Avoid temperature abuse

Temperature abuse is the major cause of foodborne illness at parties and functions.

The ‘silly season’ is here and that also means feeding feeding large gatherings.  It  is important to ensure your business is safe.  Here are a few tips.

Remember to minimise the time food stays in the temperature danger zone (5°C to 60°C). Learn more about the Temperature danger zone.

Keep hot food hot – use the top of the stove or an oven turned down to just below 100°C. If you want to serve food at less than 60°C, make sure it doesn’t stay at that temperature for more than four hours.

Keep cold food cold – if you prepare food ahead of time, and cool it in the fridge, make sure that the fridge is still operating at or below 5°C even though you’ve loaded it with extra food. Learn more about Fridge and freezer food safety.

Cool food quickly – once the steam stops rising, cover the food and put it in the fridge. You want it to cool as quickly as possible so that spores, which can survive cooking, don’t germinate. You can hasten the cooling process by pre-cooling the hot food in its container in a sink of iced or cold water or putting it into shallow containers and chilling or freezing the food in those. In deep containers it can take days for the centre of the food to reach 5 °C.

Thaw any frozen meat or meals correctly in the fridge allowing sufficient time to thaw completely (usually the day before) or in the microwave on the day of the party. Reheat food fast either on top of the stove, in the oven or in a microwave. Remember those spores are always looking for windows of opportunity to germinate and those germinate cells will grow and make your guests sick.

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