Help your staff remember the importance of time and temperature control by using the following activity. This activity will 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!
Time and Temperature Control for Safety
Bacteria need the right conditions in order to grow and produce dangerous toxins. They thrive in the temperature danger zone (41°F–135°F) and need time to grow. Some foods, known as time/temperature control for safety (TCS) foods are especially susceptible to bacteria growth and therefore must be carefully monitored for time and temperature. When dealing TCS foods, hold them at the proper temperatures to minimize the risk of foodborne illness.
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°F for 15 seconds
- How long can it take to safely cool foods from 140 to 41 degrees?
2 hours to get from 140°F to 70°F, an additional 4 hours to get to 41°F—6 hours total!
- What is the range of the “temperature danger zone” that food should be kept out of?
- How can food be safely cooled?
Answers include chilling food in an ice bath, using ice paddles, 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.
- Show how to use an ice paddle.
- Fill out the temperature logs.
Food Safety Reminder
When dealing with time and temperature control for safety (TCS) foods, hold them at the proper temperatures to minimize the risk of foodborne illness.