In advertising foodservice, understanding food safety and security temperatures is an essential to protecting her guests from foodborne illness. All operators and also food handlers space responsible for recognizing the importance of the temperature risk zone and also should be education to perform created food safety procedures. Keep reading to learn all around the food temperature danger zone, exactly how long food deserve to safely remain in the risk zone, and also the food safe temperature variety for hot and also cold food.

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What Is the danger Zone?

The danger zone describes the temperature selection in i m sorry bacteria expansion occurs most rapidly ~ above food. Follow to ServSafe recommendations, food temperatures in between 41 and also 135 levels Fahrenheit stand for this risk zone. Bacteria deserve to multiply at any type of temperature within the peril zone, however temperatures in between 70 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit carry out the most hospitable setting for bacteria to thrive. The much longer food sits in the temperature danger zone, the higher the threat that bacteria will thrive on the food.


Why Is the Temperature risk Zone Important?

When foods items are permitted to get in the temperature risk zone, bacteria may flourish to unhealthy levels and cause the food come spoil. Dangerous bacteria development like this may take place without any kind of visible indications that the food is unsafe because that consumption. Foods items may smell and appear normal, however could in reality contain harmful amounts of bacteria the will reason foodborne illness.

This is what makes the temp risk zone incredibly important. Together a food service professional, that your responsibility to keep foods items out the the risk zone by utilizing approved techniques to chill, heat, and also store foods.

What Is Time Temperature Abuse?

Time temperature abuse is the act of permitting foods to remain in the temperature risk zone the 41 come 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Along with cross-contamination, time temperature abuse is a common resource of foodborne illness. Foods items may come to be time-temperature abused in three ways:

Foods space not organized or stored at food safe temperaturesFood is not cooked or reheated to the temperature required to eliminate feasible pathogensHot food is no cooled properly before being inserted in cold storage

What room TCS Foods?

TCS represents time/temperature control safety. Foodstuffs that need strict time and temperature regulate are thought about TCS foods. Pathogens love TCS foods since they present perfect environment for germs to grow and spread. Avoiding TCS foodstuffs from beginning the danger zone and also becoming time-temperature abused is a critical food safety practice. These space the high-risk TCS foods that have to be closely monitored at all times:

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

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

ServSafe claims that 4 hours is the maximum size of time ready-to-eat foods items can continue to be in the temperature peril zone. After ~ the 4 hour limit, foodstuffs must it is in thrown away. In ~ the 4 hour time limit, foods can be consumed, reheated, or cool to carry them back to food for sure temperatures. Checking temps every 2 hours allows for a greater window to perform any corrective action that are necessary.

How to store Food out of the peril Zone

Kitchen thermometers space the crucial to keeping foodstuffs out of the temp risk zone. By monitoring and recording food temperatures regularly, you can prevent foods items from coming to be time-temperature abused. This is imperative while prepping, cooking, and holding food on her buffet heat or salad bar.

Follow these important tips to ensure you’re make the ideal use of your kitchen thermometers to keep food for sure for consumption.

Never depend on the temperature display of your equipment alone. Location a thermometer inside your refrigerator or freezer as secondary safety measure.Keep a written document of every temperature check that includes the temp, the time, and also the surname of the operator.Clean and calibrate thermometers often.Back come Top

Food stop Temperature

Once your food is cooked come the ideal internal temperature or chilled come 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below, it’s vital to maintain these for sure temperatures before serving. There room a number of instances in i beg your pardon foodservice specialists need to host food for extended periods of times. These instances might include holding food in salad bars and also buffet present or moving food come off-site locations and catering events.

When carrying food, the is encourage you use a food pan carrier or insulated catering bag to ensure your warm or cold foods items remain safe for consumption.

Cold stop Temperature

The cold holding temperature because that TCS foodstuffs must be in ~ 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Right here are part tips to properly host cold foodstuffs so they don"t fall into the risk zone:

Ensure your cold-holding tools keeps foods at 40 levels Fahrenheit and also below.Any cold food held without refrigeration is for sure for up to 6 hours, beginning from the moment it was removed from refrigeration at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and also below.Check the temperature of cold foods every 2 hours and also discard any kind of cold food the reaches a temperature that 70 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

How Cold walk a Salad Bar or Refrigerator have to Be to save Food Safe?

Salad bars and refrigerators need to keep temperatures at 40 levels Fahrenheit and below to avoid the expansion of danger bacteria. This is particularly important as you house delicate TCS foods including cheese, yogurts, meats, salad dressings, and egg products.

Holding Temperature For warm Food

The appropriate holding temp because that hot foodstuffs is 135 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Here are part tips to store hot foods out of the hazard zone:

Never use warm holding equipment to reheat food. Foodstuffs should be heated to safe temperatures before holding. Hot holding devices is designed to maintain current temps, not carry food approximately temp.When possible, save food extended to help maintain temperatures and keep contaminants out.Stir frequently to distribute warm throughout the food.Use the suitable thermometer to monitor food temperatures often.Discard warm food that has been sitting listed below 135 degrees Fahrenheit for an ext than 4 hours.Never mix freshly prepared food through foods currently being organized for service to avoid cross contamination.

How frequently Should I inspect the Temperature of warm or Cold holding Food?

It is recommended you check the temperature the your hot or cold stop food every four hours. However, if you inspect every 2 hrs instead, this enables enough time to take it corrective action in the occasion that food has fallen into the peril zone. By staying on optimal of your food’s inner temperatures, you have the right to prevent the spread of dangerous bacteria and eliminate food rubbish by simply re-heating or re-chilling the affected foods prior to bacteria has actually time come spread.

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Safe cooking Temperatures


To avoid the spread out of salmonella, staphylococcus aureus, listeria, and also other dangerous bacteria, it’s necessary to screen the interior temperature of the foods items you serve. Monitor the recommendations below for safe food preparation temperatures of common TCS foods.

Cook come 165 levels Fahrenheit for at the very least 15 seconds:

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

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

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

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

SeafoodSteaks and also chops (beef, pork, veal, lamb)Commercially elevated gameEggs native the shell, served immediatelyRoasts of beef, pork, veal, lamb (must be cooked for at the very least 4 minutes)

Cook to 135 levels Fahrenheit (no minimum time):

FruitsVegetablesRice, pasta, and other grainsLegumes

Click below to print a intuitive reminder that the safe cooking temperatures provided above:

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What perform You have to Know about Resting Time for Meats?

Before taking temperatures, it’s essential to note the remainder time of meat required when removing it from the grill, oven, or other warmth source. Throughout this time, the temperature will remain constant or proceed to rise. This process helps to destroy harmful germs.

How perform You swiftly Cool hot Foods?

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

If you"re prepare food ahead of time, friend must lug the temperature down to 40 levels Fahrenheit or below within 2 hours of hitting its ideal internal temperature.

Tips because that Cooling Hot foods items to Food safe Temperatures

Placing warm food directly into your refrigerator or freezer is never recommended because it threatens the food around it by raising the approximately temperature in your fridge or freezer. This creates the opportunity of other foodstuffs in her refrigerator or freezer beginning the temperature peril zone and also developing bacteria there is no you also knowing. Instead, monitor these tips for easily cooling your warm foods.

Store foodstuffs in shallow containers to allow the temperature come distribute an ext evenly.Create an ice cream bath by pour it until it is full a pot, container, or sink container with ice. Containers that hot foodstuffs can be placed in the ice cream bath to easily cool food to 40 levels Fahrenheit or below.

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Cold Food Storage

In addition to holding and also serving cold foods, it"s necessary to know just how long you can store cold foods prior to they end up being unsafe for consumption. Always date label your refrigerated foods and also use a first-in, first-out (FIFO) system. Usage this chart together a reminder of how long items have the right to be safely kept before they have to be discarded.

Food ItemRefrigerator (40°F)Freezer (0°F)
Bacon1 week1 month
Beverages3 weeks unopened, 7-10 work opened8-12 months
Cheese - difficult (Swiss)3-4 weeks6 months
Cheese - soft (brie)1 week6 months
Chicken, egg, macaroni, and also tuna salad3-4 daysDo not freeze
Cottage cheese1 weekDo not freeze
Dough - cookieUse through date2 months
Dough - pipe cans that rolls, biscuits, pizza doughUse by dateDo not freeze
Egg substitutes - opened3 daysDo no freeze
Egg substitutes - unopened3 days1 year
Eggs - new in shell3-5 weeksDo no freeze
Eggs - tough cooked1 weekDo no freeze
Fish - fatty (salmon)1-2 days2-3 months
Fish - lean (cod)1-2 days6 months
Ground meat - raw1-2 days3-4 months
Ham - totally cooked, slices3-4 days1-2 months
Ham - totally cooked, whole1 week1-2 months
Hot dogs - 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 not 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 business operator"s optimal priority to store the food they"re serving for sure for consumption. Adhering to these crucial tips and guidelines will certainly ensure her managers and also staff have the understanding to store food the end of the danger zone, take corrective action, and also keep customers for sure from harmful foods.