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Charcuterie in a professional restaurant


madtowner
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This is my first post in a long time, but I have had a concern that is burning my conscience as I work on a business plan for a restaurant I want to someday run. I suddenly realized this may be the perfect place I should look for more information.

The local laws for the restaurants I have worked in recently go by a 7-day shelf life for potentially hazardous foods (this is probably almost universal…?) I have done pancetta, bacon, and corned beef at a small restaurant recently under these laws, either cooking, or freezing, then cooking the product within these terms before serving.

But…as I do more research on cured meats, I am curious to learn as to how laws affect these meats that are hung to dry in fixed environments (or dedicated, humidified refrigerators above 41 degrees) and how restaurants are able to serve products that fall beyond the “7-day” rule. Hanging pancetta for three weeks? Duck proscuitto? Ham proscuitto? 12 hour cold-smoked bacon?

Reading our laws online, it sounds like these are special cases that need to be reviewed by the health department.

Can these only come from commercial operations? Can these things be made in a commercial kitchen? What's it like in your kitchen?

thanks for the help...tim

edited to clarify the: cooking; or freezing, then cooking the product within 7 days, etc...

Edited by madtowner (log)
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Dry, cured meats more than likely (if cured correctly) dont fall under the legal definition of "potentially hazardous foods" since a food must have a water activity greater than .85 to be considered a PHF....

Also not a PHF would be anything that has a ph less than 4.6...like mayonaise...not a PHF....that fact blew my mind when I got serve safe certified....

here is a link to the legal stuff from the FDA http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~comm/ift4-2.html

Edited by Tiny (log)
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Dry, cured meats more than likely (if cured correctly) dont fall under the legal definition of "potentially hazardous foods" since a food must have a water activity greater than .85 to be considered a PHF....

But would the heath dept consider it potentially hazardous over the months that it takes to dry & get the water content down that low? In the beginning, it is fresh meat with a little salt and stuff, I can picture them not understanding the concept that in a year it will be really delicious and totally safe prosciutto, it just looks like raw meat hanging in the storeroom for now.

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Thanks all for the input. I want to, and eventually will, contact the local health department, but I wanted to run these ideas by some experienced people so I didn't ask the wrong questions and raise any red flags. I just had a particularly detailed health inspection where I work (our inspector was training another), perhaps I'm a bit gun-shy!...

The inspection went very well, btw...

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