The Danger Zone
Keep hot food hot and cold food cold but never keep it in the DANGER ZONE.
The Danger Zone is the temperature between 8°C – 63°C which is the ideal temperature for bacteria to rapidly multiply.
One of the most common causes of food poisoning is the bacteria Clostridium perfringens (C. perfringens) which is commonly found on raw meat and poultry. This bacteria thrives in the warm conditions and, when left in the Danger Zone, bacteria can multiply and spores form. Although cooking kills the growing bacteria, it does not necessarily kill the spores that can grow into new cells.
Cooking foods to a core temperature of 75°C will kill any bacteria so, to keep food safe thereafter, it is essential to keep hot food hot above 63°C or cool within 90 minutes before refrigerating.
C.perfringens infections often occur when foods are prepared in large quantities and are then kept warm (below 63°C) for a period of time before serving – foods such as stews, gravys, meats/chicken in sauces. That’s why outbreaks of these infections are usually linked to institutions (like hospitals, schools, prisons, and nursing homes) or hot buffets and event catering.
When hot holding food, check and record the food temperature to ensure it is kept above 63°C.
Did you know that apples contain 25% air which is why they float!