On August 29, 2014, Kraft announced the recall of 7,691 cases of select Kraft American Singles Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product. The company sites improper storage temperatures as the cause of the recall. The recall has been issued as a precaution as no one has been reported ill, but it brings to light an important facet of food safety—temperature.
The Temperature Danger Zone is a big buzzword in the food safety world, but to most people, it means nothing. So, what is the Temperature Danger Zone? It is the temperatures that lie between 41°F and 135°F. In this temperature range bacteria multiplies the fastest; therefore, it’s encouraged that food not be left in this zone for more than four hours. If the temperature is over 70°F, food should not be left out for more than two hours.
Why does this matter to me? You’re probably wondering why you should care if you are not a worker in the food industry. Have you ever been to a picnic? Ever taken food to the beach with you? Ever been to a potluck? The Temperature Danger Zone doesn’t just apply to food handled by food workers, it applies to all food.
So how do I keep myself safe? A good rule of thumb is to never leave food out of refrigeration for more than four hours. And for those summer picnics, where the temperature is 70°F, or higher, food should not be left out for more than two hours. Remember to keep hot food hot: keep it in chafing dishes, warming trays, or slow cookers and keep it above 135°F. And to keep cold food cold: place it in containers on ice and keep it below 41°F.
So enjoy the last few weeks of summer while you can, but make sure your food stays safe. No one wants to end summer with a case of Salmonellosis.
Download Poster: The Temperature Danger Zone
— Rachelle Riffle