Leaving food out too long at room temperature can cause bacteria (such as Staphylococcus aureus,Salmonella Enteritidis,Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Campylobacter) to grow to dangerous levels that can cause illness. Bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 41 °F and 135 °F, doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes.
This range of temperatures between 41 °F and 135 °F  is  called the “Danger Zone.”
Thermometer Danger Zone - California food handler

Thermometer Danger Zone – California Food Handler

 

Time as a Public Health Control

Time – maximum up to 4 hours

Temperature control is used as the public health control for a working supply of TIME/TEMPERATURE CONTROL FOR SAFETY FOOD before cooking, or for READY-TO-EAT TIME/TEMPERATURE CONTROL FOR SAFETY FOOD that is displayed or held for sale or service:
(1) Written procedures shall be prepared in advance, maintained in the FOOD ESTABLISHMENT and made available to the REGULATORY AUTHORITY upon request that specify:

  • If time without temperature control is used as the public health control up to a maximum of 4 hours:
  • The FOOD shall have an initial temperature of 41ºF or less when removed from cold holding temperature control, or 135°F or greater when removed from hot holding temperature control;
  •  The FOOD shall be marked or otherwise identified to indicate the time that is 4 hours past the point in time when the FOOD is removed from temperature control;
  •  The FOOD shall be cooked and served, served at any temperature if READY-TO-EAT, or discarded, within 4 hours from the point in time when the FOOD is removed from temperature control;  and
  • The FOOD in unmarked containers or PACKAGES, or marked to exceed a 4-hour limit shall be discarded.
  • If time without temperature control is used as the public health control up to a maximum of 6 hours.

A FOOD ESTABLISHMENT that serves a HIGHLY SUSCEPTIBLE POPULATION may not use time as the public health control.



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More detailed information about food safety can be found at FoodSafety.Gov and at the FDA US Food and Drug Administration website.

 

If you are seeking Texas Food Handler Training you can purchase a course for only $7
If you are seeking Utah Food Handler Training you can purchase a course for only $22
If you are seeking California Food Handler Training you can purchase a course here.
If you are seeking Illinois Food Handler Training you can purchase a course here.

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Utah Health Department
288 N 140 W
Salt Lake City, UT 84116

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Texas Department of State Health Services
1100 W 49th St
Austin, TX 78756

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Ohio Department of Health
246 N. High St.
Columbus, Ohio 43215
614-644-7416


Arizona Department of Health Services
150 North 18th Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85007