Originally Posted by FrankZ
I am curious on what people's thoughts are on this.
I just got done making a rather large meatloaf (like a 9x13x2 baking dish).
How long would you let it sit on the stove covered in foil before sticking it in the fridge? Too soon and this thing is a large source of heat that can effect other things already in there, too late and it can get bad for you.
It was baked at 350F for a little over an hour and is topped with Indiana Tomato Gravy*.
*That's just plain old ketchup but some here might get the joke.
A couple of points that don't seem to have been mentioned. In order to get foodborne illness there needs to be pathogenic bacteria present in the food. Cooking foor at 350 for an hour will generally kill almost all types of organisms. The exception being some spore formers that might be associated with things like rice.
So one possibility is that you, as the cook and server, have contaminated the food after cooking with some pathogenic organism. This has a reasonably low probability in most households if reasonable precautions are taken (ie, don't cook with an infected finger).
So the chance of getting a foodborne illness from home AFTER cooking is not real high. However, food spoilage will begin almost immediately so proper storage will help preserve the quality of the leftovers.