The combination of cooking temperatures, by-products and environmental conditions in a meat curing or cooking environment, such as a smokehouse, can present various complications.
- Food Safety Risks
According to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), food safety risks with smoked meat products can include contamination with harmful substances or bacteria and their toxins, and cross-contamination. Ending the cooking process too soon can lead to undercooked meats, increasing the risk of contamination if the meat product is not thoroughly cooked during the smoking process. It is recommended to use medium to low heat for smoke generation, from 300°C to 400°C, filter the smoke and avoid heavy smoking.
- What Can You Do?
Good manufacturing practices must be followed and smokehouses should be made of materials that can be cleaned and sanitized in order to reduce the risk of contamination. Your smokehouse should be effective for its intended purpose. For more information, please visit www.omafra.gov.on.ca (http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/food/inspection/meatinsp/info-smokehouse.htm).
Meat products should be maintained at proper internal temperature for the entire cooking duration, and cooled properly within established time limits. The USDA created and monitors/regulates HACCP to ensure that facilities are meeting established minimum safe temperatures during their processes. The FDA defines Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) as “a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product.”
Are you achieving your minimum safe temperatures, and do you know how long does it take to achieve them? If not, you may not know if you are over or undercooking. Mesa’s DataTrace Sentinel System is the perfect solution to help your facility monitor cooking and cooling for meeting minimum temperatures, addressing these food safety risks. By using the DataTrace Sentinel System, you will have an accurate representation of what your meat is doing over time when certain temperatures are applied to it while cooking and cooling. It is advantageous to perform this check in every cycle versus a periodic check. If a USDA auditor were to inquire about your cycle, you would have concrete data to show that the cook was good, and each cycle is cooked to a perfect point.
For more information on regulatory requirements, or to inquire about how the DataTrace Sentinel System can be applied to your process, please contact a Mesa expert today.