Is My Leftover Food Safe to Eat?
There are many issues when it comes to keeping food safe. We are going to explore food temperature and it effect on bacteria build up. There is much scientific data on the subject, which is available on foodsafety.wsu.edu. One of the growing food safety issues that has been confronted as a result of our mobile sociey, is the “warm left over food from restaurant” packages.
Bacteria grows in proportion to warmth, time, moisture and a host to grow upon. A simple rule of thumb is that hot foods need to be kept hot and cold foods need to be kept cold. According to the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A) the danger zone for food storage is between 41 degrees F to 135 degrees F. No food should be stored at this temperature for longer than four hours. Many foods should not be stored within the danger zone for more than two hours.
When bringing food home from a restaurant it is essential to pay attention to time and outside temperature. If the food was served hot or warm, and it has been left on the table before packaging, be careful to calculate the time it has been left unrefrigerated, the outside temperature the food has been left in, and the type of food packaged. The best rule of thumb is to quickly get the food into a refrigerator and reheat it when it is desired. Do not leave the food sitting out for future consumption.