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I had some pork (shoulder) I had to use today, suspecting it might be unsafe tomorrow.

So I thought I'd soak it in some hydrogen peroxide, about 2-3% concentration to at least get rid of any surface bacteria.

After about 10 minutes, the pork looked half-cooked and felt extremely pliable. I assume the proteins had denatured like in a ceviche. Stir-frying it quickly to finish it off took less than a minute and it was really tender.

Is cooking with hydrogen peroxide an accepted practice?

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Quick googling for «hydrogen peroxide ingestion» turned up quite a few links on hydrogen peroxide therapy. While the practice of drinking H2O2 for health improvement seems dubious, I see no problems in ingestion of very small amounts of H2O2 with meat (if you wash it off before cooking of course). –  Mischa Arefiev Apr 17 '12 at 15:08
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An obvious follow-up question is, does soaking meat in hydrogen peroxide render it any more safe than simply cooking it at an appropriate temperature? –  J. Winchester Apr 17 '12 at 17:19
    
Or "Can you do a safe pork seviche using this method?" –  Eli Lansey Apr 19 '12 at 15:45
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Tried it myself on some mid-quality frozen pork. Meat became tender without getting polluted by the taste of vinegar or lemon juice. Who cares if it's accepted as long as result is so awesome! Thanks for the tip, I'm going to do it from now on. –  Mischa Arefiev Apr 24 '12 at 9:05
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2 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

The Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety offers the following information and advice:

Use of Hydrogen Peroxide in Food Processing

  1. Because of its strong oxidising property, hydrogen peroxide is used as a bleaching agent in some foods such as wheat flour, edible oil, egg white etc. in countries like the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
  2. It is also allowed to be used as an antimicrobial agent in food, e.g. milk, and as a sterilizing agent for food packaging materials.

and

Safety of Hydrogen Peroxide

  1. Oral ingestion of 3% hydrogen peroxide solutions (household strength) generally does not result in severe toxicity but may result in vomiting, mild irritation to mucosa and burns in the mouth, throat, oesophagus and stomach. Ingestion of higher concentration, e.g. >10%, can result in more dangerous sequelae such as burns to mucus membranes and gut mucosa.
  2. Hydrogen peroxide is unstable and would decompose in contact with food and after cooking.

and, finally,

Advice to the Trade

  1. If hydrogen peroxide is used in processing food, only food grade hydrogen peroxide should be used in processing food.

  2. The amount of hydrogen peroxide to be used in food processing should be limited to the amount sufficient for the purpose.

  3. Appropriate measures should be taken to remove residual hydrogen peroxide from the finished products.

Based on this information, it seems there is some precedent for using hydrogen peroxide in a cooking environment.

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No mention of using it to eliminate or reducing cooking time however. My searches similarly revealed nothing. –  jontyc Apr 20 '12 at 5:26
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HOLD ON! NOOOO! Not over the counter HP. It's the additive/stabilizers in the HP that can ALSO harm you. NOT MEANT FOR CONSUMPTION. Like the other answer says, There is food grade HP you can obtain through the proper channels that can be used, but again needs to be washed off. Once in a while I would say, mouth rinsing... and so on. Most importantly we also have good bacteria in our stomachs that you will kill off, hence the stomach warnings.

I am a big fan of HP, use is all the time. I sanitize my vegetable with it in my sink filled with water. But it doesn't soak in, and I rinse. It give the veggies and fruit an oxygen boost, and they last longer. I put it in my flowers, or make my own rainwater for plants with it. HPeroxide is also created by nature. I put a sprayer in the little bottles and spray my counters and cutting boards after using chicken or something suspiciously bad or can cross contaminate. It’s an odor neutralizer. Garbage cans and smelly laundry. Mold growing in your basement, I spray it down. It removes fresh blood stains and some old ones. Just don’t use it on fabrics without rinsing; it can bleach over a period of time.

Another method my mother taught me. NOTHING stands up to salt. If something was on the edge of turning bad, she would cover it in salt and let it sit. Not too long, the salt will dry out the meat. Then rinse. Use your nose closely, if it still has an odor, throw it out. Even if you know you will cook it a long time killing the bacteria, you will still taste the rancid flavor. Also try and cut off as much of the fat as you can. The fat goes bad faster than the meat.

My simple philosophy... When in doubt, throw it out. It is cheaper than getting food poisoning.

Lastly, if it is tenderness you want, try Velveting your meat. Did you ever wonder why Chinese Food was so tender? It’s amazing how well it works. An old Asian secret that they really don’t tell you about. I use the water method, not the oil. I can’t have too much fat in my diet for health reasons.

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I'm actually surprised I didn't mention I was using food grade HP, for as you say, it's quite important. I wouldn't touch the other stuff. –  jontyc Apr 28 '12 at 10:50
    
"When in doubt, throw it out" - it's a saying often said and if I was cooking for others, I'd do it. But to throw out 10, 20, 30 worth of meat, it'd have to at least smell bad before I'd throw it if I was the only one eating it. –  jontyc Apr 28 '12 at 10:54
    
I hear ya. I was the youngest of five, raised by a Single Irish Mom. I know the dilemma and have pushed it a few times myself. I found cutting off the questionable parts, salting, then rinsing then follow up with very strong brine and rinse again mostly works. Sometimes I precook the meat till almost done, then use it when I'm ready. I learned a lot from my mom. –  Onepotmeals Apr 28 '12 at 13:11
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