Food handlers and those responsible for food preparation must ensure that food is promptly refrigerated to avoid contamination by bacteria.
Foodborne illness causing bacteria can grow and multiply in perishable foods within two hours unless you refrigerate them, which is why food should never be left out of the fridge for more than 2 hours. In Summer when temperatures are particularly high, food should not be left out of the refrigerator for more than 1 hour.
Anyone involved in food preparation, whether at home or in a business must remember to refrigerate perishable foods within two hours because cold temperatures slow the growth of illness causing bacteria such as E.coli, Shigella, Listeria etc.
People should also remember at home or in restaurants to never thaw or marinate foods on the counter because bacteria can multiply rapidly at room temperature and thawing or marinating foods on the counter is one of the riskiest things you can do when preparing food for your family. For example if it takes all day to thaw out, bacteria have had an entire day at optimal temperatures to multiply on food and contaminate it. When it is consumed it may make people sick.
Another important consideration is that food is thrown out promptly. You can’t tell just by looking or smelling whether harmful bacteria has started growing in your leftovers or refrigerated foods so don’t keep food in the refrigerator for more than a day or two.
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