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Training Tip: Time and Temperature

Chicken thermometer

Many managers hold monthly, weekly, or even daily training sessions to make sure that employees remember essential food safety principles. Try using our training tips to improve food safety at your establishment.

Time and Temperature

Bacteria need the right conditions in order to grow and produce dangerous toxins. They thrive at certain temperatures (41–135 degrees) and need time to grow. Some foods, known as TCS (Time/Temperature Control for Safety) foods are especially susceptible to bacteria growth and therefore must be carefully monitored for time and temperature. If these foods are left at a dangerous temperature for too long, bacteria will quickly multiply and make them unsafe to eat.

Consider using the following activity to help your staff remember the importance of time and temperature control. Help them understand what they need to do, when and how they need to do it, and why it is important. Also, make sure to provide them with temperature logs and thermometers!

Use basic questions to test your staff’s understanding of time and temperature, such as:

  • What is the minimum internal cooking temperature for cooking chicken?
    165 degrees for 15 seconds
  • How long can it take to safely cool foods from 140 to 41 degrees?
    2 hours to get from 140 to 70 degrees, an additional 4 hours to get to 41 degrees—6 hours total!
  •  What is the range of the “temperature danger zone” that food should be kept out of?
    41135 degrees
  • How can food be safely cooled?
    Answers include using ice paddles, chilling food in an ice bath, dividing large amounts of food into shallow containers, etc.

Consider demonstrating each of the following skills. Make sure to carefully explain exactly what you are doing and why.

  • Use a thermometer to find the internal temperature of foods.
  • Calibrate a thermometer.
  • Fill out the temperature logs.

Remember, you can always direct your staff to our online Food Handler Training to review time and temperature control and other food safety essentials.

Diane Patrick

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