Improper cooling of potentially hazardous foods is the number one cause of foodborne illness. Disease causing bacteria grow best in the "temperature danger zone" of 41°F to 140°F. When potentially hazardous foods are improperly cooled, it provides the ideal environment for bacteria to multiply.

Potentially hazardous foods must be cooled from 140°F to 70°F within two hours. An additional four hours is allowed to completely cool the food product to 41°F. The faster foods pass through the "temperature danger zone" as they are cooled, the better.

Cooling Tips

  • Never allow food to set on the countertop (room temperature) to cool.
  • Refrigerate or chill the food in an ice bath immediately upon removed from the heat source.
  • User the right type of storage containers to chill foods:
    • Metal containers chill foods fastest.
    • Glass and plastic containers take longer to cool foods.
    • Allow for air circulation because loosely covered or uncovered foods chill faster. Rapidly chill the food, then cover tightly.
    • Where possible, substitute ice for water in a recipe. Add the ice at the end of cooking process to cool the product rapidly.
    • Set containers of food in ice baths and stir frequently.
    • Use blast chillers when possible.