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Answered 2009-01-05 20:03:16

== == Potentially hazardous food should not be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Less time is better. If you know that the product temperature was in the 140°F to 70°F range for 2 hours or less, then the meat should be OK. If you have no idea how long the food was in that range, then you are putting everyone who eats it at risk for food poisoning.

Most pathogenic bacteria thrive at the same temperatures we like. Some of them form toxins that are not destroyed by heating.

People constantly ask for some type of verification that the food they eat will not make them ill. That is nearly impossible to do without bacteriological and chemical tests, so all we can do is provide guidelines, like:

* Handle food in a sanitary manner (wash hands, clean & sanitize food-contact surfaces, protect from cross-contamination, package & store properly) * Keep potentially hazardous food either hot or cold and cook and reheat thoroughly, and * Use it within a reasonable time. In the end, you are responsible for what you feed yourself and your family. This adage has truth to it: When in doubt, throw it out.

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