In commercial foodservice, knowledge food safety temperatures is crucial to protecting her guests from foodborne illness. Every operators and food handlers are responsible because that recognizing the importance of the temperature hazard zone and should be education to perform developed food safety procedures. Keep analysis to discover all around the food temperature peril zone, exactly how long food deserve to safely remain in the hazard zone, and also the food safe temperature variety for hot and cold food.

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What Is the danger Zone?

The hazard zone describes the temperature range in i beg your pardon bacteria growth occurs many rapidly on food. Follow to ServSafe recommendations, food temperatures in between 41 and 135 levels Fahrenheit represent this risk zone. Bacteria have the right to multiply at any type of temperature in ~ the risk zone, yet temperatures between 70 and also 125 degrees Fahrenheit administer the most hospitable setting for bacteria come thrive. The longer food sits in the temperature hazard zone, the greater the threat that bacteria will flourish on the food.


Why Is the Temperature risk Zone Important?

When foodstuffs are enabled to enter the temperature risk zone, bacteria may thrive to unhealthy levels and also cause the food come spoil. Danger bacteria expansion like this may take place without any type of visible signs that the food is unsafe for consumption. Foods items may smell and also appear normal, yet could in reality contain harmful amounts of bacteria the will cause foodborne illness.

This is what renders the temp hazard zone exceptionally important. Together a food company professional, that your duty to keep foods out of the risk zone by using approved approaches to chill, heat, and store foods.

What Is Time Temperature Abuse?

Time temperature abuse is the act of enabling foods to remain in the temperature hazard zone the 41 come 135 levels Fahrenheit. Along with cross-contamination, time temperature abuse is a common resource of foodborne illness. Foodstuffs may become time-temperature abused in 3 ways:

Foods are not held or stored in ~ food safe temperaturesFood is not cooked or reheated to the temperature required to eliminate possible pathogensHot food is not cooled properly before being inserted in cold storage

What are TCS Foods?

TCS means time/temperature manage safety. Foods that need strict time and also temperature manage are considered TCS foods. Pathogens love TCS foods due to the fact that they present suitable environment for germs to grow and spread. Avoiding TCS foodstuffs from start the peril zone and also becoming time-temperature abused is a an essential food security practice. These space the high-risk TCS foodstuffs that have to be closely monitored at every times:

Milk and dairy productsMeat and poultryFish, shellfish, and crustaceansShell eggsBaked potatoesCooked rice, beans, and also vegetablesTofu, soy protein, or various other plant-based meat alternativesSprouts and also sprout seedsCut tomatoes, melons, and also leafy greensUntreated garlic and also oil mixturesBack to Top

How Long can Food continue to be in the Temperature risk Zone?

ServSafe claims that 4 hours is the maximum length of time ready-to-eat foods can stay in the temperature danger zone. After ~ the 4 hour limit, foods items must be thrown away. Within the 4 hour time limit, foodstuffs can be consumed, reheated, or chilled to bring them ago to food for sure temperatures. Checking temps every 2 hours permits for a greater home window to perform any type of corrective actions that space necessary.

How to keep Food the end of the hazard Zone

Kitchen thermometers room the key to keeping foods items out that the temp risk zone. Through monitoring and also recording food temperature regularly, you deserve to prevent foods from coming to be time-temperature abused. This is command while prepping, cooking, and also holding food on your buffet line or salad bar.

Follow these necessary tips to ensure you’re do the ideal use of your kitchen thermometers to save food safe for consumption.

Never rely on the temperature screen of your tools alone. Ar a thermometer inside your refrigerator or freezer as secondary safety measure.Keep a written record of all temperature check that includes the temp, the time, and the name of the operator.Clean and calibrate thermometers often.Back to Top

Food holding Temperature

Once your food is cooked to the ideal internal temperature or chilled come 40 levels Fahrenheit or below, it’s vital to maintain these for sure temperatures before serving. There space a number of instances in i m sorry foodservice experts need to organize food for prolonged periods the times. These instances might include holding food in salad bars and buffet present or transporting food come off-site locations and catering events.

When transferring food, the is recommended you usage a food pan carrier or insulated catering bag come ensure your warm or cold foodstuffs remain safe for consumption.

Cold hold Temperature

The cold stop temperature for TCS foods must be at 40 levels Fahrenheit or below. Below are part tips come properly host cold foods items so they don"t loss into the risk zone:

Ensure her cold-holding equipment keeps foods items at 40 levels Fahrenheit and also below.Any cold food organized without refrigeration is safe for up to 6 hours, beginning from the time it was removed from refrigeration in ~ 40 levels Fahrenheit and below.Check the temperature of cold foods items every 2 hours and also discard any type of cold food that reaches a temperature the 70 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

How Cold go a Salad Bar or Refrigerator need to Be to save Food Safe?

Salad bars and also refrigerators require to maintain temperatures at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and below to avoid the development of danger bacteria. This is especially important as you house delicate TCS foods items including cheese, yogurts, meats, salad dressings, and also egg products.

Holding Temperature For warm Food

The ideal holding temp for hot foodstuffs is 135 levels Fahrenheit or above. Below are part tips to keep hot foods out that the hazard zone:

Never use warm holding equipment to reheat food. Foods items should be heated to for sure temperatures prior to holding. Hot holding tools is designed to maintain current temps, not lug food as much as temp.When possible, store food covered to help maintain temperatures and keep contaminants out.Stir frequently to distribute heat throughout the food.Use the ideal thermometer to screen food temperatures often.Discard warm food that has actually been sitting below 135 degrees Fahrenheit for much more than 4 hours.Never mix freshly prepared food with foods currently being held for service to prevent cross contamination.

How regularly Should I inspect the Temperature of hot or Cold hold Food?

It is recommended you check the temperature of your warm or cold stop food every 4 hours. However, if you check every 2 hrs instead, this allows enough time to take corrective activity in the occasion that food has actually fallen into the hazard zone. By staying on optimal of her food’s internal temperatures, you deserve to prevent the spread of danger bacteria and eliminate food garbage by merely re-heating or re-chilling the impacted foods prior to bacteria has actually time come spread.

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Safe food preparation Temperatures


To protect against the spread of salmonella, staphylococcus aureus, listeria, and also other danger bacteria, it’s necessary to monitor the internal temperature of the foods items you serve. Follow the recommendations below for safe food preparation temperatures of usual TCS foods.

Cook to 165 levels Fahrenheit for at least 15 seconds:

Poultry, entirety or groundStuffing made v poultry, meat, or fishStuffed pasta, meat, poultry, or seafoodAny food that includes a cooking TCS food

Cook come 155 degrees Fahrenheit because that at the very least 15 seconds:

Ground beef, pork, or other meatsFlavor-injected meatsTenderized meatsRatites (ostrich, emu)Ground, chopped, or minced seafoodEggs native the shell, hosted for service

Cook come 145 degrees Fahrenheit for at the very least 15 seconds:

SeafoodSteaks and chops (beef, pork, veal, lamb)Commercially raised gameEggs indigenous the shell, served immediatelyRoasts of beef, pork, veal, lamb (must be cooked because that at least 4 minutes)

Cook to 135 degrees Fahrenheit (no minimum time):

FruitsVegetablesRice, pasta, and other grainsLegumes

Click listed below to publish a visual reminder that the safe cooking temperatures noted above:

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What execute You should Know around Resting Time because that Meats?

Before acquisition temperatures, it’s crucial to note the remainder time of meat required when removing it from the grill, oven, or other warmth source. During this time, the temperature will remain continual or proceed to rise. This procedure helps to damage harmful germs.

How execute You quickly Cool warm Foods?

Many establishments and big commercial kitchens prepare dishes ahead of time for maximum performance in your kitchen. The food is then cooled down and also held till service. As soon as doing this, it’s important to cool the food quickly and safely so the it doesn"t linger in the danger zone for also long.

If you"re preparing food ahead of time, you must lug the temperature under to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or listed below within 2 hours of hitting its proper internal temperature.

Tips because that Cooling Hot foods items to Food for sure Temperatures

Placing warm food directly into your refrigerator or freezer is never ever recommended because it threatens the food roughly it by increasing the ambient temperature in your fridge or freezer. This creates the opportunity of other foods items in her refrigerator or freezer entering the temperature hazard zone and developing bacteria without you also knowing. Instead, monitor these advice for conveniently cooling your hot foods.

Store foods items in shallow containers to permit the temperature to distribute more evenly.Create an ice bath by pour it until it is full a pot, container, or sink container with ice. Containers that hot foods can be placed in the ice cream bath to quickly cool food to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

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Cold Food Storage

In enhancement to holding and also serving cold foods, it"s important to know just how long you have the right to store cold foods prior to they end up being unsafe for consumption. Always date brand your refrigerated foods and use a first-in, first-out (FIFO) system. Use this chart as a reminder of exactly how long items deserve to be safe kept prior to they need to be discarded.

Food ItemRefrigerator (40°F)Freezer (0°F)
Bacon1 week1 month
Beverages3 mainly unopened, 7-10 job opened8-12 months
Cheese - tough (Swiss)3-4 weeks6 months
Cheese - soft (brie)1 week6 months
Chicken, egg, macaroni, and tuna salad3-4 daysDo not freeze
Cottage cheese1 weekDo no freeze
Dough - cookieUse through date2 months
Dough - pipe cans of rolls, biscuits, pizza doughUse through dateDo no freeze
Egg substitutes - opened3 daysDo not freeze
Egg substitutes - unopened3 days1 year
Eggs - new in shell3-5 weeksDo not freeze
Eggs - hard cooked1 weekDo no freeze
Fish - fat (salmon)1-2 days2-3 months
Fish - lean (cod)1-2 days6 months
Ground meat - raw1-2 days3-4 months
Ham - completely cooked, slices3-4 days1-2 months
Ham - fully cooked, whole1 week1-2 months
Hot dog - opened1 week1-2 months
Hot dog - unopened2 weeks1-2 months
Luncheon meat - opened3-5 days1-2 months
Luncheon meat - unopened2 weeks1-2 months
Margarine4-5 months12 months
Mayonnaise - opened2 monthsDo no freeze
Milk1 week3 months
Poultry - cooked3-4 days2-6 months
Poultry - fresh, chicken or turkey1-2 days6 months
Prepared leftovers3-4 days2-3 months
Sausage - raw1-2 days1-2 months
Sausage - cooked1 week1-2 months
Steaks, chops, and roasts - raw3-5 days4-6 months
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It"s every food organization operator"s top priority to keep the food they"re serving for sure for consumption. Following these necessary tips and guidelines will ensure her managers and also staff have actually the knowledge to keep food the end of the hazard zone, take it corrective action, and keep customers for sure from harmful foods.