According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, most bacteria thrive at temperatures between 60o
F. The growth of microorganisms will be prolific unless other precautionary steps, such as marinating, have been taken to make the food unfavorable to bacterial growth.
It is important to note that we use the phrase "most bacteria". There exist certain cryophilic (cold-loving) bacteria and other microorganisms that can do nicely at temperatures below 60o
F. Likewise, our world has thermophilic (heat-loving) microorganisms that flourish at temperatures above 125o
F. For these reasons, more cautious experts place the danger zone between 40o
F - and some expand the temperature range even further.
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