The safe cold holding temperature for time and temperature control for safety (TCS) foods is 41ºF. Please note that a grace will no longer be allowed for temperatures observed above this (for example at 43ºF) when the item is considered to be in cold holding. A temperature above 41ºF or more when cold-held would constitute a 9-point violation. Facility operators are asked to ensure that all TCS food temperatures are monitored to help ensure the compliance temperature of 41ºF or below is maintained in order to help inhibit the growth of harmful foodborne illness causing bacteria. [Note: We will allow for the calibration of thermometers within 1 to 2 ºF.]
The desire to go out to dinner increases during times of celebration, such as Mother’s Day. This increase in dining contributes to an increase in the potential for foodborne illness. As food workers try to serve the increased volume of customers, there is a temptation to cut corners in order to keep things moving faster. Please take some time to review Tips for Time and Temperature Control (TCS) Foods provided online by Gordon Foods as a quick reminder of key food safety principles to keep in mind, whether preparing in a restaurant or at home.
Hope you have a happy–and safe–Mother’s Day.
by Parish Divinity, EHS
As the holiday season approaches and new menu items start appearing, emphasis is again placed on the proper cooking of foods. Time and temperature control for safety foods that require cooking are considered “cooked” only after they have been heated to the minimum cook temperatures designated for the particular food item. This minimum cook temperature must be reached in order to kill harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli 0157. Color and texture alone won’t tell you whether your food is done. Instead, use a food thermometer to be verify the food’s internal temperature. When checking the temperature of food, always check the temperature in at least two locations, and at least one of those temperatures should be measured in the thickest part of the food (if applicable).
The following are violations cited by inspectors in the field based on the Rules and Regulations for Food Service CHAPTER 290-5-14
Contributed by: Kim Brown, EHS3
Food Service Inspection Item Number 4-2b
Code Provisions: .05(7)(a)1
Observation: Numerous plates, bowls, and utensils stored as clean observed with stuck-on food debris.
Compliance/Corrective Action (CA) Required: All food contact surfaces must be properly cleaned to sight and touch prior to being stored for use.
Corrected on sight during the inspection (COS): Items were removed for cleaning.
Contributed by: Casey Saenz
Food Service Inspection Item Number 6-1A
Code Provisions: .04(6)(f)
Observation: Time/Temperature Controlled for Safety (TCS) foods held above 41 ̊F in that crawfish was 48 ̊F, fish heads 52 ̊F, raw shrimp 48 ̊F while stored in the cook-line refrigerator.
Compliance/Corrective Action (CA) Required: Always cold hold TCS foods at 41 ̊f and below.
Corrected on sight during the inspection (COS): Food items were discarded since believed to have been out of temperature more than 4 hours .
The use of Time Only as a means of Public Health Control (TPHC) is not to be used to avoid regulatory action. Its use requires pre-planning. The operator is to decide whether TPHC is used for specific food items or if “time and temperature control” will be used. Once that decision is made, he or she cannot switch from TPHC to time and temperature control because it seems like there will be food left at the end of the allotted time that they would be required to throw away. Also, the operator can’t all of a sudden decide during an inspection that he’s placing foods considered to be potentially hazardous on TPHC when it is found that there is a temperature control violation and he doesn’t want to be cited for it. Remember, a written plan is required prior to the use of TPHC.
In short, remember that your plan for time as a public health control should include the following:
- Identify the item(s) TPHC is being used for
- Initial temperature verified when TCS food is taken from temperature control
- Identify how time is being kept up with [For example, log, time cards, labels,…]
- State that if the product is left once maximum time [4 hour vs/6 hour limit] is reached, it will be discarded
You may want to use the linked tool below to help you to develop your written plan when using Time as a Public Health Control.