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Tristan

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I'm having an argument where people are saying basically that food (stew and soups were used as an example) if left in a sealed container on the counter to cool down to room temperature before being bunged in the fridge would be rendered unsafe.

Due to bacterial growth. And that this is just an unsafe practice. Food needs to be refrigerated promptly to prevent spoilage.

I call bullsh!t. With the exception of foods with raw or barely cooked ingredients (sashimi, ceviche, home smoked tuna), is this actually a problem? Letting cooked untainted food sit for 2 or 3 hours before going into the fridge will make it a food safety threat?

Hope you professionals that handle food on a daily basis will chime in.
 

goodchef1

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total standard HACCP temperature danger zones are between 41 and 141 degrees for 4hrs.(tiny variables) at this rate, bacteria and other harmful organism multiply at a rate of double every 20min. ie: 200,400,800 etc. sealed oxygen depleted environments will help with prolonging this, as sous vide is relatively new and in only in its testing stage with DOH, they will keep it at this time frame.

our bodies sit right between these temperatures 98.6, which is why we are human bacteria breeding grounds, and easily transfer contamination to food and/or other substances.

my personal opinion is that I would plunge it in ice water to rapidly bring the temperature down. it is just not a wise practice at the moment. If consumers are putting their trust, and health in your hands, I would take better precautions with proper handling of food
 

Vertigo

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Professionally, I move all products like that into pans at a depth no taller than 2" and refrigerate uncovered immediately, covering when chilled. At home... well, I think you can be a bit more relaxed.
 

wenus2

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That's fine at home, but not at work.
Stew is a good example because it's one of those things that, even if you put it straight into the fridge, the center may still be in the danger zome beyond 4 hrs due to it'd density. IMHO the proper thing to do is a combination of the 2 answers you already have, transfer to a shallow pan and ice bath (or blast chiller). Throw it in the fridge once temp gets down to 40F.

At home I generally just let things cool on the counter for a few hours before going into the fridge. Your chance of contamination is lower st home though, and you are only putting yourself (and family) at risk, not dozens of customers.

Whenever possible it's also a good idea to reheat this stuff to a solid (homogeneous) 165F and hold for a few minutes as well.
 

Eamon Burke

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Bottom line: you've got two hours to get it down to 75 degrees, then 4 hours to get it down below 40.

Yes, this does ruin some foods, quality wise.

Over two hours in the "danger zone"(41-135F), it's trash.
 

tk59

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I'm glad the pros take such extreme precautions for their patrons' well-being. It is true that the rate of reproduction is amazing, too. In all practicality though, there are so few little guys in a freshly boiled stew it would probably take a full day to even see the smallest of colonies develop on the surface even on a warm day. Another thing to seriously consider for a home cook is our fridges (I don't know about industrial fridges.) will generally require a very long time to recover if you stick a big pot of hot stew in the fridge. I'd say it is far more dangerous to be unaware that a bunch of things you're storing for a while in your fridge are getting warmed up for an extended period.
 

JohnnyChance

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I'm having an argument where people are saying basically that food (stew and soups were used as an example) if left in a sealed container on the counter to cool down to room temperature before being bunged in the fridge would be rendered unsafe.
It would unsafe.

Due to bacterial growth. And that this is just an unsafe practice. Food needs to be refrigerated promptly to prevent spoilage.

I call bullsh!t. With the exception of foods with raw or barely cooked ingredients (sashimi, ceviche, home smoked tuna), is this actually a problem? Letting cooked untainted food sit for 2 or 3 hours before going into the fridge will make it a food safety threat?
Yep, bacterial growth. Moisture and warmth, they will breed. What makes it untainted? The container, the air, you, all add bacteria.

Leave it out on the counter uncovered in a shallow container until it is done steaming, then go into the fridge with it. Leaving a metal ladle or spoon in it will help heat escape and stirring it will also help cool it down evenly. When it is cool, put the lid on it. Having the lid on where condensation is forming on the underside actually makes things worse.

Like TK said, a big pot of stew can raise the temp of your fridge at home quite a bit. In pro kitchens it isn't as much of an issue because the fridge is so much bigger, the ratio of size of food item to size of fridge is more favorable. Ice baths and ice wands also help.
 

Vertigo

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Having the lid on where condensation is forming on the underside actually makes things worse.
Seriously! There's nothing I hate more than popping the lid off some leftovers and finding it covered in condensation. Don't trap heat in the things you're trying to cool down. Yak.
 

kalaeb

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I would dare venture the vast majority of food borne illness are not from restaurants as most people claim.

The majority of the time the public is practing unsafe food handling techniques at home (leaving product to cool on the counter, cross contamination etc), then going out to eat, getting sick and making the correlation of getting sick being the result of the last place they ate.

I would also assume, due to the care the food service professionals exercise here within this forum with their tools that they also take similar care with HACCP procedures. I would eat at any restaurant of any chef here knowing that.

It is unsafe to leave food to cool at room temperature. Rapid cooling is ideal...it needs to be to <41 degrees in 4 hours.

They really need to go back to mandatory home economics in high school. It is amazing to see how some people cook.
 

goodchef1

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I would dare venture the vast majority of food borne illness are not from restaurants as most people claim.

The majority of the time the public is practing unsafe food handling techniques at home (leaving product to cool on the counter, cross contamination etc), then going out to eat, getting sick and making the correlation of getting sick being the result of the last place they ate.

I would also assume, due to the care the food service professionals exercise here within this forum with their tools that they also take similar care with HACCP procedures. I would eat at any restaurant of any chef here knowing that.

It is unsafe to leave food to cool at room temperature. Rapid cooling is ideal...it needs to be to <41 degrees in 4 hours.

They really need to go back to mandatory home economics in high school. It is amazing to see how some people cook.
Very true, harmful organisms have an incubation period of 72hrs. Meaning that the cause of someone getting ill right after they have eaten something could be trace back as far as what they ate 3 days prior.
 

tk59

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...It is unsafe to leave food to cool at room temperature. Rapid cooling is ideal...it needs to be to <41 degrees in 4 hours.

They really need to go back to mandatory home economics in high school. It is amazing to see how some people cook.
Huh? Are you saying that you think you're gonna get sick if you make a stew (boiled) and leave it to cool for four hours?
 

Ichi

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Use pizza as an example, very delicious for breakfast after sitting out all night long. :thumbsup2:
At the restaurant we follow our HACCP Plan for Ensuring Food Safety.
Cooking at home, four hours on the stove cold, reheat and just eat it ! :cooking2:
 

SpikeC

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I have read that it can be anywhere from a few hours to a week for different types of illness to appear.
 

ajhuff

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Use pizza as an example, very delicious for breakfast after sitting out all night long. :thumbsup2:
At the restaurant we follow our HACCP Plan for Ensuring Food Safety.
Cooking at home, four hours on the stove cold, reheat and just eat it ! :cooking2:
reheat cold pizza?? :scratchhead:

-AJ
 

kalaeb

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Huh? Are you saying that you think you're gonna get sick if you make a stew (boiled) and leave it to cool for four hours?
Possible not, but the problem is that many people will leave it to cool for four hours on their counter at which point it may drop to 80 degrees, then maybe put it in refridgeration taking another 2 to 3 hours to get to below 41 degrees. Making the total time in a temperature that harbors bacteria 6 to 8 hours and that is simply irresponsible in a food service setting. If you want to do it at home feel free, but when you are feeding hundreds of people you darn well better take as many precautions as possible to prevent bacteria growth. Likely or not. It never said that every time food does not reach 41 degrees in four hours that it will become a bacteria haven, but the risk and probability certainly increase, why not error on the side of caution.

The assumption that I hear all to often is when people tell me their kitchen is always clean and sanitary, or they just had it deep cleaned, or there could not possible be any harmful bacteria in my kitchen...to believe this is an error.
 

Ichi

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reheat cold pizza?? :scratchhead:

-AJ
I never reheat cold pizza.
My wife makes a Thai soup and puts chicken legs in and we have left that sit on the stove over night and just reheat and eat it, never been sick from it...hmmm but then again some of the stuff I have seen Thai`s eat would make a-lot of people :puke:
 

Vertigo

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I wont eat the leftover pizza if it sat out all night. There's something really, really wrong with that idea.
 

Eamon Burke

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I wont eat the leftover pizza if it sat out all night. There's something really, really wrong with that idea.
Guilty as charged, cold pizza for breakfast was standard issue in my late teens.

You know what they say, pizza is like sex. When its good, its REALLY good. And when it's BAD.........its still pretty good.
 

Vertigo

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Don't get me wrong--I prefer pizza cold. I've ordered pizza and just tossed it straight into the fridge upon delivery.

Just no counter-pizza. Imagine all the hours it spends there kinda festering, while microbial ne'er-do-wells stumble all over it and get stuck in the gurgling, lukewarm cheese like dinosaurs in the tar pits... no thank you sir! AND A GOOD DAY TO YOU!
 

Ichi

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Standard practice in college was to roll out of bed, grab the half-full can of warm beer from last night, then snag a piece of pizza from the box on the counter, Breakfast of champions.
Cold pizza, warm beer. Priceless :beer:
 

Eamon Burke

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Don't get me wrong--I prefer pizza cold. I've ordered pizza and just tossed it straight into the fridge upon delivery.

Just no counter-pizza. Imagine all the hours it spends there kinda festering, while microbial ne'er-do-wells stumble all over it and get stuck in the gurgling, lukewarm cheese like dinosaurs in the tar pits... no thank you sir! AND A GOOD DAY TO YOU!
Actually, it's like McDonalds buns...they dry out so fast, they don't harbor molds and bacteria--I've seen 3 month old pizza and it just looks dried out. The only real problem is that the fat congeals and leaves a filmy taste in your mouth. Of course, that's what the warm beer is for.
 

swarfrat

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...they dry out so fast, they don't harbor molds and bacteria--I've seen 3 month old pizza and it just looks dried out....
Ah, reminds me of my "lucky" pizza.

Basically, just a last slice nobody in the group wanted, boxed up and tossed in the trunk of my car. And then promptly forgotten for a couple weeks.

When I eventually found it I peeked in the box expecting some microbial horror show but like you said, it just dried out, totally mummified, looked the same as the night I got it.

So of course I tossed it right back in the trunk (in the name of science).

Checked up on it every once in a while. It never changed. Drove around with it for years.



sr.
 

MadMel

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Ideally, you could vacuum pack your food. There's a small, home use machine on sale at Tangs Orchard and Isetan Shaw.

What I usually do is to bring it to a boil and leave it there, covered. No probs.. Boil again before you eat it the next day.. So far that's what I've been doing at home and what my grandparents have been doing at home.. We haven't had anything happen to us... If you want to keep it for a long period of time, I'd use the rectangular plastic take-away boxes you get from hawkers that charge an extra 20 cents for take-away, put you food in those and chuck them in the freezer. I find that that is the perfect size for storing in the home fridge and for rapid cooling.
 

FryBoy

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A pot of stew or soup that has been simmering on the stove, covered, is necessarily sterile as it's bee cooking at or near boiling temperatures for 20 minutes to several hours. Given that fact, explain to me exactly how leaving the covered pot to cool on the stove or counter would result in contamination. Spontaneous generation?
 

ajhuff

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A pot of stew or soup that has been simmering on the stove, covered, is necessarily sterile as it's bee cooking at or near boiling temperatures for 20 minutes to several hours. Given that fact, explain to me exactly how leaving the covered pot to cool on the stove or counter would result in contamination. Spontaneous generation?
Bureaucracy. :D

-AJ
 

Eamon Burke

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The air. The air in the pot, the air seeping through the lid. There was a Mythbusters episode where they put toothbrushes all over a bathroom and one in the kitchen and they all grew fecal cauliform bacteria, even the brush that was unused and in another part of the building, cause it's just everywhere.

It's also about risk control--that kind of practice opens a channel for something to contaminate it without anyone knowing--a fly weasels it's way in, a person sneezes in it's direction, etc.

If you have to do it, and are controlling it's environment, and plan on re-heating it, or the customers are notified of it's risks, you can get away with pretty much anything...you just have to be careful. There's a whole section in a health dept license for sushi chefs because it's pretty much breaking every rule ever to make any kind of sushi.
 

ajhuff

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The air. The air in the pot, the air seeping through the lid. There was a Mythbusters episode where they put toothbrushes all over a bathroom and one in the kitchen and they all grew fecal cauliform bacteria, even the brush that was unused and in another part of the building, cause it's just everywhere.

It's also about risk control--that kind of practice opens a channel for something to contaminate it without anyone knowing--a fly weasels it's way in, a person sneezes in it's direction, etc.

If you have to do it, and are controlling it's environment, and plan on re-heating it, or the customers are notified of it's risks, you can get away with pretty much anything...you just have to be careful. There's a whole section in a health dept license for sushi chefs because it's pretty much breaking every rule ever to make any kind of sushi.
+1, especially the risk management part.

-AJ
 

FryBoy

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Don't your pots have lids? Those on mine seal very tightly as the pot cools.
 
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