TEMPERATURE DANGER ZONE 5°C TO 60°C – KEEP HOT FOOD HOT AND COLD FOOD COLD

The temperature range between 5°C and 60°C is known as Temperature Danger Zone. This is because in this zone bacteria can grow to unsafe levels.

 Keeping cold food cold

Keep your fridge below 5°C. Use a fridge thermometer to check that the temperature stays around 4 to 5°C. Also make sure you have enough fridge space as fridges won’t work properly when they are overloaded or when food is packed tightly because the cold air cannot circulate.

If you are running out of room in your fridge, remove foods that are not potentially hazardous, such as bottled or canned drinks. The temperature of these foods is not critical and they can be kept cool in insulated containers with ice or cold packs.

Freshly cooked food, not for immediate consumption, should have the temperature reduced as quickly as possible. Divide food into small portions and place in containers in the fridge or freezer as soon as it stops steaming.

Keeping hot food hot

Hot food needs to be kept and served at 60°C or hotter. If you are keeping it warm for someone put it in the oven at 60°C or at 100°C if that is as low as your oven will go.

Two-hour/four-hour rule

Use the two-hour/four-hour guide below to work out how long potentially hazardous food can be held safely at temperatures in the danger zone.

Follow these 7 simple tips to keep your food out of the Temperature Danger Zone

1.    Plan ahead. Don’t over cater as the greater the quantity of food you prepare the harder it is to keep it hot or cool enough. If you are catering for a lot of people prepare food as closely as you can to the time you will serve it.

2.    Keep your fridge at or below 5°C. Use a fridge thermometer to check that the fridge temperature stays around 4 to 5°C. Also make sure you have enough room in the fridge because if the food is packed tightly the cold air cannot circulate.

3.    Check the storage instructions. Read the label on packaged food to see if it needs to be stored in the fridge or freezer, many unrefrigerated items may need to be refrigerated once opened.

4.    Keep hot food at or over 60°C. Hot food needs to be kept and served at 60°C or hotter. If you are keeping it warm for someone put it in the oven at 60°C (or at 100°C if that is as low as your oven will go).

5.    Divide food up to cool. Freshly cooked food, not for immediate consumption, should have the temperature reduced as quickly as possible. Divide into containers in small portions and put it into the fridge or freezer as soon as it stops steaming.

6.     Keep food on the move cool. If you are transporting perishable food around such as: refrigerated or frozen shopping, your (or your child’s) lunch or goodies for a BBQ or a picnic always use a cooler bag and add a frozen block or drink to keep things cool.

7.    If in doubt throw it out. If perishable food has been in the temperature danger zone for 2 to 4 hours consume it immediately. After 4 hours throw it out.

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