In order to keep food safe and prevent it from becoming contaminated, it is essential to practice proper food safety temperature and monitoring at all times. The “danger zone” for most types of food is between 41 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This danger zone applies to both hot and cold foods.
Cold foods need to be maintained at temperatures between 33 degrees Fahrenheit and 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Frozen foods need to be kept at 32 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Hot foods need to be cooked to a specific minimum temperature to reduce risks of bacteria and germs that can cause foodborne illnesses and food poisoning.
Hot Food Minimum Safe Temperatures
To determine whether food has been heated and cooked to the right temperature, you should use a food thermometer for accuracy. Let’s take a look at some of the basic hot food temperatures you should know:
- 135 Degrees Fahrenheit: Cooked vegetables and fruits need to be at least this hot before serving.
- 145 Degrees Fahrenheit: Beef, pork, bacon, ham, seafood, fish, and eggs you intend to serve right away need to reach this temperature for proper food safety. The temperature must be maintained for a minimum of 15 seconds.
- 155 Degrees Fahrenheit: Chopped or ground beef or pork need to reach this temperature and maintain it for at least 15 seconds. Eggs you cook but intend to hold for a short period of time also should be cooked to this temperature.
- 165 Degrees Fahrenheit: All poultry products and cuts need to be cooked to at least this temperature for a minimum of 15 seconds. Reheated and microwave cooked foods also need to reach this minimum temperature.
There are some variations in cooking temperatures and times. For instance, with beef roasts, you have several different temperature options:
- 130 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 121 minutes.
- 140 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 12 minutes.
- 145 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 3 minutes.
Cooked food should be allowed to rest for a few minutes after removing it from the oven, stove, or microwave oven. While food rests, it continues to cook, and the temperature will continue to increase.
As the temperature increases, it also continues to destroy any bacteria and germs. After resting, check the temperature of the hot food and verify it is at the minimum safe level. If not, continue cooking the food until it reaches the right temperature.
When holding hot foods, like under a warming light or in steam trays, the minimum temperature you need to maintain is 135 degrees Fahrenheit. You should never keep hot held and cold held foods next to each other. The hot food will cool down, while the cold food will warm up. This could result in food passing into the danger zone.
For more information on how to protect your food at the right temperatures or to request a free demo of our food safety temperature monitoring solutions, please feel free to contact ComplianceMate at 678.526.4628 today!