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Food Safety for OREGON

Basic Food Safety Study Guide

Food Handler Study Guide - Page Page 16

Food Temperatures - Important Concepts

Temperature Control
This section is about killing germs with cooking and stopping their growth by keeping the food hot or cold. This is called temperature control, and your restaurant needs at least one accurate metal-stem probe (food) thermometer to check food temperatures.

The "Danger Zone"
Germs like bacteria need time, food and moisture to grow. The temperature between 41°F(5°C) and 135°F(57°C) is called the "Danger Zone!" When food sits in the "Danger Zone", bacteria can grow fast and make toxins that can make you and others sick.

When to Discard Food
Foods left in the Danger Zone for more than four hours must be discarded. Reheating the food may kill the bacteria but the toxins (produced by bacteria) will remain in the product and cause illness.

Cooking Food
Cooking raw food to the proper temperature will kill germs that cause people to become sick.

When is Cooked Food Safe?
Different foods have to reach different temperatures to be done or safe. Ask your manager to show you a temperature chart for cooking meats (see reference in back of this manual). Be sure to cook the food to the temperature that is shown on the chart.

You can choose several ways to cook food. No matter how you cook the food, it must reach the correct cooking temperature. Using a metal-stem probe thermometer is the only way to know the correct temperature of food. You must place the thermometer in the thickest part of the meat or in the center to get a true reading.

Cold Holding
Always keep cold food at 41°F(5°C) or colder. Fish, shellfish, poultry, milk and red meat will stay fresh longer if you hold them cold at 41°F(5°C) or colder.

Hot Holding
After the food is cooked and ready to serve, you will need to keep it warm enough to stop any germs from growing. You must turn on steam tables, soup warmers and heated surfaces before you need them so that they will be hot enough when you put the cooked food into them.

Keep hot food at 135°F or hotter.

Keep it Hot
Stir food to help keep the food on top hot. A cover on the pan helps to keep the heat inside.

Keep it Cold
Food being held cold on the top section of a refrigerated preparation unit also benefits from being covered.

Salad Bar Temperatures
Rules for salad bar temperatures can vary. Salad bars should be maintained at #SaladBarTemp# °F or below.


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