Monday, March 2, 2009

White Powder On Beef Jerky

I'm seeing a number of people asking about white powder, or white residue, collecting on their beef jerky. I've experienced this as well, and am not totally sure what it is. But I thought I'd start this thread and see if folks out there have answers.

My best answer is that most of this stuff is salt.

I've noticed with vacuumed sealed packages of jerky, the vacuum suction causes oils inside the meat to rise to the surface, giving the meat a shiny wet appearance. When the the seal is broken, the oils sink back into the meat, leaving behind salt deposits, which appear as a white powder, or residue. This stuff doesn't rub off, or scrape off, and doesn't seem to change the flavor of the jerky.

This could also happen just by allowing jerky to sit in the open air for several days, while the moisture evaporates.

This is my best guess, based on eating numerous brands of jerky.

I think that other forms of "white stuff on jerky" could very well be mold. You might want to smell it first and see if reeks. If you can scrape it off with your fingernail, it's likely mold. Certainly you'll know right away if it's mold by tasting it.

Most jerky is shelf stable for a year or two, perhaps even longer. So, I tend to doubt that it's mold. The exception might be with an unopened package of moist jerky, where a tiny hole in the package exists, allowing for oxygen to enter.

I did a review of North Prairie Signature Bison Jerky, where after only 5 minutes of opening, white powder began growing across the pieces. After just 15 minutes, the jerky was more white than it was dark-brown. You can see photos in the review, which I took within minutes of opening, and already there's white powder spreading...





It looked pretty strange eating white bison jerky, but it didn't have a bad taste, it all seemed to taste just fine.

If you know something about the white stuff on jerky, post a comment.

20 comments:

  1. What does mold taste like? A white residue showed up on some pieces in a bag of Climax Spicy Buffalo jerky, and I noted a chalky, bitter after-taste that didn't seem to be there when I first opened the package (no unusual smell, though). The vacuum package had been open only a week or so and the residue appeared as the jerky reabsorbed the oils in the package. I finished off the bag quickly for fear that it would worsen, but I'm still unsure if the taste was mold or just flavor variations in the batch. Either way, it certainly put a damper on an otherwise great jerky.

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  2. I make my own venison jerky and vacuum seal the bags myself. After a while i notice that some spots on the jerky ( mostly the tips/ends) have small white residue spots. to be straight up it looks like mold. it only happens when i make the beek sticks, similar to "slim jims/pepperoni sticks) I normally just dont eat the ends and it tastes smells fine. but would just like some clarification on the subject. Kinda of a funny subject huh? I ended up here by google-ing beef jerky turned white. lol. gotta love the internet!

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  3. Wow, I have this same problem right now....I'm in the middle of eating this bag of Jim Beam cracked pepper jerky, and I didn't know if I should finish eating it. I can't tell if it's mold of not. It doesn't feel like salt, it's kind of thick actually and I have no clue it alters the smell of it or not. Anyways, I don't think I'm going to finish this bag...

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  4. To the above anonymous, if it's mold you'll definitely know from the taste. If it's thick, and you can't really taste it, it's just fatty deposits (lard).

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  5. If it is a white residue that comes on your beef jerky a lot of times it is salt precipatate from having to salty of a mixture or it just happens from the contents of your marinade it is especially prominent in non vacuum packaged beef jerky. However I would remind you when in doubt throw it out. We see it in our cheese flavored snack sticks because the cheese raises the salt level of the snack stick mixture and you will even see it in vacuum packaged ones in time. Hope that helps.

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  6. I've heard if the white is fuzzy, that means mold. Stop eating immediately! If it's greasy or solid and looks like the top of a pan when you're done cooking bacon, then you're most likely fine. It's just solidified oil.

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  7. Actually you might be right on the "White stuff" being a salt residue . I occasionally buy Sugar River Pepperoni Beef Sticks from local gas station and it takes about a day but it does appear eventually.. It does not seem harmful since Ive actually eaten alot of it and have yet to be sick..

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  8. The white powdery substance answer is the result of adding To Much ! ( Citric Acid ) to a product for preservation.

    Regards,
    Ed's RoadHousE Jerky

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  9. I have had some jerky that an uncle made for me and i've been slowing eating at it. I has been in a container and today i noticed a white fuzz on some of the top pieces and i flipped the container over and there was a huge clump of white and green mold. so I would say if it is white and fuzzy, watch out. I immediately discarded the jerky.

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  10. White powdery film is a sodium base no worries there, as mentioned white mold is fuzzy however there are many types of mold some of the black types do not have a fuzzyness to them.

    also of note Jerky by nature is dry and salty if you have ever been to a salt dune there is nothing growing there, no water plus salt = absents of life.

    If there is mold on the jerky then its likely that its exposed too long to moist air.

    SteveH

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  11. march 30th I found ruberry looking white thick mold on my jacks links jerky what the f--- is it

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  12. Why are you eating Jack Links in the first place?

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  13. I bought a 2oz. beef jerky stick made by Jack Links and after 45 minutes from taking a bite (then noticing some white powder in the cracks only in one spot) I was holding the toilet and getting a fever. I would strongly suggest that if your jerky has anything unique or out of the ordinary wrong with it... throw the shit out and go buy another bag... trust me... it isn't worth $6.00 to get sick from eating something that has spoiled... regardless of the thousands of chemicals in it to keep it on the shelf for two years - it is animal flesh and O2 with rot it....

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  14. The "white powder" on your jerky is bacteria called Clostridium. Its most heavy around the undried "fat veins" in the jerky. Thought this bacteria is not harmfull in small amounts , I'm full of shit, and have no idea what the white stuff is, I was just trying to make someome laugh. :)

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  15. Well i bought some wild bills beef jerky and there is a white powder on some if it and i have never noticed it before. Is it mold? It doesn't smell wierd and it tastes fine. Or is it just salt?

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  16. from my experience, i ate alot of beef jerky. to assure you guys, most of the white residue is safe and its due to long shelf life of the jerky salt turn dry and very fine thin power. i ate many molded fish and jerky before. you will taste and smell a big difference if its mold. you wont die, you wont get that sick, you will just get minor stomachache and poop it all out you be good in 15 min.
    i can assure you guys its not mold!

    if you guys are afraid of the white fluffy thing, moist it with oil or any other thing like honey and then store it. the wet will not cause it to turn white. yet you might even get better taste

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  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. All people who said its salt precipitation are correct. Most dry aged meat will show that occurance. A good experiment is to age some salami slices for a week or two.
    NYCrecipe.com makes jerky as well and this occurs only when the jerky is in open air for over 2-4 weeks. They only use marinated skirt steak to make jerky and stay away from any preservatives. For recipes with a lot of salt there is more frost than the non salted jerky.

    GN Tea

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  19. White Film on Jerky

    Occasionally you may see a white film or powdery white coating on beef jerky. White crystals may form if too much salt or sugar were used in the marinade. During drying, the excess salt or sugar from the marinade can crystallize on the surface of the meat as the moisture content of the meat is reduced. White crystals may also be an amino acid, tyrosine, that sometimes forms on cured meat surfaces. Additionally, overdrying can cause the ingredients in a jerky mix to concentrate and crystallize on the surface of the jerky. These crystals do not mean the jerky is spoiled; simply scrape them off. On the other hand, a white powdery coating could also be mold. Mold requires oxygen to grow. If the jerky is properly dried and stored with an airtight seal or vacuum pack, mold should not be a problem. There is no need to discard cured meat that shows mold. The Food Safety and Inspection Service of the USDA advises that you scrub the mold off using a brush in hot water.

    Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/486945-beef-jerky-risks/#ixzz2UrGr2Vrx

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  20. I have had my jerky come up with white spots occasionally. This is oil / fat coming to the surface. This happens most of the time during the cold weather here in New England. I had to reassure a few people that it wasn't mold. If you feel it, it is definitely oil / fat that turned white like bacon fat when it sits in a pan for a while.

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