Smoked Salmon & Botulism?

Discussion in 'Camping, Hiking, Cooking' started by dryflylarry, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

    Posts: 4,072
    Near the Fjord
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    I had five pieces of smoked coho left in my fridge and decided to send it to my Son in Korea. After thinking about it, I told my Son not to eat it when it arrives for fear of botulism and to throw it away. Anyone know much about this? I did not refridgerate it in the mail. It will take maybe as much as 7 days to arrive. Do you absolutely need to refridgerate smoked salmon? It was dry-brined with 1 cup of salt and 4 cups of brown sugar with a bit of garlic powder. It was in the smoker for 8 hours and was fairly dry. What did the native Amercian boys do back in the day? They ate smoked salmon right? Refridgeration?............naw. Everything you read about botulism is damn scary. Can you preserve it dry by adding sodium nitrate? Thanks Pals!
  2. cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

    Posts: 1,699
    Olympia, WA
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    The bacterium that causes botulism requires an anoxic environment (no oxygen). That is why improper canning is a problem because the canning process drives out oxygen and if the material wasn't heated high enough, the surviving Clostridium botulinum spores can germinate in the can; the bacterium produces the botulinum neurotoxin. I wouldn't worry about botulism from smoked (but not canned) salmon.
    Of course, there are other bacteria that can cause food poisoning, such as Staphlococcus aureus. But the salting and drying process creates a pretty inhospitable environment for bacterial growth. As you point out, Native American have been preserving fish by smoking for thousands of years. I would not discourage your son from enjoying a taste of the Northwest.

    Steve
  3. dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

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    Near the Fjord
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  4. dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

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    Thanks for the info Steve. I was kinda feeling that way. Still, a little cautious.
  5. Patrick Gould Active Member

    Posts: 2,244
    Ellensburg, WA
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    I take "indian candy" style salmon with me while hiking and have never had a problem.

    BTW: What's you son doing in Korea?
  6. dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

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    Near the Fjord
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    Thanks for the info Patrick. My son is teaching English there with his girlfriend also. They came home from a two year Peace Corps gig in Moldova, and then ran off to South Korea. He is also quite involved with a friend in starting up a small art publication and also dabbling in his own artwork including photography. He recently got one of his photos published in an international photography exhibition there in Daegu. He's having a good time. He graduated from UW before going into the Peace Corps.
  7. Gary Knowels Active Member

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    Seattle, WA
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    Larry,

    Where is your son at over there? My best friend just finished up 2 years worth of teaching English in a couple areas in and surrounding Seoul. He did say that he ran into a guy that graduated from UW with a poly sci degree in 2008, same program and year as him but had never met him before meeting in Korea.
  8. bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

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    m-ville
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    Use the system I employed to stay alive during the late 70's in my youth. Tell your son to share with his friends ,if after a hour they are still alive, the stuffs good and as long as you only have half as much as they had your going to be fine!!!!
    Steve Call and Patrick Gould like this.
  9. wadin' boot Donny, you're out of your element...

    Posts: 1,922
    Wallingford, WA
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    Plus botulinum is gas producing, so if the packet it was in is taut and bubbled out, yeah, throw it out. If not mmmm....Most of the Native botulinum poisonings come from fermented whale meat or bad canning.
  10. Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

    Posts: 5,628
    Somewhere on the Coast
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    Botulism poisoning from "bad canning" is what killed my paternal grandfather, way back sometime around 1924 or '25.
  11. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,580
    Graham, WA, USA.
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    I thought I had replied. But it would've been fine. Had a good friend who was a SGM periodically sent to Korea. I would send him vacuum packed smoked salmon on a regular basis that he'd share with the locals. They all survived the salmon. I froze it and sent it express mail (since UPS can't deliver to an APO).