Food Safety Issues/No refrigerator

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Question
Dear Ms. Schlitt,

Recently, I saw a video about the dangers of eating foods that were cooked but left unrefrigerated. This might gross you out, but I work at a job where there is no refrigerator and I put my food in a container in my locker. It can be there for a few hours. I've done this because I live in New York City and to buy food is expensive. I've done this for a very long time and I haven't gotten sick.

Is there a reason I'm not sick? Or is there a potential illness building up in me that I'm not aware of?

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

David

Answer
Hi David,

When you leave foods that are supposed to stay either cold or hot in the "danger zone -- 41 to 135 degrees F" you increase the chances for food borne illness.  This is why it is recommended to not leave food at room temperature for an extended period of time.

Restaurants are allowed to leave hot foods at room temperature for up to 4 hours and cold foods up to 6 hours if the food does not go above 70 degrees F.  Since your food is only out a couple of hours in the "danger zone" you are probably within this time frame and thus have not experienced any ill affects from your unrefrigerated food.

There isn't a potential illness building up in you BUT please be aware that leaving foods at room temperature that should be kept cold or hot, does increase your chances that one day you might get ill from your unrefrigerated foods.

Happy Holidays.

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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