Kitchen Safety Tips
Avoid the Danger Zone
Harmful bacteria grow exponentially between 40° and 140°F. This is why it’s important to be diligent about your refrigerator’s temperature at one end of the spectrum, and the internal temperature of cooked proteins at the other. Technically, food-borne illness occurs more readily when enjoying a rare steak than when suffering through a dry, well-done hunk of meat. But if the animal protein is handled properly, you need not worry about food poisoning. You should be vigilant about bringing food out of this danger zone; the soup or stew you had for dinner should be cooled and put into the refrigerator promptly. The guidelines for food poisoning indicate that a protein can safely be in the danger zone for four hours. Take into account this includes the raw chickens sitting in their cases on the sidewalk when delivered to the grocer, the time the bird sits in your car after you’ve acquired it, and the time it sits on the counter before you cook it. This time adds up, so stay aware.