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Some foods flourish bacteria an ext easily and also quickly than other foods. These foodstuffs are recognized as time/temperature manage for security (TCS) foods since they require details time and also temperature controls to avoid unsafe bacteria growth. These foods items are sometimes dubbed potentially hazardous foodstuffs (PHFs) since they come to be hazardous if your bacteria growth is not controlled.

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Recognizing TCS foods and knowing exactly how to properly manage them is an important factor of food safety. This post walks v all the basics that TCS foodstuffs to assist you learn much more about them and know just how to store your client or guests safe. Recognizing TCS foods and also knowing how to properly handle them is an essential responsibility because that both food managers and also food handlers.

What is a TCS food?

Some foodstuffs are much more vulnerable to pathogen growth 보다 others. TCS foods items are foods items that:

Have high carbohydrate and protein levelsAre neutral or contempt acidicContain moisture

Most typical TCS foods

The most usual TCS foods include:

Meat productsEggsFish and also shellfishDairyCream or custardCooked vegetablesPotato dishesProtein-rich plantsRaw sproutsCut irpari greensCut garlic in oilSliced melons and tomatoes

Why TCS foodstuffs can be dangerous

Bacteria need just three points to grow: food, moisture, and warmth. Tiny amounts that bacteria development in TCS food space not a problem, however too much can reason foodborne illness. TCS foods have the nutrients and moisture bacteria need to grow. Add time and warmth to the mix, and these foods can come to be bacteria breeding grounds.

Time is an important part of bacteria growth. When bacteria have food, warmth, and also moisture, your numbers can double every twenty minutes. After 4 hours, many TCS foods will have a high sufficient bacteria count that they become dangerous come eat.

The temperature the TCS foods items can additionally encourage bacteria growth. The temperature selection between 41° and 135° Fahrenheit creates conditions for fast bacteria growth. This temperature range is so fine suited for bacteria the it’s dubbed the temperature risk zone. TCS foodstuffs in the temperature hazard zone will grow bacteria quickly and also can easily end up being hazardous.

How to store TCS foods safe

TCS foods items can be maintained safe by minimizing the time they spend in the temperature danger zone (41–135° F). When food is in the temperature danger zone, pathogens grow and multiply at a fast rate and also can do food unsafe come eat.

In restaurant service, the 2 most common ways the controlling virus growth room time and temperature controls.

How long can food be left out?

TCS foodstuffs that room ready-to-eat can be safely consumed in a four hour window. If they have not to be temperature controlled, they must be discarded after four hours. Hot held and also cold held foods items can be offered for 4 hours without temperature controls if they space discarded after ~ the four-hour time limit.

Cold foods items can be offered for six hrs as lengthy as the food temperature stays below 70° Fahrenheit. Discard cold food that warm to end 70° Fahrenheit. If you perform not regularly check the temperature of cold food that is no temperature controlled, you have to throw it far after 4 hours.

The temperature danger zone

To avoid dangerous growth, TCS foodstuffs are kept out that the temperature danger zone or moved through the quickly. Food temperatures are regulated with freezing, refrigeration, or holding. Food is refrigerated or frozen till it is ready for service. If needed, cook TCS foods can it is in safely cooled for later use by utilizing the two-step cooling method. Ready-to-eat TCS dishes have the right to be hot held above 135° or cold held listed below 41° Fahrenheit.

There space times when TCS foods will pass through the temperature peril zone, such together warming and cooling. In order come keep foods items safe, perform your finest to minimize the moment food spends in the temperature danger zone.

Cooling foods

When cooling foods, the FDA Food code recommends a two-stage cooling process. First, the food should be cooled from 135° to 70° levels Fahrenheit in two hours or less. Second, the food have to be cooled native 70° come 40° Fahrenheit in four hours or less. Total cooling must not exceed six hours.

Large batches of food, such as a big pot the stew, have to not it is in cooled in one large container in a refrigerator. Doing for this reason does not enable the food to cool rapid enough and also keeps the food in the temperature hazard zone for too long and permits pathogens to thrive to an unsafe level.

An inexpensive way to appropriately cool large batches of food is to divide it into smaller containers. Save the containers uncovered while cooling to stop extra moisture, yet be certain to sheathe it as soon as it has actually finished cooling.

Warming foods

When reheating foodstuffs that will certainly be warm held, the food need to be heated come 165° Fahrenheit or higher. Foodstuffs should with 165° F in two hours or less. Because foods should be reheated in a rapid manner, it is important to use appropriate cooking or rethermalizing devices such together a microwave, stove, or oven. Execute not attempt to reheat food for warm holding in warming trays or various other hot-holding equipment because these tools will not warmth up the food quick enough and also will permit pathogens come grow.

These methods of time and also temperature manage effectively stop bacteria growth. With great controls, bacteria growth can be limited and TCS foods kept safe.

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Suzanna Sandridge

Editor’s note: This write-up was initially published in October 2016 and also has been updated because that freshness, accuracy, and also comprehensiveness.