As it goes with a lot of food safety issues, there's an ongoing debate among people about how to properly go about storing leftovers after cooking. On one side of the fence, there are people who believe that hot food shouldn't be stored in the refrigerator until it cools off a bit, while others believe that leftovers should be stowed away as soon as possible. Then there are some who figure that the food is probably just as safe either way, as long as it goes in the fridge at some point. So, as Oprah once said, what is the truth?
Well, according to a blog post shared by Stop Foodborne Illness — a nonprofit dedicated to, you guessed it, getting sick from what you eat — any leftover food should be transferred to a container and put in the fridge within two hours of being cooked. Their rationale: Even though the heat could eliminate bacteria, there's great potential for that bacteria to "reappear and reproduce" if the food is left out for too long.
That being said, the post also deems the 40-140°F temperature range the "danger zone," and advises everyone to make sure their refrigerators are set at 40°F or below so that bacteria doesn't have a chance of growing.
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