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Most civilization know that cooking food is crucial step in food safety. Yet what around cooling food? Cooling gets less attention than cooking, however it can be every little bit as important.

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The FDA has specific regulations because that cooling food safely. This regulations space often referred to as the two-stage cooling process since they’re normally taught to food employees as 2 stages. Expertise the regulations are crucial for all food handlers.

Two stage cooling method

The FDA recommends the food it is in cooled from 135°F come 41°F (57°C come 5°C) in six hrs or less. This time limit helps avoid dangerous bacteria growth. Yet the indict don’t finish there. The FDA Food Code has actually one additional rule: Food have to be cooled indigenous 135°F to 70°F (57°C to 21°C) in two hrs or less. In this range, bacteria can twin in as little as 20 minutes. The faster food passes through this temperature range, the better. Food workers have the rest of the six hrs to take it food v the continuing to be temperature hazard zone, native 70°F under to 41°F (21°C come 5°C).

This entire cooling process is often referred to as the two-stage cooling process. Part food workers discover it choose this:

Stage 1: Cool food indigenous 135°F come 70°F (57°C to 21°C) in two hours.Stage 2: Cool food native 70°F come 41°F (21°C come 5°C) in 4 hours.

Training food workers

Breaking up cooling guidelines into two stages deserve to make them easier to remember. On the various other hand, food workers who discover the accuse as 2 stages could misunderstand some things around the regulations. Because that instance, part food workers might mistakenly take one hour to cool food in stage 1 and take 5 hours to cool food in stage 2 (which is as well long). Various other food workers can forget the they don’t should start the clock on your cooling till food start the Temperature peril Zone at 135°F (57°C). Discovering to appropriately train employee on cooling techniques is integral to food manager training.

Just learning the regulation doesn’t average food workers will certainly follow them. The best way to ensure proper cooling is come make sure food workers know the reasons behind the rules. It all starts through the temperature risk zone.

The temperature peril zone

Bacteria grow ideal in food in the temperature variety between 135°F – 41°F (57°C – 5°C). This variety is so reliable for bacteria expansion that it’s dubbed the temperature hazard zone.

As food is cooled, that passes through the temperature risk zone, providing bacteria time come multiply. If left out to cool, cooked food can come to be unsafe in a issue of hours. The cooling step offers bacteria a chance to multiply to danger levels—if bacteria development isn’t managed while food cools. That’s why the FDA guidelines are so effective. These guidelines ensure the food passes through the temperature peril zone conveniently so bacteria don’t have a possibility to make food unsafe.

Proper cooling methods for food

It can be tricky to cool a big batch of hot food. Techniques for cooling can assist take the warm out of the situation.

Separate food into smaller portions. A big pot of hot food placed right into the fridge can come to be dangerous. The food in the center of the pot will cool much more slowly than the food around the edges. Rice is a details danger for this scenario because it holds warmth so well. Instead, separate food into containers that space 4 customs deep or less.Cover food loose while the cools. This lets warmth escape much more easily while food cools in the fridge. If food is defended from pollution from above, it have the right to be left uncovered while it cools.Stir loosened foods. Stirring is no an choice for some foods, prefer casseroles, yet for loose foods it have the right to be helpful to also out cooling.Use an ice bath. Surround a container the food v ice water. Ideally, the water level should sit above the top level the the food.

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Suzanna Sandridge

Editor’s note: This write-up was initially published in September 2014 and also has to be updated for freshness, accuracy, and also comprehensiveness.