Why are baked potatoes considered a potential pathogen vector in food safety?
If baked potatoes are not properly washed, fork pierced (this isn’t always necessary), then wrapped in foil, and proper temperature is not maintained (below 40 and above 140 degrees F) Clostridium botulinum spores which are heat labile and anaerobic have a happy growing medium, especially if injected from the skin of the potato into the center of the potato. One question I always ask those I inspect, do you save your baked potatoes? If they say yes, I try and convince them not to, why take that, slim but deadly, risk? I haven’t come across one that keeps them though.
The spores produce the toxin which causes the foodborne intoxication. The toxin is destroyed at about 176 degrees F. We want to avoid having to worry about achieving that temperature and limit the growth of the spores themselves.