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The leading cause of food-borne illness is time and temperature abuse. Temperature abuse of food occurs when food is left at temperatures that are above 4°C (40°F) and below 60°C (140°F). This temperature range is commonly called The Danger Zone. Below are the temperatures you should know.
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|100°C (212°F)||Temperatures destroy bacteria but not all toxins and spores (e.g., Staphylococcus toxin is not destroyed).|
|60°C (140°F)||Most bacteria won’t survive. Minimum hot holding temperature.|
|49°C (120°F)||Rapid growth of bacteria and production of toxins by some bacteria.|
|37°C (98°F)||Optimal bacterial growth.|
|16°C (60°F)||Some growth of food-borne bacteria may occur|
|4°C (40°F)||Slow growth of some bacteria that cause spoilage may occur. Maximum temperature for refrigerated food and cold holding.|
|-18°C (0°F)||Freezer temperatures|
- Cool food from 60°C (140°F) within 2 hours to 20°C (68°F)
- 50°C (122°F) to 20°C (68°F) is the worst range for bacteria growth.
- Cool food from 20°C (68°F) within 4 hours to 4°C (40°F)