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Milk curdles and cheese gets moldy, but what about butter? Many world leave a rod of butter ~ above the counter without reasoning twice around it. Others religiously keep their butter in the fridge after every use.

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So who’s right? walk butter go bad if you leaving it out?

Butter is no a TCS food

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Dairy is among the major food groups categorized as a Time/temperature regulate for safety and security (TCS) food. TCS foods items can it is in dangerous come eat if not preserved at the exactly temperature because that the correct amount that time. Dairy products should be stored in ~ 41 levels Fahrenheit (5°C) or lower to stop bacterial growth. If a dairy products product is in a temperature greater than 41 degrees for 4 hours or more, it need to be thrown out.

Butter, however, appears to it is in the exemption to the rule. According to areport by the FDA, pasteurized butter is no a TCS food, meaning it walk not have to be refrigerated to save it safe.

But if butter is make from cream, a dairy product, why have the right to it it is in left out? One word: pasteurization.

Pasteurization lowers bacteria counts in the cream to safe levels, and also then once the butter is made, its physics properties safeguard it from bacterial growth. Bacteria need water to grow. Butter is composed mostly the fat (at the very least 80%) and also water. The water contents is fairly high, yet due come the churning process, water molecules are separated and surrounded through fat, i m sorry is almost impenetrable come bacteria. Also if bacteria do obtain to the water, lock don’t spread quickly to various other pockets that water due to the fat. Also, bacteria are also less likely to flourish on salted butter.

Other components in butter storage

So room those human being who refrigerate their butter just paranoid? Well, there room other factors to take into consideration in butter storage:

When butter is left out, it can easily end up being contaminated with aspects in the atmosphere such together dust and TCS foods. When butter i do not care contaminated with TCS foods, it additionally becomes a TCS food.After a certain amount that time, the water molecule will interact with the fat in the butter, which leader to the decomposition that fats, a processacceleratedby lightthat reasons butter to end up being rancid and lose its new taste. This process of decomposition can be slowed by spanning or refrigerating butter.Unpasteurized or any type of homemade butter is thought about a TCS food. Just pasteurized, advertising butter deserve to be left out.As an extra precaution, it is recommended because that commercial kitchens to store all butter refrigerated.

How long have the right to butter sit out?

Butter, like all food products, will certainly spoil eventually. There is still a debate regarding how lengthy butter deserve to sit ~ above the counter before going bad. For best quality, save butter in a covered dish and use it in ~ 10 days. Friend can likewise refrigerate or freeze butter to extend its shelf life.

To sum up, friend don’t should panic if her cookie cooking recipes calls because that butter in ~ room temperature. And also if you like to save the butter the end to store it soft and also spreadable, you’ll be fine as lengthy as you save it covered and also use it in ~ a couple of days. However if you like to save your butter rock-solid and also fresh in the fridge, that’s okay too.

Learn an ext about TCS foods and other food safety and security tips in our food handlers training.

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— SophieBuckner

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2015 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and also comprehensiveness.