Ever left food out during hot weather and have found later that it has gone bad? Well, then you have already experienced one of the effects of temperature danger zone causes.
Those who have less experience with food and cooking may often feel confused about temperature levels and ask- what is the temperature danger zone and freezing temperature?
Worry not, as we are here to talk about the danger zone of a temperature. After learning about it, hopefully, you will understand how you can stay safe from it.
What Is The Temperature Danger Zone?
The temperature danger zone is considered the range of temperature where bacteria tend to grow easily. Different organizations and policies have slight variations, but all of them put the approximate range between 40 degrees and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Though most people are not aware of it but making sure that your food does not get affected by the temperature danger zone is extremely important.
Insidious Side of Temperature Danger Zone
Food that gets exposed to temperature danger zone has higher chances of being affected by bacteria. And if you eat food that includes bacteria, it will have serious consequences for your health. The most common consequence is food poisoning.
Food poisoning has fairly common symptoms such as diarrhea, nauseous feeling, stomach pain, etc., and will put you in extreme discomfort. For children, the elderly, and those who suffer from existing stomach problems, food poisoning will be a serious issue that may have harmful consequences.
Food Items That Are Prone to the Temperature Danger zone
Some food items are more prone to danger zone than others. While cooking, storing, or managing these, you need to be extra careful. Below, we have listed some such food items
- Any type of meat and fish
- Deli meat and casseroles
- Most cheese items, especially soft cheese
- Baked goods that have cream or other fillings
- Raw seafood
- Crustacean seafood such as crabs and shellfish
- Plant-based items such as tofu, soy items
- Unpreserved and untreated garlic. Mostly wine and vinegar are used to preserve garlic.
- Raw vegetables and leafy greens
- Cut, peeled, and intact fruits
Food Safety Tips
Besides knowing the danger zone, you should also know about the necessary tips regarding how to keep foods safe. You can keep your food safe by being aware of some tips and taking some necessary precautions. Let us take a look at some tips below.
Fish, meat, and poultry always need to be cooked at a minimum temperature. Make sure they are cooked properly on the inside. If you are roasting them, maintaining a minimum temperature of 325 degrees Fahrenheit is generally recommended. To ensure a proper internal temperature, you can use a food thermometer.
Cook canned and packaged food before the ‘best before’ date stated. Eating expired processed food has been proven to make a lot of people sick.
Storing the Food Items
Even people who are aware of temperature danger zones tend to make mistakes when it comes to storing food properly. This section demands attention, so we have listed some points below.
- Storing foods properly can reduce the chances of bacteria growth and your chances of being affected by it.
- Raw food items should be refrigerated as soon as possible after they are purchased and brought home.
- An important thing to remember is you should never store hot meals or food that has been just cooked. Always store cooked and hot food items after it cools down properly.
- For cooling foods properly, putting them in shallow containers is recommended.
- Always makes sure that the food cools down evenly and consistently before refrigerating it.
- It is vital to make sure that liquid from raw food items does not come in contact with cooked and prepared food.
- We recommend that you wash and dry any raw fruit or vegetable thoroughly before storing it. Some grocers sell washed and cleaned fruits and vegetables. In that case, washing is not necessary.
Chilled food should always be reheated before consuming. If you are heating in a microwave oven, place the food in the center so that it is heated evenly from all sides. Just to be safe, you can always overheat the food a little.
If the food has been sitting in the refrigerator for some days, it is best to refrain from eating it and throw it out. If you do have to eat it, steaming or simmering on direct heat is recommended.
Keeping Everything Clean
Every item or utensil that deals with food need to be cleaned thoroughly. After cutting and storing raw food items, make sure you clean the utensils and cutlery that were used on it thoroughly.
Your refrigerator should also be cleaned from time to time so that it stays germ-free on the inside. Moreover, your kitchen also needs a thorough cleaning from time to time. After cooking food every time, do not forget to clean the utensil, counter, tools, cutting board, etc.
In addition to keeping your refrigerator clean, you should also make sure that a proper temperature is maintained for food storage. Generally, it is recommended to keep the temperature below 4 degrees Celsius.
Last but not least, we have some safety tips for you. If you have pets or children or both in the house, never ever keep raw food lying around. They may try to play with it or even try to eat it. For both pets and children, it can cause some serious consequences.
What Happens If I Eat Food That Possibly Had Bacteria In It?
At some point in our lives, we very likely have mistakenly consumed food that was exposed to dangerous temperature zones.
If you think that you may have eaten anything that has been exposed to bacteria, you should stay calm and observe your health conditions. Then if you feel uncomfortable, consult a medical professional or call for help immediately.
Even if you do consume food that has been exposed to bacteria, you may not get sick right away. In some rare cases, people do not get sick at all. In a situation like this, make sure you take a rest and take the necessary measures. Stay cautious and do not consume any more food that may be exposed to necessary bacteria.
After reading the article, we hope we have answered your question – what is the temperature danger zone. Always stay precautious and make sure your loved ones stay safe and healthy.