Temperature Control and Potentially Hazardous Foods

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					Temperature Control and Potentially Hazardous
Food Act 2006 & Food Safety Standards

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WHAT IS TEMPERATURE CONTROL? >>                  •   processed foods containing eggs, beans,
                                                     nuts or other protein-rich food; and
Temperature control means maintaining food       •   food that contains any of the above foods.
at a temperature of:
•     5ºC or below; or                           MONITORING TEMPERATURES >>
•     60ºC or above; or
•     another temperature for a period of time   The Standard requires all food businesses
      that the food business must                which store, transport, prepare, cook or sell
      demonstrate is safe.                       potentially hazardous food to have a
                                                 temperature monitoring device on the
Food temperatures outside this range are in      premise to monitor temperatures.
the “Temperature Danger Zone”. Within this
danger zone food poisoning bacteria rapidly      You will need a thermometer which can be
multiply in numbers which may cause illness.     inserted into the food, i.e. a probe
                                                 thermometer, and will measure the internal
LEGISLATIVE REQUIREMENTS >>                      temperature. The thermometer must be
                                                 accurate to +/- 1ºC. This means that when
The Food Safety Standard requires                the thermometer shows that the food is at a
potentially hazardous food to be kept under      temperature of 5ºC, the actual temperature of
temperature control when it is being stored,     the food will be between 4ºC and 6ºC. For
displayed or transported, unless the food        your ease we recommend a probe
business has safe alternative arrangements       thermometer with a digital display.
in place.
                                                 Before using your thermometer you should
The Standard also requires a food business       ensure that it is effectively cleaned and
to take all practicable measures to ensure       sanitised. First you should wash your
potentially hazardous food is received under     thermometer in warm water with detergent,
temperature control.                             then appropriately sanitise (alcoholic swabs
                                                 are often used) and then allow to air dry or
POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS FOOD >>                    dry with a disposable towel before inserting
                                                 into any food item.
Potentially hazardous food is food that has
the potential to cause illness and become        To ensure your thermometer is giving an
unsafe if it is not kept under temperature       accurate temperature reading, it should be
control. It includes:                            calibrated on a regular basis in accordance
• raw and cooked meats or foods containing       with the manufacturer’s advice. Don’t forget
   raw or cooked meats;                          to replace batteries if they are flat and replace
• dairy products and foods containing dairy      the thermometer if it breaks.
• seafood and foods containing seafood;          Equipment that is used to store and display
• processed fruits and vegetables;               food, such as cool rooms, bain maries and
• cooked rice and pasta;                         sandwich display units may already have a
   web >>
   phone >> 4727 9000
thermometer fixed to the equipment. These            COOLING >>
thermometers measure the operational
temperature of the unit and they do not              Cooking will not destroy spores of some
measure the actual temperature of the food.          types of food poisoning bacteria, allowing
                                                     them to germinate and grow if conditions are
Refer to Environmental Health Services fact          favourable. Therefore, if cooked potentially
sheet on ‘Thermometers & Potentially                 hazardous food is left to cool too slowly, the
Hazardous Foods’ for more information.               spores of these food poisoning bacteria can
                                                     multiply to dangerous levels.
                                                     To ensure potentially hazardous food is
To maintain potentially hazardous food under         cooled to prevent microbial growth, the food
temperature control a food business must             business must ensure that food is cooled by:
ensure that their cold and hot storage and              a. reducing the temperature of the food
holding equipment, such as bain maires,                     from 60ºC to 21ºC within two hours;
refrigerators, display cabinets, pie warmers,               then
cold rooms, hot boxes, sandwich bars etc,               b. reducing the temperature of the food
are working and running efficiently. If your                from 21ºC to 5ºC or below within the
equipment is not working efficiently it may be              next four hours.
struggling to keep potentially hazardous
foods at safe temperatures. Also, some               REHEATING >>
holding and storage equipment have hot and
cold spots, which could compromise your              To reheat potentially hazardous foods that
temperature control.                                 have been previously cooked and cooled use
                                                     a heat process that rapidly heats the food to
To ensure your equipment is working well             an internal temperature of 60ºC or above to
monitor temperatures of food while in                limit the time in the temperature danger zone.
operation, look out for hot and cold spots. If       Potentially hazardous food that has already
your equipment is not working effectively get        been reheated should not be cooled and re-
it serviced or if there are hot and cold spots       heated a second time. This avoids food
re-arrange your food items to ensure                 being at temperatures that supports the
potentially hazardous foods are kept under           growth of bacteria four times (cooling, heating
temperature control.                                 and re-cooling and re-heating).

READY TO EAT FOOD >>                                 THAWING >>

Ready-to-eat potentially hazardous foods,            When thawing potentially hazardous food a
such as prepared salads, must only be kept           food business must ensure that the time the
in the temperature danger zone for a limited         food is kept in the temperature danger zone
time to prevent bacterial growth. As a               is kept to a minimum to prevent bacterial
general rule, any ready-to-eat potentially           growth.
hazardous food, if it has been in the
temperature danger zone:                             This can be done by thawing the food in the
• for a total of less than 2 hours, can be           refrigerator or microwave. The refrigerator
     refrigerated or must be used immediately;       ensures that the food is maintained at a
• for longer than 2 hours but less than 4            temperature at or below 5ºC and minimising
     hours, must be used immediately; or             the potential for the growth of food poisoning
• for a total of 4 hours or longer, must be          bacteria. The microwave is quick and food
     thrown out.                                     will only be at temperatures within the danger
                                                     zone for a very short period of time.
This is known as the “4 Hour / 2 Hour Rule”.
When using this method of temperature                FURTHER INFORMATION >>
control appropriate records should be kept to
                                                     Contact Council on 4727 9000 or visit
demonstrate adequate control is in place.
                                                     Council’s website at


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Description: Temperature Control and Potentially Hazardous Foods