Time and temperature abuse occurs when the temperature of food is allowed to fall in the danger zone. The temperature danger zone is between 41 and 140 F. Food falls within the danger zone when it is undercooked, not held at the proper temperature, or not cooled or reheated properly.
Food that remains in the temperature danger zone has more time to grow harmful pathogens. In order to prevent this, the amount of time in which time and temperature abuse occurs should be minimized. Food that remains in the danger zone for more than four hours must be thrown out.