Microorganisms grow and reproduce quickly between the temperatures of 41° and 135°F (5° to 57° c). During the two-hour period in the TEMPERATURE DANGER ZONE (TDZ) , minimal growth and reproduction will occur especially if there is a neutral environment and protein source.
One important rule of food safety is to limit time that foods are in the TDZ. Keep foods refrigerated (below 41°F) until it is time to cook. Cool left over foods quickly following a proper procedure which includes cooling hot cooked food from above 135ºF to 70ºF or lower within two hours, and then cooling down to 41ºF or lower within an additional four hours, for a total cooling time of six hours.
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