In commercial foodservice, knowledge food security temperatures is critical to protecting your guests indigenous foodborne illness. Every operators and also food handlers room responsible because that recognizing the prestige of the temperature peril zone and should be educated to perform developed food security procedures. Keep reading to discover all around the food temperature risk zone, exactly how long food can safely stay in the peril zone, and also the food safe temperature variety for hot and also cold food.

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What Is the hazard Zone?

The risk zone describes the temperature selection in i beg your pardon bacteria expansion occurs many rapidly top top food. Follow to ServSafe recommendations, food temperatures in between 41 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit represent this peril zone. Bacteria can multiply at any kind of temperature in ~ the hazard zone, yet temperatures between 70 and also 125 degrees Fahrenheit administer the most hospitable atmosphere for bacteria to thrive. The longer food sits in the temperature danger zone, the higher the risk that bacteria will thrive on the food.


Why Is the Temperature peril Zone Important?

When foodstuffs are permitted to get in the temperature hazard zone, bacteria may flourish to unhealthy levels and cause the food to spoil. Danger bacteria expansion like this may happen without any kind of visible indicators that the food is unsafe because that consumption. Foods may smell and also appear normal, yet could actually contain harmful quantities of bacteria that will reason foodborne illness.

This is what makes the temp danger zone very important. As a food business professional, it’s your duty to keep foodstuffs out of the risk zone by using approved approaches to chill, heat, and also store foods.

What Is Time Temperature Abuse?

Time temperature abuse is the act of allowing foods to continue to be in the temperature danger zone the 41 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to cross-contamination, time temperature abuse is a common source of foodborne illness. Foods may end up being time-temperature abused in three ways:

Foods are not hosted or stored at food safe temperaturesFood is no cooked or reheated to the temperature compelled to eliminate possible pathogensHot food is no cooled properly prior to being put in cold storage

What room TCS Foods?

TCS stands for time/temperature regulate safety. Foods items that call for strict time and also temperature control are considered TCS foods. Pathogens love TCS foods since they present an ideal environment because that germs to grow and also spread. Staying clear of TCS foods items from beginning the risk zone and becoming time-temperature abused is a critical food safety practice. These room the high-risk TCS foods that need to be closely monitored at every times:

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

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

ServSafe claims that 4 hrs is the maximum size of time ready-to-eat foods can stay in the temperature hazard zone. After the 4 hour limit, foods items must be thrown away. In ~ the 4 hour time limit, foodstuffs can it is in consumed, reheated, or chilled to bring them earlier to food safe temperatures. Checking temps every 2 hours enables for a greater window to perform any type of corrective actions that are necessary.

How to save Food out of the peril Zone

Kitchen thermometers space the an essential to keeping foodstuffs out of the temp danger zone. By monitoring and recording food temperatures regularly, you can prevent foods items from becoming time-temperature abused. This is imperative while prepping, cooking, and holding food on your buffet line or salad bar.

Follow these necessary tips come ensure you’re making the finest use of her kitchen thermometers to keep food for sure for consumption.

Never depend on the temperature screen of your tools alone. Location a thermometer inside her refrigerator or freezer as an additional safety measure.Keep a written record of all temperature checks that includes the temp, the time, and also the surname of the operator.Clean and also calibrate thermometers often.Back come Top

Food hold Temperature

Once your food is cooked to the appropriate internal temperature or chilled come 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below, it’s essential to maintain these for sure temperatures before serving. There space a variety of instances in i beg your pardon foodservice experts need to host food for extended periods of times. This instances could include hold food in salad bars and also buffet currently or transferring food to off-site locations and catering events.

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

Cold hold Temperature

The cold hold temperature because that TCS foods items must be at 40 levels Fahrenheit or below. Below are part tips come properly organize cold foods items so lock don"t fall into the hazard zone:

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

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

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

Holding Temperature For warm Food

The proper holding temp for hot foods is 135 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Below are some tips to keep hot foods items out that the peril zone:

Never use hot holding devices to reheat food. Foodstuffs should it is in heated to for sure temperatures before holding. Warm holding devices is designed come maintain existing temps, not lug food as much as temp.When possible, save food spanned to aid maintain temperatures and also keep contaminants out.Stir generally to distribute warmth throughout the food.Use the ideal thermometer to monitor food temperatures often.Discard warm food that has been sitting below 135 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 4 hours.Never mix freshly prepared food v foods currently being held for business to prevent cross contamination.

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

It is encourage you check the temperature that your warm or cold stop food every 4 hours. However, if you inspect every 2 hours instead, this allows enough time to take corrective action in the occasion that food has fallen right into the danger zone. By continuing to be on optimal of her food’s inner temperatures, you can prevent the spread out of dangerous bacteria and eliminate food waste by just re-heating or re-chilling the influenced foods before bacteria has time come spread.

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Safe cooking Temperatures


To stop the spread out of salmonella, staphylococcus aureus, listeria, and other attention bacteria, it’s essential to monitor the inner temperature the the foods items you serve. Monitor the recommendations listed below for safe cooking temperatures of typical TCS foods.

Cook to 165 levels Fahrenheit because that at the very least 15 seconds:

Poultry, entirety or groundStuffing made with poultry, meat, or fishStuffed pasta, meat, poultry, or seafoodAny dish that has a cook TCS food

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

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

Cook to 145 degrees Fahrenheit because that at the very least 15 seconds:

SeafoodSteaks and chops (beef, pork, veal, lamb)Commercially raised gameEggs indigenous the shell, offered immediatelyRoasts that beef, pork, veal, lamb (must it is in cooked because that at the very least 4 minutes)

Cook come 135 levels Fahrenheit (no minimum time):

FruitsVegetablesRice, pasta, and also other grainsLegumes

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

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What execute You must Know around Resting Time for Meats?

Before acquisition temperatures, it’s vital to note the rest time of meat forced when removing the from the grill, oven, or other warm source. Throughout this time, the temperature will remain continuous or continue to rise. This procedure helps to destroy harmful germs.

How carry out You swiftly Cool warm Foods?

Many organizations and big commercial kitchens prepare dishes ahead of time because that maximum performance in your kitchen. The food is climate cooled down and held until 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 suitable internal temperature.

Tips because that Cooling Hot foods to Food safe Temperatures

Placing hot food straight into her refrigerator or freezer is never ever recommended due to the fact that it endangers the food around it by elevating the ambient temperature in your refrigerator or freezer. This creates the possibility of other foods in her refrigerator or freezer entering the temperature risk zone and also developing bacteria without you also knowing. Instead, monitor these tips for conveniently cooling your warm foods.

Store foods in shallow containers to permit the temperature come distribute much more evenly.Create an ice bath by filling a pot, container, or sink container with ice. Containers that hot foods can be put in the ice bath to conveniently 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 important to know exactly how long you can store cold foods prior to they end up being unsafe because that consumption. Always date label your refrigerated foods and also use a first-in, first-out (FIFO) system. Use this chart as a reminder of how long items can be safe kept prior to they need to be discarded.

Food ItemRefrigerator (40°F)Freezer (0°F)
Bacon1 week1 month
Beverages3 main unopened, 7-10 days opened8-12 months
Cheese - hard (Swiss)3-4 weeks6 months
Cheese - soft (brie)1 week6 months
Chicken, egg, macaroni, and also tuna salad3-4 daysDo no freeze
Cottage cheese1 weekDo no freeze
Dough - cookieUse through date2 months
Dough - pipe cans that rolls, biscuits, pizza doughUse through dateDo no freeze
Egg substitutes - opened3 daysDo not freeze
Egg substitutes - unopened3 days1 year
Eggs - fresh in shell3-5 weeksDo no freeze
Eggs - tough cooked1 weekDo not freeze
Fish - fatty (salmon)1-2 days2-3 months
Fish - skinny (cod)1-2 days6 months
Ground meat - raw1-2 days3-4 months
Ham - totally cooked, slices3-4 days1-2 months
Ham - fully cooked, whole1 week1-2 months
Hot dogs - opened1 week1-2 months
Hot dogs - unopened2 weeks1-2 months
Luncheon meats - opened3-5 days1-2 months
Luncheon meats - 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 also roasts - raw3-5 days4-6 months
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It"s every food service operator"s peak priority to keep the food they"re serving safe for consumption. Adhering to these essential tips and guidelines will ensure your managers and also staff have the knowledge to save food the end of the risk zone, take it corrective action, and also keep customers for sure from harmful foods.