Time/temperature danger zone
Keeping food safe requires keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold. This may sound easy to do, but failure to follow this simple rule often is a factor in foodborne illness. Bacteria that cause foodborne illness multiply and grow at temperatures between 41°F and 140°F, which is known as the danger zone. Temperatures between 70°F and 120°F allow microorganisms to grow especially fast.
Perishable food should be thrown away if it has been kept at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F for more than two hours. This is known as the time/temperature danger zone. Perishable food includes both hot and cold foods. That means cooked food must be kept hotter than 140°F until it is served. Cold foods such as salads, lunchmeats, and dairy products should be kept below 40°F.
Here are some tips to help keep food out of the time/temperature danger zone.
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