A bulletin board just inside the entrance of Caudell Hall on the SUNY Buffalo State campus asks the following questions:
1. When reheating your leftovers, what should the minimum internal temperature be?
2. How many days should you keep your takeout or doggie bag?
3. What is the safest amount of time food can be left out of the fridge?
4. What is the ideal temperature for your refrigerator?
Here are the answers, according to Lori Till, a SUNY Buffalo State food safety instructor and associate professor in the school’s Hospitality and Tourism Department:
1. Whether using a stove or microwave, you want to reheat to temperatures to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. You can ensure the internal temperature with a bimetallic stemmed thermometer (they cost about $10). Let microwaved food sit for a minute before taking the temperature, and stir your food to avoid cold spots.
2. The federal Food and Drug Administration food code recommends two to three days, depending on the food.
3. The restaurant industry takes food temperatures at least every two hours and reheats food if the temperature is in “the danger zone,” the range between 45 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on the food, heating at 140 degrees or higher kills microorganisms.
4. 45 degrees or less.
Till also shared the following list of some common potentially hazardous foods, which, according to the state Health Department, need to be heated to the following standards to eliminate the risks of microorganisms:
• Poultry, turkey, duck; meat, seafood or poultry that has been stuffed; or pasta with one of these meats: Temperature should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds after cooking.
• Ground beef, pork, other meat or fish, injected meats: Temperature should be 158 degrees for 15 seconds after cooking.
• Roasts of pork, beef, veal and lamb: Because they’re more dense, temperature should be 150 degrees for 4 minutes after cooking.
• Fish, shellfish, crustaceans, steak/chops of pork, veal, lamb, eggs that will be served immediately: Temperature should be 145 degrees for 15 seconds after cooking.