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How Temperatures Affect Food

  • Published: 2013-08-22
  • File Format: PDF
  • Views: 24   
  • Size: 366.53K
  • Language: English
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Last night I left cooked roast beef on the counter to cool before refrigerating, but fell asleep and discovered it this morning. I immediately put it in the refrigerator. Since the meat is cooked, shouldn’t it be safe to eat?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Meat and Poultry Hotline receives similar calls every day from consumers who are confused about how to keep their food safe. The answer to this caller’s question is that the roast beef should be thrown out. Why? Because leaving food out too long at room temperature can cause bacteria (such as Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella Enteritidis, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Campylobacter) to grow to dangerous levels that can cause illness.Bacteria exist everywhere in nature. They are in the soil, air, water and the foods we eat. When bacteria have nutrients (food), moisture, time and favorable temperatures, they grow rapidly increasing in numbers to the point where some can cause  illness.  Understanding the important role temperature plays in keeping food safe is critical. If we know the temperature at which food has been handled, we can then answer the question, “Is it safe?”

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