How long can you safely store ready to eat TCS food in a cooler at a temperature of 41°F or lower?
Explanation: The reason that we control the temperature of food is so that we can control the growth of the microorganisms within it. The microorganisms are what cause foodborne illness. Microorganisms multiply at a much slower rate in cold temperatures, but they still reproduce. Temperatures below freezing completely stop the growth of microorganisms, but it is not practical to keep all foods frozen all of the time. Science has determined that temperatures of 41°F and below slow down the growth of microorganisms enough to make it an ideal storage temperature. But because the microorganisms are still multiplying, the food should be served or thrown out within 7 days.