In commercial foodservice, expertise food safety temperatures is an essential to protecting your guests indigenous foodborne illness. Every operators and also food handlers room responsible for recognizing the prominence of the temperature risk zone and also should be educated to perform created food safety and security procedures. Keep analysis to find out all around the food temperature danger zone, just how long food can safely remain in the risk zone, and the food safe temperature selection for hot and cold food.

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What Is the hazard Zone?

The risk zone refers to the temperature selection in i m sorry bacteria development occurs most rapidly ~ above food. Follow to ServSafe recommendations, food temperatures in between 41 and 135 levels Fahrenheit represent this peril zone. Bacteria can multiply at any temperature in ~ the danger zone, yet temperatures in between 70 and also 125 levels Fahrenheit administer the most hospitable environment for bacteria to thrive. The longer food sit in the temperature risk zone, the higher the risk that bacteria will thrive on the food.


Why Is the Temperature danger Zone Important?

When foodstuffs are permitted to get in the temperature peril zone, bacteria may prosper to unhealthy levels and cause the food come spoil. Attention bacteria growth like this may occur without any visible indications that the food is unsafe because that consumption. Foodstuffs may smell and also appear normal, yet could in reality contain harmful amounts of bacteria that will cause foodborne illness.

This is what provides the temp danger zone incredibly important. As a food organization professional, the your responsibility to keep foods items out that the risk zone by using approved methods to chill, heat, and store foods.

What Is Time Temperature Abuse?

Time temperature abuse is the plot of permitting foods to remain in the temperature risk zone of 41 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Together with cross-contamination, time temperature abuse is a common resource of foodborne illness. Foodstuffs may end up being time-temperature abused in three ways:

Foods are not held or stored in ~ food safe temperaturesFood is no cooked or reheated to the temperature required to eliminate feasible pathogensHot food is not cooled properly prior to being inserted in cold storage

What are TCS Foods?

TCS stands for time/temperature control safety. Foods that require strict time and also temperature control are considered TCS foods. Pathogens love TCS foods since they present perfect environment because that germs to grow and also spread. Preventing TCS foodstuffs from start the danger zone and becoming time-temperature abused is a critical food security practice. These are the high-risk TCS foods that have to be very closely monitored at every times:

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

How Long can Food remain in the Temperature hazard Zone?

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

How to keep Food out of the peril Zone

Kitchen thermometers are the key to keeping foods items out that the temp hazard zone. By monitoring and recording food temperatures regularly, you deserve to prevent foodstuffs from ending up being time-temperature abused. This is command while prepping, cooking, and also holding food on her buffet line or salad bar.

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

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

Food holding Temperature

Once your food is cooked come the suitable internal temperature or chilled to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below, it’s necessary to preserve these safe temperatures before serving. There space a number of instances in i beg your pardon foodservice experts need to hold food for expanded periods that times. These instances can include stop food in salad bars and also buffet currently or moving food come off-site locations and catering events.

When transporting food, the is encourage you usage a food pan carrier or insulated catering bag come ensure your hot or cold foods remain for sure for consumption.

Cold holding Temperature

The cold holding temperature because that TCS foods must be in ~ 40 levels Fahrenheit or below. Below are part tips come properly host cold foodstuffs so castle don\"t loss into the peril zone:

Ensure her cold-holding tools keeps foods items at 40 levels Fahrenheit and below.Any cold food hosted without refrigeration is safe for approximately 6 hours, starting from the time it was removed from refrigeration at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and also below.Check the temperature of cold foods items every 2 hours and also discard any kind of cold food the reaches a temperature of 70 levels Fahrenheit or higher.

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

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

Holding Temperature For hot Food

The appropriate holding temp because that hot foods items is 135 levels Fahrenheit or above. Below are some tips to store hot foodstuffs out of the peril zone:

Never use warm holding tools to reheat food. Foodstuffs should be heated to for sure temperatures prior to holding. Warm holding tools is designed to maintain existing temps, not carry food as much as temp.When possible, save food spanned to assist maintain temperatures and keep contaminants out.Stir commonly to distribute warm throughout the food.Use the ideal thermometer to screen food temperature often.Discard warm food that has been sitting below 135 levels Fahrenheit for much more than 4 hours.Never mix freshly prepared food through foods already being hosted for organization to protect against cross contamination.

How regularly Should I examine the Temperature of warm or Cold holding Food?

It is encourage you check the temperature of your hot or cold hold food every four hours. However, if you inspect every 2 hrs instead, this allows enough time to take corrective action in the occasion that food has fallen into the risk zone. By continuing to be on top of her food’s internal temperatures, you deserve to prevent the spread of attention bacteria and also eliminate food garbage by just re-heating or re-chilling the impacted 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 danger bacteria, it’s crucial to monitor the internal temperature of the foodstuffs you serve. Follow the recommendations listed below for safe food preparation temperatures of common TCS foods.

Cook come 165 degrees Fahrenheit because that at least 15 seconds:

Poultry, totality or groundStuffing made v poultry, meat, or fishStuffed pasta, meat, poultry, or seafoodAny dish that includes a cooked TCS food

Cook to 155 levels Fahrenheit for at the very least 15 seconds:

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

Cook come 145 degrees Fahrenheit because that at least 15 seconds:

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

Cook come 135 levels Fahrenheit (no minimum time):

FruitsVegetablesRice, pasta, and other grainsLegumes

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

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What carry out You must Know about Resting Time because that Meats?

Before taking temperatures, it’s vital to note the remainder time the meat compelled when removing the from the grill, oven, or other heat source. Throughout this time, the temperature will remain continual or proceed to rise. This process helps to destroy harmful germs.

How perform You rapidly Cool hot Foods?

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

If you\"re preparing food ahead of time, girlfriend must bring the temperature down to 40 levels Fahrenheit or listed below within 2 hrs of hitting its appropriate internal temperature.

Tips for Cooling Hot foods to Food safe Temperatures

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

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

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Cold Food Storage

In enhancement to holding and also serving cold foods, it\"s crucial to know 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. Usage this chart together a reminder of just how long items deserve to be safely kept before they need to be discarded.

Food ItemRefrigerator (40°F)Freezer (0°F)
Bacon1 week1 month
Beverages3 weeks unopened, 7-10 job 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 not freeze
Cottage cheese1 weekDo not freeze
Dough - cookieUse by date2 months
Dough - pipe cans the rolls, biscuits, pizza doughUse by dateDo not freeze
Egg substitutes - opened3 daysDo not freeze
Egg substitutes - unopened3 days1 year
Eggs - new in shell3-5 weeksDo no freeze
Eggs - hard cooked1 weekDo not freeze
Fish - fat (salmon)1-2 days2-3 months
Fish - skinny (cod)1-2 days6 months
Ground meats - raw1-2 days3-4 months
Ham - fully cooked, slices3-4 days1-2 months
Ham - totally cooked, whole1 week1-2 months
Hot dogs - opened1 week1-2 months
Hot dogs - unopened2 weeks1-2 months
Luncheon meat - opened3-5 days1-2 months
Luncheon meats - 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 service operator\"s peak priority to store the food they\"re serving safe for consumption. Complying with these important tips and also guidelines will certainly ensure her managers and staff have actually the understanding to save food out of the risk zone, take corrective action, and keep customers for sure from harmful foods.