Fat Tom

Many people speak about food and the danger zones and this is an easy way to remember it, Fat Tom. The reason pantry products are shelf stable is because of their low humidity. Keep basic physics in mind and when you think of bacteria bear in mind that not all bacteria needs oxygen to kill you.

In oil you can preserve but at the same time you can create a field of bacteria where they will multiply much more quickly than you think. Take garlic in a jar where there is no oxygen and it the water moisture content could be enough for anaerobic bacteria to grow given the right conditions of temperature are present you can get botulism. A good way to prevent food bacteria in preserves is to use a pressure cooker. Lastly, when it comes to meats, many of us rest it at room temperature and bear in mind that holding meats or foods at temperatures of 4ºC to 50ºC for more than two hours is a good basis for protecting yourself. When cooking it all changes, so when you finish your chicken your internal temperature should be 60ºC, a minimum of 35mins of cooking time.

F = Food and bacteria needs proteins and carbohydrates to multiply.

A = Acidity is the ph range where bacteria can survive and too acidic or basic and the proteins denature.

T = Temperature, too cold the bacteria sleeps and too hot they die

T = Time and time is key, more time to multiply the more dangerous

O = Oxygen is critical to help bacteria multiply or not such as in the case of anaerobic bacteria

M = Moisture is water and scientists measure water activity to measure the freely available water in a material needed to grow bacteria. A value of 0.85 or greater is enough for bacteria to multiply.