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If you require a rapid meal the takes small to no maintenance, a baked potato can be your finest option. They’re inexpensive, tasty, and also a healthy alternate to French fries and also hamburgers. However, if cooled improperly, this starchy vegetable deserve to yield unsavory results.

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Perhaps the most concerning repercussion of cooling a baked potato improperly is the potential growth of Clostridium botulinum, which is a team of bacteria the can reason botulism. Botulism is a serious condition that have the right to lead to paralysis and even death if left untreated. Symptom include an obstacle breathing and also swallowing, vomiting, blurred or dual vision, dry mouth, and baggy eyelids.

The an excellent news is that botulinum bacteria need a low-oxygen setting to grow and also thrive, which means that many food is for sure from botulinum bacteria. The bad news is that as soon as you wrap your potato in aluminum silver paper to bake, the potato is currently in a low-oxygen environment.

Is aluminum foil dangerous?

So walk that average your potato is going to offer you botulism if you chef it in believe foil? no necessarily. Aluminum foil helps the skin on your potato continue to be nice and soft, and it is safe to use as lengthy as you don’t enable your baked potato come cool under to a dangerous temperature while tho in the foil after cooking.

What room dangerous temperatures?

Your potato is in ~ a dangerous temperature once it is in between 41–135 degrees Fahrenheit. Food experts call this selection the temperature risk zone since within this temperatures, that is most basic for bacteria to main point to unsafe level on her food.

You need to be aware of the temperature her baked potato is at, yet you also need come be conscious of the amount of time you leave it out of the stove too. These two determinants are important since baked potato are considered to it is in a time/temperature control for safety (TCS) food. TCS foods, together they are typically called, are foods items that require attention come time and temperature, definition that you must be conscious of how long you leave a food out at room temperature and how you cook and also cool the food. It is essential to be mindful of TCS foods items because, if maintained in the temperature risk zone for four hours or more, TCS foodstuffs can prosper harmful quantities of bacteria top top them, producing foodborne illnesses.

What makes a TCS food?

There are 5 questions you should ask yourself when identifying a TCS food.

Does this food have actually a high or short acidity level?Bacteria grows much more readily on foods items with reduced acidity. Because that example, pineapple is very acidic, therefore bacteria will certainly be less likely to grow on it if you leaving it the end in the open up for a long time. Cantaloupe, however, has actually lower acidity and also will prosper unsafe level of bacteria if no refrigerated.How much moisture go this food contain?The an ext moisture a food has, the an ext likely it is to prosper harmful bacteria. Watermelon is one example of a food that consists of high moisture.How carry out the acidity and moisture interact with every other?You need to look in ~ both the humidity content and also acidity level with each other to determine if a food is taken into consideration a TCS food or not. Because that instance, although lemonade is high in moisture, it additionally has high acidity so it is not a TCS food. Tomato juice, however, has actually high moisture and also low acidity—the perfect mix to produce bacteria—making tomato juice a TCS food.Does that matter exactly how this food is heated and cooled?If the matters how you chef or cool the food, it might be taken into consideration a TCS item. Because that example, baked bread is no a TCS food. Girlfriend don’t must worry around how lengthy you leave it at room temperature, how you warmth it up, or how you cool that down. Chicken, ~ above the other hand, is a TCS food. The is necessary how you cook it and cool it down, and it renders a big difference even if it is or not you leave it the end on the respond to overnight.Does this food need to be packaged or save on computer in a particular way?Determine if over there is a special means (such as refrigerating) the you need to store the food in order to stop it from spoiling. If it needs a certain temperature through its packaging or storage, possibilities are it’s a TCS food.

If friend ask these 5 questions around a potato, you will more than likely note that uncooked potatoes perform not contain enough moisture to be a TCS food. When cooked, however, potato become a TCS food because their humidity level increases.

How have the right to I make certain my small potato is for sure to eat?

You want to be able to eat your potato there is no worrying if you space going to obtain food poisoning or botulism. Here’s just how you have the right to ensure that your small potatoes space safe come eat.

DON’T let her potato sit out in the open at room temperature for over four hours nevertheless of even if it is or not it is sheathe in aluminum foil. Back botulinum bacteria cannot prosper without the presence of aluminum foil, (or something that prevents the potato from being exposed come air) other bacteria deserve to still thrive on the potato if the is left the end at room temperature.DO serve potatoes instantly after baking them or keep them in the frozen refrigerator to keep your potato in ~ a for sure temperature. If you use aluminum foil, remove the foil directly after baking to avoid botulinum bacteria indigenous growing.DON’T place a small potato in the refrigerator v the aluminum silver paper still on it. Your potato will need to pass through the temperature risk zone as it cools down, and also if the aluminum foil is quiet on it, botulinum bacteria may have the potential come grow.DO eliminate the aluminum foil from her potato before storing that in the fridge.

By adhering to these guidelines, you deserve to feel confident that your next baked potato bar is a safe and also scrumptious success. Don’t be fear to usage aluminum foil—just remember that your potato demands to breathe too.

Learn much more food security tips in the centregalilee.com Food Handler Course.

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Editor’s note: This post was originally published in in march 2016 and has to be updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.