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The danger zone

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

This might sound a bit odd but how did they (in this case the CIA since my textbook is from their company) find out that the danger zone is 40 - 140 (f)? How does 1 degree (39) change the concept of food turning? Am I to assume that if I stored my food at 39 degrees it is safe, but all of a sudden at 40 it will turn? How was this range determined?

post #2 of 15

Zane. ! This is only a number given as a basic guideline . They had to use something. I never keep anything at 40 ,all my temps are below. A freezer or frozen is 32 or below according to society, yet you can't hold ice cream at this temp. it should be 10 below. For me 140 is not good I prefer higher . Every product you have really requires a different temp be it dairy, poultry, meat,fish etc and a different location in fridge. Look in one of your culinary school books it will sometime suggest IDEAL temps for the individual products. Good question though.

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Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #3 of 15

they payed some scientist way toooo much money to culture bacteria at different temperatures and see how fast they replicate. According to the servesafe manual, bacteria really doesnt reproduce for about 5 to 6 days in 42 degree temperatures. And being under 40, the bacteria will still grow in refrigeration, until you hit about 10 and it's frozen. It will just take a longer period of time. 

post #4 of 15

Remember....the governments job is too ensure panic and hysteria.

OMG my celery is at 43 degrees.....

Margaret......I'm commin home!!!!

post #5 of 15

I am not so sure that the government's role is to induce panic. Perhaps the guideline is to provide some clarity as to what is safe and what may be dangerous. Without some guidance (bureaucratic or otherwise) there would finger-pointing and blame.

 

To respond to the OP, there is not a magical switch that suddenly turns bacteria reproduction off and on. Instead, the temperature suggested through ServSafe is, again, the acceptable range to prevent rapid growth and to keep bacteria at safe levels.

 

 

Quote:
According to the servesafe [sic] manual, bacteria really doesnt reproduce for about 5 to 6 days in 42 degree temperatures.

I hate to disagree, but I have been instructing ServSafe for several years and have never come across this statement. I think it is dangerous to imply that bacteria are completely dormant at that temperature. To clarify, food that has been mishandled, especially during cooling, will become unsafe, in most cases, well before the 5 day window stated above, even if stored at 42 degrees. The ServSafe guideline is for storage of cold food is below 40 and hot food held above 135.

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Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

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post #6 of 15

Jim, the chart in the book I am looking at shows the growth rates at different temperatures. At 42 degrees, the growth is so minute it does not register on the chart. As I said, growth will happen, but at such a slow rate that, compared to 95 degrees where the bacteria is already in death phase after two days, 42 degrees will make it through a few days. I believe it is in chapter two, on the bottom of the page. I was simply trying to illustrate that 1 degree will not end the world, but it is a gooood idea. Please, feel free to correct me if I am mistaken, as I am a student and much appreciate the learning experience that all of the chefs here have provided since I joined. I apologize if what I meant was not appropriately understood. 

post #7 of 15

If I'm not mistaken, the Food Code 2009 has revised the "danger zone temperatures" to read:

 

41°F>???>135°F

 

If you'd like to read a summary of changes, see: http://www.bryancave.com/files/Publication/298877f3-f771-4cb2-9c39-85250360d2ee/Presentation/PublicationAttachment/ef7695e6-91f1-4d8a-8ce0-85ea139525fe/FDA%20Food%20Code%202009-Summary%20of%20Changes%20Since%202005.pdf

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post #8 of 15

Aric, I think what we are saying is the same thing... The temperature range notated in ServSafe dictates growth, rapid growth and end-states (lag/log/death phases) of bacteria. I agree, one degree is not significant, but as temperature increases during cold storage, bacterial growth increases, often exponentially.

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Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

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post #9 of 15

It's all about handling and storing food safely.  The fact that we are serving food to the general public and are accountable for every morsel we send out puts a huge responsibility on us to make sure everything we sell is safe.  If not we are looking at lawsuits and worse. 

 

I'm incredibly picky when it comes to food safety and I've always been that way even before I started working in this business.  Knowing what I do now after taking the food handlers course and working in this business  has just made me even more picky.  My mother in law while I love her to bits drives me crazy with how she thaws meat.  She puts it in the dishrack in the sink... and yes puts clean dishes right beside it. Ack!  When we're there and I see it I take it out, clean the dishrack and put whatever she is thawing into a water bath.  I think all of my inlaws think I'm whacked but at least I know I'm not going to poison anyone who comes for dinner. 

 

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post #10 of 15

She's certainly not alone, Leeniek. If we started listing how our mothers and grandmothers handled food we'd all be spitting up in the corner. But, of course, what is done at home, even what is acceptible at home, is not the same as what's acceptible in a commercial kitchen.

 

Zane and Aric, the thing to understand is that there are no universal, this is absolute truth, points. But we must have standards. So, no, 1 degree, per se, isn't going to make much practical difference. What the danger zone deliniates is the area of rabid growth and most likely toxic danger.

 

As has been pointed out, this is not the same as the ideal holding temperature for each type of food. That takes us into the area of food quality, however, which is not always the same issue as food safety.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #11 of 15

revised the "danger zone temperatures" to read:

 

41°F>???>135°F

 

Pete, maybe I'm going blind. I easily found the reference to a changed lower temperature (which now reads "41F or below"), but couldn't find any reference to the high end changes. Do you know where in that link I can?

 

Something for the students to keep in mind: You can never go wrong by being more strict than the law allows. In this case, for instance, if you continue thinking in terms of 40-140 you'll never get in trouble.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #12 of 15

I agree KYH.. can you imagine if commercial kitchens operated the way people do at home?  I read somewhere that most cases of foodborne illness take place in the home and are thought of as the stomach flu instead of.. wow I just gave myself food poisining 

 

My mom was pretty good when it came to handling food.. funny too.. she hated cooking with a passion.  My dad was horribly fussy when it came to what he would and would not eat so she had her work cut out for her with him.  He hated fish and all fowl and all he would eat was beef and that was limited to roast beef and hamburgers so she had little to work with when it came to food.  I got him to eat mac and cheese when I came home with a recipe from school for homemade mac and cheese (before that we ate kraft krap) and they'd let me make it now and then.  My mom was good at opening cans... I didn't have real pasta until my teens when I went to my bff's place and her nona had always a pot of sauce and pasta on the stove ready to eat.  Until then everything for me was chef boyardee, canned beans and weiners and kraft krap.  Fish was fish sticks or frozen battered fish and only at lunch because my dad would gripe about how the kitchen reeked of fish.  When I moved out and she'd come over to eat she'd marvel at how good everything was and well..when you're used to eating canned food the real stuff will blow you away.

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post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

revised the "danger zone temperatures" to read:

 

41°F>???>135°F

 

Pete, maybe I'm going blind. I easily found the reference to a changed lower temperature (which now reads "41F or below"), but couldn't find any reference to the high end changes. Do you know where in that link I can?

 

Page 8, fourth bullet from the bottom (*&%^(@#$ system won't let me type below the quotation!)

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post #14 of 15

Got it, thanx.

 

Ya know, I looked at that three or four times and skiped over it each time. Betcha if I hadn't been looking for it it would have jumped right out.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

Got it, thanx.

 

Ya know, I looked at that three or four times and skiped over it each time. Betcha if I hadn't been looking for it it would have jumped right out.


Yeah, I only found it by "searching" for 135

Chef,
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