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Get Out Of The Danger Zone: Dual Zone Wine Coolers And Keeping Perishables Safe

Temperature Safety Caution

We've all heard the old wives tales. Making soup with too much milk will cause it to turn. Leaving a bottle of wine in a hot car will turn it to vinegar. Everyone knows that keeping food at the right temperature is important, but convenience and procrastination usually stops us from making the right choices.

How many times have you seen someone defrosting chicken breast in the kitchen sink or storing sodas in a hot garage? Get to know the facts about your food and how to keep it safe for the health of your family.

What Is "The Danger Zone"?

Most people hear "The Danger Zone" and immediately think of Kenny Loggins and a young, aviator wearing Tom Cruise. Current and ex-food industry workers, however, will promptly recognize it as 41° - 140° Fahrenheit.

When uncooked food spends time between 41#176 - 140#176 F, otherwise known as room temperature, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and chemical imbalances. As a rule of thumb, all unprepared perishables should be kept cooler than 41° F and raised to a temperature higher than 140° F when cooking.

Freshly washed hands and surfaces are also an obvious rule. Sanitize any utensil used in preparing or cooking raw meat and give your hands another washing before touching another food. This will prevent cross contamination.

When serving food, make sure that it only stays at room temperature for 30 minutes. Any longer and new bacterias will start to form. Leave uncovered until it is cooled below 41° F, then cover it for storage.

Now that you know the basics about food storage and preparation, it's time to get specific. Many types of foods require specific temperatures and harbor their own dangers. Luckily, when cooked just right, they are all delicious!

Meats

  • Storage Temperatures:
  • Below 41° F
  • Cooking Temperatures:
  • Ground Beef - 155° F
  • Rare Beef - 130° F
  • Beef, Lamb, Seafood, and Pork - 145° F
  • Poultry - 165° F
  • Take special care when working with any poultry. Raw poultry can quickly and easily contaminate other foods with e coli and salmonella.
  • What's The Worst That Could Happen?
  • Food poisoning. Like just stated, poultry has a high likelihood of containing bacteria that is neutralized when cooked to the correct temperature. All of these meats, when kept at the improper temperature can cause nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps.
  • How To Store:
  • Freezer. For the safest thawing method, put in a container and place in the refrigerator for a couple hours or two days, depending on the size. If rapid thawing is needed, seal in an airtight bag and place in a sink under cold running water. Stagnant or warm water can cause bacteria to form. Dividing the meat in smaller portions when initially bought and stored in the freezer can also help speed the thawing process. Thawing in the microwave is considered safe as long as the meat is cooked immediately afterward.

Temperature Safety Chocolate Milk
Dairy

  • Storage Temperatures:
  • 33° - 80° F
  • Cooking Temperatures:
  • Below 180° F to prevent curdling. Lighter creams and skim milk run a higher risk of curdling during cooking.
  • What's The Worst That Could Happen?
  • Food poisoning. The same bouts of nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps can be caused by the mold that forms on out-of-date or poorly refrigerated dairy products. Dairy products curdled during cooking will have no bacteria and are not technically bad for you, as they are heated past the "Danger Zone", but they probably won't taste very good.
  • How To Store:
  • Refrigerator. Milk and cheese can also be safely frozen for a later date if you don't mind a little flavor and texture change.

Soda

  • Storage Temperatures:
  • Lower than 85° F.
  • Cooking Temperatures:
  • None. Cooking with soda will likely not cause issues.
  • What's The Worst That Could Happen?
  • Aspartame break down. Used commonly in diet sodas, Coca-Cola found in 1985 that when stored or heated above 85° F, aspartame decomposes into formaldehyde, methanol, and formic acid. And if that isn't enough to curl your toes, it also breaks down into diketopiperazine, an agent found in brain tumors.
  • How To Store:
  • Avoid prolonged high temperature storage. Room temperature is perfectly fine for soda, and even an hour or so in a hot car will be just fine. Simply make sure that aspartame containing soda isn't stored indefinitely in hot temperatures.

Temperature Safety NewAir AW-182ED
Wine

  • Storage Temperatures:
  • 55°, generally speaking.
  • Cooking Temperatures:
  • None. There should be no issues when cooking with wine, as the chemical reactions with the heat and ingredients create the desired flavor.
  • What's The Worst That Could Happen?
  • Premature aging. It's not something that will get you sick, but you still want to avoid it. High heats won't turn wine into vinegar (too much oxygen causes that issue), it can speed up the aging process and result in flavor loss. Storing wine at extremely high temperatures or humidity can produce chemical reactions that completely change the flavor, odor and color of the wine. Not too tasty, that's for sure.
  • Dual zone wine coolers. These handy devices provide two different cooling zones, one for storage and one for preferred consumption temperatures. A cellar might vary in temperature while a refrigerator might be too cold, which will stop the desired aging process.

Keeping food and beverages at safe temperatures will prevent health hazards to your family, but it will also make it taste even better! Instead of leaving some thawed chicken in microwave for an hour or storing a bottle of wine in the trunk of your car, take the extra step and store them properly. Everyone - including your taste buds - will thank you.

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