Food Safety Issues/Ganache food safety

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Question
Dear Carl
I am fromt Brisbane, Australia and am part of a cake decorating group.  A lot of the members are in the process of trying to register their home kitchens to sell cakes and the local councils are telling them that they are not allowed to use cream or milk in their icings/frostings/ganache.  Ganache is the most popular way of covering a cake before put fondant on top and so this is causing concern.  We are having trouble finding any information about this as the general belief is that the chocolate being mixed with the cream changes the composition of the cream and it can last longer at room temperature.  Can you provide any information (or direct us to any literature) which might support this or indeed explain that it possibly isn't safe?

Any information you might have would be greatly appreciated.I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Kind regards
Karen

Answer
Hi Karen,

My experience with Ganache is limited to being a fan of eating this delicious chocolate. The reason cream or milk can't be used, as you are likely aware, is that cream and milk are potentially hazardous as they can support the growth of dangerous bacteria including salmonella and listeria. Items containing these ingredients must be refrigerated. I'm sure if you kept the cakes refrigerated they would likely be okay with government  regulatory agencies. I don't know anything about the chocolate changing the composition of the cream making it safe and extending the shelf life when unrefrigerated. Possibly the mixture lowers the moisture enough to make it difficult for the bacteria to reproduce. I'll be that's the reason the shelf life gets a boost. What I will say is that the risk of food poisoning from frosting containing cream and milk is very low. The risk for spoilage is much greater. Where I live in NY cakes with frosting containing milk, cream, sour cream must be refrigerated. Bakers tell me they want these cakes refrigerated because it extends the shelf life and ensures a good quality frosting. Bottom line...you are likely going to have to keep these cakes refrigerated. What I would do is contact a local regulatory inspector and ask them if you have any options. Even if you do you may not like them as good bakers don't want people messing with their formulations! Sorry I couldn't be of any help to you. I did some research and found there really isn't any option but to refrigerate the cakes. So sorry Karen. I feel like I let you down.  

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Carl LaFrate

Expertise

I can answer food safety questions relative to food processing, retail food and food salvage after a catastrophic event such as a hurricane, flood, ammonia leak or fire. Questions related to HACCP, Regulatory, GFSI, SQF, BRC, liability issues, contamination events, pest infestation, pest control methodology,food safety defense, pathogen prevention such as L. Monocytogenes control in food processing and retail, any subject related to food safety including at home issues.

Experience

30 years experience as a food safety consultant working for the top food processors, food retailers and insurance companies that write liability policies related to food processing, storage and distribution. My firm employees 6 full time food safety auditors. I work for top law firms throughout the USA and am a staff consultant for Douglas Peterson and Associates, one of the top forensic engineering firms in the world. I also work with Risk Solutions International, a global leader in risk management.

Organizations
New York State Association for Food Protection, past president, executive board Central Atlantic States Association of Food and Drug Officials

Publications
Progressive Grocer Magazine Smart Money Magazine Private Label Buyer Magazine Supermarket News Natural Foods Merchandiser Magazine Food Service Director Magazine NYS Association for Food Protection Annual Report NYS Association for Food Protection Newsletter

Education/Credentials
Syracuse University, Microbiology/Biology NYS College of Environmental Sciences, Plant and Environmental Biology Cornell University, Food and Dairy Processing

Awards and Honors
Wm. Hickey Award (2006), NYS Association for Food Protection, for contributions in the field of food safety and sanitation New York State Integrated Pest Management Award (2007), NYS Assoc. for Food Protection, for contributions in the filed of integrated pest management.

Past/Present Clients
Pillsbury, Agri-Mark, Associated Grocers, Beatrice Foods, Cargill, Southern Cold Storage, Quaker, Ben & Jerry’s, Delverde Pasta (Italy), New York Bakery, Cabot Cheese, Hazelwood Farms, General Mills, Price Chopper Supermarkets, P&C Supermarkets, Great American Supermarkets, Tops Markets, Big M Supermarkets, Big Bear Supermarkets, Frito-Lay Distribution Centers, IBP, Excell, Eckerd Drugs, Rite Aid Drug Stores, Fay’s Drugs, Carl’s Drugs, AWI Wholesale Food Distribution, McLane Food Distributors, Golub Food Distribution, many supermarket chains (many include large scale specialty food service operations), Burger King, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Darden Foods (Red Lobster, Olive Garden), LSG Skychefs (Germany, US), Glen Mills Schools, Cornell University, Crider Poultry, Caesar’s Palace, The Oneida Indian Nation, Taylor Meat Packing, UCB Packaging Films

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