Germ Illustration

CHILL: Refrigerate/Freeze Foods Promptly

Bacteria Danger Zone

Examples of Hazardous Food Products:

  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish and Seafoods
  • Dairy and Egg Products

Bacteria multiply fastest at temperatures between 4℃ (40℉) and 60℃ (140℉). This temperature range is known as the Danger Zone.

Many food borne illnesses are the result of time and temperature abuse.

Examples of time and temperature problems include the following:

  • Improper internal temperature (whether hot held or cold held) of food when delivered. This is a very important step to monitor when food is catered to your centre;
  • Inadequate cooking temperature;
  • Improper thawing;
  • Preparation of food items left at room temperature for extended periods of time;
  • Inadequate holding of heat;
  • Inadequate cooling;
  • Inadequate reheating.

Food products which can support bacterial growth such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, gravies and custards are capable of supporting the growth of pathogenic organism. These kinds of food are called potentially hazardous food and must not be left in the Danger Zone more than 2 hours.

Discard potentially hazardous food immediately if you suspect the food has been left at room temperature more than 2 hours.

To keep foods out of the Danger Zone:

  • Set the fridge temperature to less than 4℃. Keep a fridge thermometer in every fridge to routinely monitor the temperature. This includes fridges in infant rooms that are used to store baby bottles and baby food.
  • Record the fridge and freezer temperatures on a daily basis and keep the temperature logs for a minimum of one year.
  • Never defrost food at room temperature. Thawing is to be done under proper refrigeration or cold running water. A microwave may also be used, however food which is thawed using this method must be immediately cooked.
  • Large cuts of meat (e.g. whole bird, roasts, etc) which are to be cooled must be broken down in to small portions and stored in shallow dishes so they can be chilled quickly.

If your centre is serving food provided by a catering service, ensure the food is received either properly cold held at 4℃ (40℉) or lower or properly hot held at 60℃ (140℉). Food is to be maintained at the proper temperature until it is served. Check the temperature with an accurate thermometer and record in a log book.

Last modified: February 19, 2020