Originally Posted by RicaLynn
THANK YOU for that - I'd love to email this to my ex as vindication. He used to argue with me about this all the time, especially chicken dishes. He swore up and down they should be thoroughly
cooled to room temp before being put in the fridge, or they'd spoil and I'd give us both salmonella!
Actually, the best way to cool dishes if it is something that can be done this way, is to put the pan of hot food in the sink or in a larger pan or bowl in which you have placed cold water, preferably with ice cubes. Stir a couple of times for soups and such items. Depending upon volume, it should be cool enough to put in the refrigerator in ten or fifteen minutes. For foods you can't do that with, cool some at room temperature, then refrigerate. You don't want to put a large volume of food at a higher-than-room temperature in the fridge at once, or the load on the refrigerator will be so great that everything in it will be at too high a temperature and it will take too long to bring it all back down. But for a small volume, putting it in still quite warm shouldn't be a problem.
Salmonella poisoning comes from food being contaminated, then holding at unsafe temperatures for too long so the bacteria multiply. The usual rule of thumb is that cooked foods (like a turkey) should be left out unrefrigerated no more than a total of two hours. Less is better.