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  • What's This White Stuff on My Jerky?

    In my quest to bring to the marketplace a human-quality jerky for dogs that is more like home-made jerky without glycerin, fillers, and artificial preservatives, I soon discovered that natural foods will act in natural ways, and sometimes this can result in white spots on your meat. So, what exactly are these spots? Is it safe for dogs to eat jerky that has these white spots? Let's take a look at three potential sources for white spots on jerky.

     

    White Spot #1 - Fat Deposit

    Safe - In fact, dogs like fat, and fat is necessary for assimilation of nutrients in the body

    Normal Fat Deposit on a piece of Simple Primitive Beef Jerky for Dogs made by My Human "N" Me

    Example of fat deposits on a piece of beef jerky.

     

    Meat has fat in it. Even lean meat has some fat. Think of leftover hamburgers and meatloaf, or even a homemade chicken stew or soup. Once the meat cools, some of the natural fat will solidify and you may see the hardened fat as a film on top of your soup, or patches stuck to the bottom of your burger. The same thing can happen to jerky. If you touch these spots with your finger, they will usually feel soft and slippery. In the fridge, they harden more, and appear brighter white. If your Simply Primitive Jerky has a spot on it, you can simply wipe it off if it bothers you . . . but there is no need to do so. Dogs like, and need, fat. It's natural. My dogs prefer it.

     

    White Spot #2 - Salt Surfacing

    Safe - Mineral salts in the meat form deposits on the surface as jerky dries.

    Sample of salt deposits on a piece of venison jerky. This is perfectly safe and edible.

     

    When My Human "N" Me was first experimenting with making a line of venison jerky for dogs, I remember panicking when I opened a newly made bag that was professionally packaged and saw a white residue on portions of the jerky. I quickly sent the samples to a lab for testing, and the results confirmed that the residue was crystalline in nature, not microbial. It was an accumulation of salts present in the meat. 

    Think about it this way. If you dissolve a small amount of salt in a glass of water and stir, the salt appears to disappear. Now leave that glass on the counter for a while and the water will eventually evaporate, but the salt gets left behind, forming visible deposits that adhere to the inside of the glass. 

    Meat has mineral salts in it, which are soluble in the oils/juices of the meat. As jerky dries, moisture in the meat evaporates into the air, and the salts can no longer stay dissolved. Instead, they get left behind and may form a visible deposit on the surface of the jerky. The deposit feels like a fine white powder. It is perfectly safe for your dog to eat. However, if it bothers you, you can brush off the minerals, or rinse the jerky piece under water for a few seconds.

    Also, please note that if you experience a salt surfacing on your Simply Primitive Jerky made by My Human "N" Me, is not occurring due to an excessive amount of added salt. We add less than 1% salt for its natural preservation qualities only . . . and that's a small amount. In fact, we have witnessed salt surfacing on jerky samples in which we added NO salt at all. Simply put, salt is just naturally present in meats. And as jerky dries, there is the chance for salt deposition on the surface of the meat.

     

    White Spot #3 - Mold

    Unsafe - Throw out any food that is moldy.

    The above picture is copyright of the Jerky Joint, and is not mold that was found on our jerky. I just thought it was great photo that they used to demonstrate mold on jerky.

     

    It's hard to mistake mold. It's hairy, scary, and may have a green tinge. Discard moldy food immediately. Do not serve moldy food to your dog.

    So, what is mold? Mold is a fungus that often forms fibrous, threadlike masses on plant or animal materials. Mold spores are transported by air, water, and insects, and can be found in virtually all environments, both indoors and outdoors, year round. According to the USDA Food Education Website, no one knows how many species of fungi exist, but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps 300,000 or more.   Molds most often found on meat and poultry are Alternaria, Aspergillus, Botrytis, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Geotrichum, Monilia, Manoscus, Mortierella, Mucor, Neurospora, Oidium, Oosproa, Penicillium, Rhizopus and Thamnidium. These molds can also be found on many other foods.

    To minimize the chance of your jerky molding once you open the bag, you must limit it's exposure to the air since mold spores are always present in the air. Cool and dry storage conditions are best. We recommend refrigeration of our jerky after opening to prolong freshness and inhibit microbial growth.

    If you open a brand new bag of jerky and are greeted by furry-looking green and white meat-monsters, then the bag is either beyond its prime, or more likely there was a bag defect . . . perhaps a faulty seal, a missing oxygen absorber, or a small puncture hole.  Always inspect the integrity of your jerky bags prior to purchase to avoid surprises. And if you do encounter moldy jerky, please discard it immediately. Do not feed moldy jerky to your beloved pets. That's just gross.

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