Food Safety Temperatures
Dangerous levels of bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella Enteritidis, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Campylobacter can grow on food that is left too long at room temperature.
Bacteria can double in number in as little as 20 minutes in the range of temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F. This range of temperatures is often called the Danger Zone.
Keep Food Out of the Danger Zone
Never leave food out of refrigeration over 2 hours. If the temperature is above 90 °F, food should not be left out more than 1 hour.
Keep hot food hot at or above 140 °F. Place cooked food in chafing dishes, preheated steam tables, warming trays, and/or slow cookers.
Keep cold food cold at or below 40 °F. Place food in containers on ice.
Raw meat and poultry should always be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature. When roasting meat and poultry, use an oven temperature no lower than 325 °F.
If you aren't going to serve hot food right away, it's important to keep it at 140 °F or above.
One of the most common causes of foodborne illness is improper cooling of cooked foods. Bacteria can be reintroduced to food after it is safely cooked. For this reason leftovers must be put in shallow containers for quick cooling and refrigerated at 40 °F or below within two hours.
Reheating Cooked Food
Foods should be reheated thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165 °F or until hot and steaming. In the microwave oven, cover food and rotate so it heats evenly.
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