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Botulism in garlic? Answered

In the UK it is recommended never to use raw garlic into pickles preserved with vinegar because of the botulism microbes spoiling the product and poisoning the consumer. How does your Refrigerator Pickles kill the botulism organisms

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Paige RussellBest Answer (author)2017-03-24

Hi Jenniwren53,

I totally understand your concern.

It's possible for any low-acid vegetable, like garlic, to be a carrier of the botulism toxin Clostridium botulinum, which is why it's important to implement safe preservation techniques – all of which I cover in my class.

The major player in the Refrigerator Pickles process for outsmarting this particular spoiler (Clostridium botulinum), is vinegar and the low pH of the brine it creates. The high acidity of vinegar combined with the cold storage of refrigeration, alters the environment inside the jars enough to ensure safe preserving. Neither the botulism toxin itself or its spores can survive in the high acid, low pH environment of commercial vinegars (you must use vinegars that have a acetic acid content of 4.5% or higher). So if prepared and stored properly, adding raw garlic to refrigerator pickles is perfectly safe.

I have seen articles warning of the dangers of adding raw garlic to room temperature oils in regards to the botulism toxin Clostridium botulinum, as botulism loves warm, low acid environments, but I have never come across any information that contradicts the high acid theory. If you have any articles that challenge the use of raw garlic in properly preserved foods, please send the links my way!


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