Folks who preserve their garden’s bounty using modern high-heat canning methods, are accustomed to receiving a crop of warnings, generated by county and university extension agents, about dangers of botulism – a toxin excreted by the otherwise harmless, C. botulinum – in improperly canned foods, when one or more of the following conditions exist:
- low-oxygen (anaerobic)
To ensure food “safety”, high-heat processing kills all microbial life – good or bad.
Lacto-fermentation, on the other hand, encourages the growth of beneficial microbes, utilizing optimum temperatures in the 68 to 72F range.
Where high-heat processing results in dead matter, lacto-fermented foods create a thriving community of beneficial microbes and chemicals, including a powerful natural-defense system against toxins and putrefying bacteria.
“Microbes may be the most significant life form sharing this planet with humans, because of their pervasive presence and their utilization of any available food source. Depending on the food source, microbes may have either beneficial roles in maintaining life or undesirable roles in causing human, animals and plant disease.” – Samuel Brown, MD
The Pickl-It was designed to create a healthy, anaerobic environment needed by lactic-acid bacteria. Happy, healthy lactic-acid bacteria, create good amounts of lactic-acid, key to the demise of botulism and other toxins.
The FDA chart shows that when the brine pH is under 4, C. botulinum toxins DO NOT SURVIVE in a lacto-fermented solution!
|Lactic acid, excreted by lactic-acid bacteria, lowers the brine pH increasing the acidity, creating an unwelcoming and inhospitable environment. The botulism toxin, toxin, created by C. botulinum, can’t survive!|
Which Preservation Method Should You Use?
U.S. Department of Agriculture research service microbiologist, Fred Breidt, says –
…“properly fermented vegetables are actually safer than raw vegetables, which might have been exposed to pathogens like E. coli on the farm. With fermented products there is no safety concern. I can flat-out say that. The reason is the lactic acid bacteria that carry out the fermentation are the world’s best killers of other bacteria.”
Breidt works at a lab at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, where scientists have been studying fermentation microbiology since the 1930s.
“Breidt adds that fermented vegetables, for which there are no documented cases of food-borne illness, are safer for novices to make than canned vegetables.” San Francisco Gate Interview, June, 2009
Pasteurized, canned food is not only nutrient-dead, but defenseless, lacking all the advantages of traditional lacto-fermentation. To get started making your own nutrient-dense, living-food, order Pickl-It, here.
From Poison to Healing – Modern botulinum toxin treatment was pioneered by Alan B. Scott and Edward J. Schantz in the early 1970s, when the type-A serotype was used in medicine to correct strabismus. To date, the toxin has been used to treat a wide variety of conditions associated with muscular hyperactivity, glandular hypersecretions and pain.
Microbiological Spoilage of Fermented and Acidified Vegetable Products – Clostridium botulinum cannot grow and produce toxin at or below pH 4.6 (Ito et al., 1968).
Ohio EDU – Botulism is the name of the food poisoning we get consuming the toxin of Clostridium botulinum. Botulism was formerly known as “Kerner’s Disease.” It was named after the man who signed the death certificate of people who ate contaminated sausage and died in an outbreak in Germany.
There was an an increase in botulism during the Depression, as well as the 1970s, when there were tough economic times and people turned to home-canning. To date, we know of seven types of Clostridium botulinum bacteria. They all have different characteristics, which gives us information as to how they grow, as well as how they can be neutralized.
Botulism: proteolytic type A, B and F strains – produce very heat-resistant spores which are a major concern in the processing of low-acid foods. These types digest proteins in foods and produce a foul odor that may warn Consumers of spoilage.
Botulism: nonproteolytic type B, E and F strains – can grow at refrigerated temperatures, but produce spores of very low heat resistance. These types cause problems primarily in pasteurized or unheated foods. Because they are nonproteolytic, no off-odor or evidence of spoilage may be produced with toxin development._
C. botulinum reproduce under special conditions, namely a low-level heat or absence of oxygen and low acidity – New York Times – (the bacteria will not grow in a medium with a pH level above 5.4). These conditions are commonly found in many canned foods, and thus food processors and home canners take special precautions to kill the bacteria and its spores on the items destined for canning. This is commonly done by heat.
The Father of Canning – Interesting history of Nicolas Appert
|by Kathleen in Research | Permalink|
Did you know...
Lactic acid was first isolated in 1780 by a Swedish chemist, Carl Wilhelm Scheele.
—Lactic Acid's Discovery
Wow!! Thanks for your helpful guidance as we switched our water kefir fermentation over to the Pickl-It system. We’ve been making water kefir for over a year, but it has always been open to the air with just a mesh covering. A couple of days ago our Christmas 3 – 3 Bundle came in and we set up the water kefir grains in a 1 L. It was time to harvest (& taste!!) this morning and IT IS SOOOOO GOOD!!!! There are none of the vinegary notes that were present in our past batches. It’s fully done – which I judge by the fact that it’s only very very slightly sweet, and the carbonation is good (on the subtle side instead of tickling your nose). It’s perfection! The flavor is very pleasing and refreshing. There’s no going back now : ) This is an easy breezy way to ferment excellent water kefir for sure!
—Janice S. - Indiana