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.
- 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.