FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

How Long to Keep Leftovers?

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English: These are e Coli.

English: These are e Coli. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A good article on keeping leftovers.  Other good advice:  Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold – the rule reads:  Don’t let food sit out at room temperature for more than two hours – so store at <40 degrees F. or >140 degrees F.  Some bacteria like E. coli can divide quickly.  For example, the number of E. coli cells progresses from 1 cell to 2 million cells in a mere 7 hours. Their generation or doubling time is only 20 minutes, i.e., if you ate a hamburger with one pathogenic E. coli cell at 8:00 p.m. this evening, two cells would be present at 8:20 p.m. , 4 cells by 8:40 p.m. and 8 cells by 9:00 p.m.  You get the picture – by 3:00 a.m you would have over 2 million cells under optimal conditions.  For Staphylococcus aureus, another foodborne pathogen, the generation time is 30 minutes. So it becomes obvious that food storage is of utmost importance.  Invest in a refrigerator thermometer – they are inexpensive and reassure you that your refrigerator is keeping the proper 40 degree F. temperature.  I’m paranoid so  I have two.  Source:   Jeffrey Pommerville, Alcamo’s Fundamentals of Microbiology, 8th Edition. 

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