Up until the time of smoking, you should have the meat at a temperature under 40F, so up to that point it will be at a temp to limit bacteria growth. Once you start smoking, additives like Sure Cure and Encapsulated Citric Acid are going to help control microbial growth and give help you create a safe to eat final product. If you start with a higher temperature, you do risk creating a tough and dry exterior and casing, sometimes known as case hardening. This can be a less safe process for cooking because it creates a tough exterior and prevents the meat and internal temp from rising up to a safe level where bacteria are killed. Case hardening basically makes it hard to fully cook the product up to a safe temp, and it does not allow moisture to escape as easily and in a semi-dried product like snack sticks part of our goal in cooking and creating an edible product is to dry the product out (to an extent, but not as dry as something like jerky). A slow and incremental increase in your smoker temps will help the meat temp rise at a rate that will help prevent case hardening, while still creating a safe and consumable product when finished. Within 2 hours we are setting the smokehouse temp up to a high enough temp to really get the meat up into a temperature range that will begin killing bacteria, and that should be within a sufficient enough time to not be a concern.
I hope that helps answer your question. If you need anything else, let us know!