Also known as the two-hour rule.
Pathogenic microorganisms reproduce by cell division. One becomes two. Two become four. Small numbers of pathogens may be present in foods, but they pose a very low risk to consumers, especially if the food is cooked. However, when low acid and high protein available foods (neutral or alkaline pH) are abused by placing them in the TEMPERATURE DANGER ZONE (TDZ) (41° to 135°F) for more than two hours, pathogens will have multiplied to such high levels in the food, eating this food will make people ill rapidly.
Restricting the time low acid and high protein foods stay in the TDZ to two hours or less prevents growth of large numbers of pathogens.
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