Food Safety Issues/meatloaf

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Question
I,m cooking meatloaf Xmas eve night to take to my relatives on Xmas day. There us not room enough in my fridge to store it and I was wondering will it be OK to leave it on the counter,covered overnight?  Thank you

Answer
Hi Sylvia,

No, it is not recommended to leave potentially hazardous foods (meats, poultry, fish, etc) at room temperature over 4 hours because of the increase chances for quick bacterial growth.

PHF foods need to be kept refrigerated or hot in order to remain safe to consume.  When you leave it at room temperature for an extended period of time any bacteria that may be present have the perfect environment to grow.  And since you can't see, taste or smell these bacteria you can't tell if any bacteria is present.  All we do know is that leaving a food in the Danger Zone - 41 to 135 degrees F -- increases the chances exponentially for contamination.

You could keep the meatloaf in an ice chest that is filled with ice overnight.  As long as the internal temperature of the meatloaf remains at 41 degrees or below it will be safe to reheat and consume on Christmas day. When you are ready to serve the meatloaf, be sure to reheat it to a minimum of 165 degrees F.

Merry Christmas.

Carol

Food Safety Issues

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Carol Schlitt

Expertise

I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.

Experience

I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc - www.safeandsavorysolution.com

Organizations
National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

Education/Credentials
BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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