Highway to the Danger Zone

danger-zone-bbq-picHearing the words “Danger Zone” generally causes a catchy tune pop into mind; many people don’t immediately think about food temperatures. With Summer officially here, pool parties, Bar-b-ques, and picnics are a weekly occurrence. One main component of all these festivities, especially down here in the south is the sharing of food. Salads, especially chicken, potato, eggs salads are good options to provide some cooler eats in the summer heat.  Grilled meats, casseroles, and pies are staples, but still need to be handled with care. “The Danger Zone” in the food world refers to the temperature range in which bacteria most rapidly grow in food. This range is between 40oF – 140oF.  At first glance, this looks like a wide range.  What to take away from this: food grows bacteria most rapidly at room temperature. To cut down on bacteria growth, refrigerate food within 2 hours of being cooked or taken out of the fridge. For food outside with weather >90oF, refrigeration should happen within 1 hour. Stored leftovers should be reheated to a safe minimum internal temperature before eating again. Food left out all day should be discarded to avoid potential food related illness. So stay food safe this Summer so you can enjoy all the parties!