Time and temperature are two extremely important points to remember when keeping foods safe from micro-organisms.
Does the temperature range of 41° F to 135° F mean anything to you? Probably not – unless you work in the culinary field.
41° F to 135° F is the Temperature Danger Zone (TDZ) meaning that micro-organisms grow rapidly on foods when left out in this temperature range for more than two hours. Room temperature falls smack-dab in the middle of the TDZ! If it’s a hot, sunny day, food will spoil even faster.
Be honest, how many of you leave perishable foods at room temperature for hours and hours – especially when you are entertaining? Cheeses start to “sweat”, meat becomes dried out, salads wilt, pies get soggy. Doesn’t sound too appetizing, does it?
Hot foods must be served at a temperature ABOVE 135° F. If that means using a chafing dish with Sterno or a hot plate, so be it.
Cold foods must be kept BELOW 41° F. Place cold food platters on beds of ice.
Remember this saying and all will be safe…
Keep hot foods hot and cold food cold.
For more information on temperature and other food safety tips from the USDA, click here