The Canadian Food Inspection Agency defines curing and fermentation as:
"Curing" means, in respect of an edible meat product, that salt together with at least 100 parts per million (ppm) and not more than 200 ppm of sodium nitrite, potassium nitrite, sodium nitrate or potassium nitrate or any combination thereof, was added to the meat product during its preparation.
Nitrite or nitrate salts or both, in combination with salt (NaCl) and other curing aids are added to meat products to improve colour, texture and flavour and to prevent or delay undesirable microbial growth and toxin production.
The operator must have a program in place to assess the incoming product.
Fermentation relies on good control over a complex and precise combination of time, temperature, nitrites, salt concentration, pH and Aw factors to ensure food safety.
What are the safety and health concerns in the preparation of fermented and dry cured meat?
Salmonella, E.coli 0157: H7, Staphylococcus aureus, and Clostridium botulinum are bacteria that may contaminate meat products making them unsafe. Trichinella is a parasitic worm that is found in pork which also causes infection.
Starter cultures containing beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus promote the growth/fermentation of good bacteria whilst reducing the growth of harmful bacteria.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency Links
Alberta Health Services: Alberta Food Safety for Meat Processors
- impact of foodborne illness
- potential hazards associated with meat processing
- control measures to reduce risk to customers
- certificate upon successful exam completion valid 3 years