Pies, other foods could be dangerous at room temperature

Richard Bogren, Reames, Elizabeth S.

News Release Distributed 11/10/09

Pies traditionally are served at most Thanksgiving feasts. To prevent food-borne illness, refrigerate pies such as pumpkin, custard and other cream pies containing eggs and milk, says LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames.

You must safely bake these foods to at least 160 degrees, cool them quickly and refrigerate them, she says. When they’re ready to eat, remove them from the refrigerator, remove as many slices as you need, cover the remaining pie and return it to the refrigerator.

According to the American Egg Board, pecan pie, which contains eggs, also should be refrigerated and not left at room temperature for more than two hours.

“Eggs and milk have high protein and moisture content,” Reames says. “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, the LSU AgCenter nutritionist says. They may be displayed and stored at room temperature. Once cut, they should be refrigerated. Check the label on commercially baked pies for storage requirements.

“Leftover fruit pie, which typically is prepared without eggs, can be covered and stored on the counter for up to two days,” Reames says. “For best quality, refrigerate. In a warm climate like ours, we recommend to always store fruit pies in the refrigerator.”

To prevent food-borne illness, avoid perishable foods that are not kept either cold or hot, she warns.

On buffets or similar serving situations, cold foods can be safe if kept below 40 degrees in bowls of ice or replaced often from the refrigerator. Hot foods must be kept above 140 degrees in a chafing dish or slow cooker or on a warming tray.

For additional food safety information, contact the LSU AgCenter office in your parish.

Rick Bogren

11/10/2009 8:23:38 PM
Rate This Article:

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture