Imma just gonna get up on my soapbox here a minute:
I swear I think that people have a deeply sublimated death wish. You would think that with the recent focus on food safety and the numerous outbreaks of salmonella contamination folks would be more inclined to pay attention to their own food safety practices. I am forced to wonder how many of these food borne pathogen outbreaks can actually be attributed to people incorrectly storing and preparing food. I work for a major food company and am appalled by what I see as cavalier disregard for food safety - not in our products but in the actions of the EMPLOYEES with their personal foodstuffs. We go through yearly training in food safety but it seems that folks haven't figured out how to apply these teachings to their home lives.
Yesterday management provided us with a really nice pizza lunch as a 'thank you' for our hard work in serving one particularly large customer. It was delicious and appreciated and....left sitting out in the break room for hours. There were even pizzas left on the tables this morning from last night's delivery. And employees were still eating them. Prepared foods should not be left out unrefrigerated any longer than 3 hours (and even that is kind of gross) because as the hot food cools, it becomes a hospitable environment for microbes to use as culture media. Yes, the initial cook step killed off most microbes that may have been on the food but there are some thermophilic (heat-loving) microbes that don't care about that coupled with open access to the air and all of the air-borne microbes, your lunch has now become a veritable Las Vegas for the single-cellular set.
That is bad enough from employees in a food manufacturing plant but almost more disturbing was the 'Thanksgiving Luncheon' held today at the kids' preschool. Each classroom was assigned a side dish or dessert to bring and the Two Year Olds had canned corn and canned green beans. This was not a big deal until the administration requested that the canned veggies be brought opened in storage containers. Again, not a big deal but (and this is a BIG BUT), the numerous storage containers were left sitting on a table. Unrefrigerated. Yes, the contents went through a significant kill step during processing but the second that can is opened, all bets are off. I have never been so glad in all my life that my kids do not eat canned veggies. Or any veggies really but that's a different topic altogether.
So to borrow from the late and unlamented McDLT (?), keep the hot [stuff] hot, the cold [stuff] cold and enjoy your holiday dinners safely!