2 Hour 4 Hour Rule

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					                                          FOOD FACT SHEET No. 9
                                           2 Hour 4 Hour Rule

What is the 2 Hour / 4 Hour Rule?
The 2 hour / 4 hour rule is a system that can be implemented when potentially hazardous food* needs to be
stored out of temperature control. It is not the preferred method of storage for potentially hazardous food*
but may be used in the following instances:
•       During preparation;
•       During serving;
•       During display / for sale.
*       This rule is used for ready-to-eat potentially hazardous foods which are foods that are not going to be
        further processed.


How to use the 2 Hour / 4 Hour rule
The 2 hour / 4 hour rule states the following:
•       If potentially hazardous food* has been out of temperature control for 2 hours or less then it may
        continue to be used or be placed back in the refrigerator.
•       If potentially hazardous food* has been out of temperature control for over 2 hours but less than 4
        hours it must be used or discarded. It cannot be refrigerated.
•       Once potentially hazardous food* has been out of temperature control for 4 hours it must be discarded.
        It cannot be used for any other purpose.


Documentation
It is important that the 2 hour / 4 hour rule is well documented and that the history of the potentially
hazardous food is known upon receipt of the product. Documentation of the following items need to be
maintained to show the 2 hour / 4 hour rule is being followed correctly:
•       The temperature history of the potentially hazardous food;
•       Time history when potentially hazardous food is out of temperature control;
•       Time potentially hazardous food has previously been out of temperature control as the time is always
        accumulative ie: if an item of potentially hazardous food has been out of temperature control for half an
        hour before being placed back into the refrigerator, the item then only has 3 and a half hours before it
        must be discarded.

2 Hour 4 Hour Rule Important Points
    •   Only needs to be used when ready-to-eat potentially hazardous food is stored out of temperature control.
    •   The 2 hour / 4 hour rule states:
              If potentially hazardous food has been out of temperature control for 2 hours or less then it may continue to
        be used or place back in the refrigerator.
              If potentially hazardous food has been out of temperature control for over 2 hours but less than 4 hours it
              must be used or discarded. It cannot be refrigerated.
              Once potentially hazardous food has been out of temperature control for 4 hours it must be discarded. It
              cannot be used for any other purpose.
    •   It is important that the process is well documented including the temperature history prior to receipt of food and
        any time that has previously been accumulated during preparation.



                        PO Box 1943, Hervey Bay, Qld 4655
        P: 1800 881 400 F: (07) 4197 4455 E: enquiry@frasercoast.qld.gov.au
                            www.frasercoast.qld.gov.au
                        DISCLAIMER

Use of fact sheets/quizzes to assist proprietors in staff
training is recommended. However Fraser Coast Regional
Council disclaims all responsibility and all liability howsoever
arising from any reliance on the same.

All users should make their own enquiries as to their
compliance or otherwise with legal requirements particular to
their workplace.     Use of these sheets/quizzes is not a
substitute (in part or in whole) for compliance, qualifications
or appropriate training.

				
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Description: 2 Hour 4 Hour Rule