Finishing Garlic Oil - Botulism

Hey Guys,
Anyone think of any problems with finishing pizzas straight out of the oven with store made garlic oil (or garlic confit) ?
It tastes amazing, I know another store that does it, but I can’t stop thinking about the risk of botulism.
We’re talking about a 1 litre squeeze bottle, made in-store, kept in the fridge outside hours, then out up on the bench for the 3hrs or so of service, and kept for maybe 3-4 days at most…
Appreciate any experience and thoughts ?

By store made do you mean commercially produced?

I didn’t mean commercial garlic oil bought from a supplier, I meant the pizza restaurant actually makes it as part of their food prep, then just leaves it in a fridge, and then has it out on the bench the whole time the restaurant is open.
They either just put minced raw garlic in the bottle with olive oil or they slow cook it garlic confit style.
One bottle probably gets used up after 2-3 days.

If I could add another variant on this for Tom, does the same concern hold for non commercial made (shop made) Caesar dressing with fresh minced garlic in a mayo base and a TBS of lemon juice per 1/2 cup of mayo?

I’m not a microbiologist, but I do know that an effective control mechanism for clostridium is pH, but I don’t know if 1-tablespoon of lemon juice is sufficient to inhibit its growth, which by the way is not really inhibited by refrigeration. If you insist upon using your own home brewed infused garlic oil it is HIGHLY recommended that it be disposed of at the end of each day. Since clostridium is an anaerobe (grows outside of the presence of oxygen) the oil creates that environment and allows for the possibility of clostridium growth, since botulin is an aflatoxin it is not destroyed during the baking process, and since it has a very high fatality rate it is nothing to be toyed with. I personally look at it as a game of Russian roulette, you can talk to a lot of people who don’t see any problem with it, and do it all the time, but that one time when you lose, you lose BIG, and unlike Russian roulette, there is a probability that many people will be affected as opposed to just one. I think we owe it to our customers to ensure that the food they are buying from us is as wholesome as possible at all times regardless of the price.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Tom, thanks! You gave me the right things to google, and I think I found the ph limit in a university of Florida publication:

Clostridium botulinum is the bacterium that causes botulism. Clostridium botulinum is a Gram-positive, slightly curved, motile, anaerobic rod-shaped bacterium that produces heat-resistant endospores. These endospores, which are very resistant to a number of environmental stresses such as heat and high acid, can become activated in anaerobic environments, low acidity (pH greater than 4.6), high moisture content, and in temperatures ranging from 3°C to 43°C (38°F to 110°F). In hostile environmental conditions, the heat-resistant spores enable the bacteria to survive in a dormant state until conditions become more favorable.

Thanks for the answer Tom…I feel like it’s Russian Roulette too.
It only has to go wrong once and it’s going to be a very very bad day !
I think doing a confit garlic style oil with the daily prep might be the best solution.
I find finishing with the garlic oil or alternatively finishing with a pesto oil really makes a huge flavour difference.

I totally agree with the flavor aspect, just make it daily and instruct your people to discard it at the end of each day (be sure to explain to them why this is important) and you should be good to go.
My favorite finish for a pizza is to puree a handful of basil leaves in enough olive oil to make a thin consistency that can be applied using a condiment bottle, then give the finished pizza a quick circular squirt immediately upon removal from the oven. But then I love the fresh basil flavor so I’m being just a little partial.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Thanks Tom !
The basil in oil absolutely sounds like a great finisher too !
I think same rules apply as with the garlic and anything organic in oil (oxygen-less environment), make it daily and discard at the end of the shift.
Appreciate the help.

Almost anything fresh kept in a low, or no-oxygen environment between the temps of 40-140 is very capable of growing nasty bacteria.

When it comes to C. Botulinum, It’s not the bacteria that kills you, it is the spores produced by the bacteria, and the toxins in those spores are not easily deactivated by heat treatment, So bringing something to the boiling point will not make these things safe.

What about using powered garlic or granulated garlic instead of fresh? Does not taste quite as good but is that safe?

As long as the garlic powder or granulated garlic are commercially prepared (store bought) you should not have any problems. For the difference in flavor though I personally still like to make my own from fresh garlic and discard it at the end of the day, it isn’t that expensive to make a few ounces and if you have some left over after putting it on the pizzas pour the remainder into a small bowl, add some balsamic vinegar and you have a great dipping oil for the bread sticks that you can make from your extra dough. In a restaurant situation I would only recommend using a commercially manufactured product.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

How about the peeled garlic you can buy from the grocery store that has been prepacked and vacuum sealed? It is in an oxygen deprived environment for an assumptive lengthy amount of time and with possible temperature fluctuations. Had it been treated somehow before packaging? Would it be safe to use? I’m honestly just thinking about home usage, I realize those little packs aren’t cost effective.

To the best of my knowledge the commercially prepared/packaged garlic has been processed to render it safe. I would NOT buy a home vacuum packaged product though. I use the commercially bottled garlic in olive oil all the time, it’s a staple at our house for use in cooking.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor