Certain Pies Dangerous At Room Temperature

Elizabeth S. Reames, Claesgens, Mark A.  |  11/10/2007 3:44:10 AM

Holiday News You Can Use Distributed 11/09/07

The holidays are time to enjoy special desserts you may only make once a year. To prevent getting foodborne illness, refrigerate pies containing eggs and milk, such as pumpkin, custard and cream pies, according to LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames.

Safely bake these foods to at least 160 degrees, cool and refrigerate. When the pies are ready to eat, remove them from the refrigerator, slice, serve and return leftovers right away to the refrigerator. According to the American Egg Board, pecan pie also should be refrigerated and not left at room temperature for more than two hours.

Eggs and milk have high protein and moisture content. Bacteria can multiply rapidly when foods containing these perishable items are left at room temperature. Holiday cakes, cookies and breads with perishable fillings or frosting also should be refrigerated.

Commercial pumpkin pies have preservatives and other ingredients added to make them shelf-stable. They may be displayed and stored at room temperature, but once cut, they should be refrigerated. Check the label on commercially baked pies for storage requirements.

Avoid perishable foods that are not kept either cold (or hot). Cold foods are safe if kept below 40 degrees in bowls of ice or returned often to the refrigerator. Hot foods are safe if kept above 140 degrees in a chafing dish, a slow cooker or on warming trays.

For related stories about holiday food safety, visit the LSU AgCenter homepage at www.lsuagcenter.com. Also, contact the LSU AgCenter extension agent in your parish.

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On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: www.lsuagcenter.com

Source: Beth Reames (225) 578-3929, or breames@agcenter.lsu.

Editor: Mark Claesgens (225) 578-2939 or mclaesgens@agcenter.lsu.edu

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