After food has been prepared it is important to cool it as soon as possible. Leftovers should be placed into shallow containers and refrigerated as soon as possible.
Bacteria grow quickly in the “danger zone” — between 40 degrees and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Don't keep cooked foods (such as meat, casseroles, vegetables, hard-cooked eggs, pasta and potato salads) at room temperature for longer than 2-3 hours. If cooked food sits out for more than 2-3 hours, you really should throw it out.
Re-heating won’t necessarily make food safe to eat. One type of bacteria makes a toxin that isn’t destroyed by short cooking times.
Keep reading to learn more about how to keep foods cold!