Bacteria Danger Zone
You should assume that all meat will contain several bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. The danger zone is any environment of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or more. This includes normal ambient temperatures. This is especially true outdoors, at picnics, camping and travel. Bacteria can grow at an exponential rate, often doubling in just 20 minutes.
Freezing and cooling temperatures
The freezer temperature should be set to at least 0 degrees. The refrigerator should be set at 35 degrees. At zero degrees, all bacteria will remain inactive, which means they will not multiply. At 35 degrees, the bacteria will multiply. This is why you should never leave the meat in the refrigerator for more than two days. Keep a thermometer in the freezer and refrigerator and check the temperature frequently.
Beware of thawing frozen meat
When thawing frozen steaks or roasts, allow them to thaw in the refrigerator, which should be set to about 35 degrees. Depending on the size, complete thawing may take from 1 to 3 days. Do not defrost at room temperature. The meat will defrost from the outside in. Therefore, the exterior can multiply bacteria, even if the interior is still frozen. Freezing causes the bacteria to become numb.
That said, the meat cooks best when it reaches room temperature. But never leave the meat at room temperature for more than an hour. If the ambient temperature exceeds 90 degrees Fahrenheit, never exceed one hour.
When traveling or camping
It is best to cook raw meat before leaving the house. Cool them and load them in cold weather. At temperatures over 40 degrees, bacteria can settle and start multiplying. Always pack them in a good quality refrigerator containing plenty of ice or gel. Always pack cooked meat in tightly sealed plastic bags to prevent water absorption. When reheating on a stove, heat the meat well so that the meat reaches a temperature that kills the bacteria.