Originally Posted by Chef Dave
That would be great if this was true but all food have naturally occurring bacteria. Some bacteria are used to ferment foods like Creme Fraiche, sour cream, and yogurt. Others are less palatable and may be found at the time of purchase in raw eggs, meat, poultry, seafood, raw vegetables, greens, and uncooked rice.
Pathogens may develop as a result of poor time and temperature controls.
I will admit that under the conditions described, the probability that the food contained harmful pathogenic bacteria was minimal ... but when in doubt about food safety, it is always better to err on the side of caution.
Hi again Dave,
We are not talking about beneficial bacteria or spoilage bacteria or other organisms; we are talking about pathogenic bacteria and the finite number of food borne illnesses that they cause.
Pathogenic bacteria are killed at 160 F. Unless more are introduced by the home cook AFTER the soup cools below 140F, they can not be present.
There is the possibility of Clostridium Perfringens food intoxication in improperly stored prepared foods. This is caused by spores that survive the food prep process and then vegetate in anaerobic conditions. The ingested bacteria then form a toxin in the intestine which causes the disease. However, in order to happen, large amounts of bacteria must exist in the food product from the spoors and this takes time. This is why the FDA allows up to 6 hours to cool food with the potential for this disease to 41F.
Bacillus cereus is another possibility, although it is an aerobic spore former, and is found more in rice.
Both these bacteria, if present, would be killed upon reheating of the soup.
The real take away, in my opinion, is to reheat prepared foods when possible to at least 160 F.