes the cheese safe sitting at 52-55 ferenheit, which is in the temp. danger zone for food pathogens? I didn't seem to come across that topic in any of the books I have. Just curious.
SJ


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Offline Little Creek Cheese

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Re: Aging Temperature - Pathogen Growth Temperature Range
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2012, 08:04:40 AM »
it's my understanding, ( which could very wrong ) , the temp is only one of several factors which affect safe food, the length of time in the aging process is also a factor, most harmful pathogens are short lived, which is why they suggest no soft cheeses for the infirm or pregnant. the soft cheeses are still in the hazardous range because of the short curing times.

Offline Tomer1

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Re: Aging Temperature - Pathogen Growth Temperature Range
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2012, 09:20:38 AM »
Even short lived, some pathogens can still produce toxins (ecoli for example).
Working with "healthy" milk, handling it in a sanitary manner and acidifying it properly (using up the majority of bacteria food quickly) produces a safe cheese.
LABS themselves also produce compounds which partly inhibit competition for food.

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Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Aging Temperature - Pathogen Growth Temperature Range
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2012, 02:06:34 PM »
SJ - Here's the short & simple. When you make cheese, the starter bacteria convert lactose to lactic acid. That does 2 important things. First, the food source for pathogens is used up. In fact, by federal law, raw milk cheeses must be aged at least 60 days, because theoretically all available lactose is used up and pathogens can't survive. Second, the acid produced during the make and pressing is not ideal for pathogens such as E. coli.

There are 2 food product categories you should consider. First, dried fruits & vegetables. Why is it that we can air dry food and be perfectly safe (and legal)? The end product does not have to be refrigerated. In many ways, cheese is a product of controlled dehydration. However, fresh cheeses with higher moisture content do have to be refrigerated just like any other perishable food.

Second, cured meats. Again, why is it that meats can be cured and stored at room temperatures?
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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Aging Temperature - Pathogen Growth Temperature Range
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2012, 02:24:50 PM »
Cured meats also use bacterial cultures and nitrates and sometimes surface molds to use up the lactos. Moisture content is a huge factor in making them shelf stable. Although what they use to make peperoni shelf stable I do not know. It seem very moist when you first buy it. Probabaly stff we don't want to know about.


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Offline smokjunkee

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Re: Aging Temperature - Pathogen Growth Temperature Range
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2012, 06:54:39 PM »
Thanks for the info, I sortof thought it had to with the acidity changes going
on but, wasn't sure.

Offline TraditionalGoats

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Re: Aging Temperature - Pathogen Growth Temperature Range
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2012, 08:53:37 AM »
My opinion is that fresh cheeses sold should be pasteurized.  If you want them in raw form, they are simple to make, no expensive equipment needed, and then  you are taking the "risk" yourself and not putting your farmer or cheese maker in danger.

Aged cheeses can be raw generally without problems. 

At least in the US, people like to sue if a problem arises.  Even if the product is not the actually cause, if there is a hint of reason to doubt it was good or right, a lawyer jumps to the rescue. 

I make fresh raw cheeses at home and have not had any problems.  I also have the goats, cows, and sheep here and do the milking myself.  If something does not look right, it gets tossed to the pigs or composted.  And sometimes I pasteurize the milk too, kind of depends on who is going to be eating with us.

We drink raw milk and have done so for years with no problems.  But I think that is largely due to the fact that I have healthy animals, sanitary conditions to milk them, and we have an abundance of milk so the milk in the fridge we are using is never more than a day old. 

Just my thoughts on it!

Tracy

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Aging Temperature - Pathogen Growth Temperature Range
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2012, 09:07:49 AM »
Thanks for the info, I sortof thought it had to with the acidity changes going
on but, wasn't sure.

Think back to the reasons why that temperature range was considered a danger zone. It's because 1)pathogens can grow at this temp for storage and/or 2) if the food becomes contaminated, pathogens can grow, creating risk

For the second issue, this still applies to cheese. For the first issue, there are many mitigating factors that make cheese safe to eat after a long maturation of 2+ months. Mostly, it comes down to pathogens cannot survive that long at those temps.
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