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Hot-holding & Cold-holding Temperature Checking Guide

hot holding and cold holding

In keeping with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration food safety requirements, restaurants serve up safe food consistently. The best digital food thermometers have a clear temperature reading every time and are user-friendly.

In a fast-paced restaurant environment, a user-friendly device produces a quicker, more efficient reading than bulkier models. The ThermoPro Food Thermometer meets these requirements, and more. This thermometer produces an accurate hot holding temperature or cold holding temperature reading and displays the result on a large display. The handle is made of durable, non-slip durable plastic. The ThermoPro Food Thermometer creates the right environment for both hot-holding and cold-holding foods.

What is hot-holding and cold-holding?

Hot-holding often performed in pans that are continuously on a low heat source. Per food safety regulations, the hot-holding temperature threshold is 135 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hot foods can be at or above this temperature and be safe for consumption. If a heated food falls below this threshold, it’s considered a danger zone temperature. Danger zone temperatures facilitate the growth of food-borne bacteria. Follow the guideline to keep food hot below if you need more information.

Cold-holding stops germ growth by keeping it at cold temperatures below 42 degrees Fahrenheit. Germ growth can cause foodborne illness to grow on foods. If the temperature of a cold-holding food comes above 42 degrees, it falls into the “danger zone.”

Any food that requires cold-holding that will be reused in the future must always stay cold, below the threshold. The germs that cause foodborne illness will then begin to grow, making the food unsafe to eat. For this reason, when a food falls below the threshold it must be discarded.

Time also has a factor to play in cold-holding. If food is prepared and placed in cold-holding for future consumption, the maximum storage time on the food is one week. After a week, the food kept at cold-holding temperature should be discarded.

hot holding and cold holding temperature


Guideline to Keeping Food Hot

1. Store your food securely.

If you have back-up foods in storage that are held in hot-holding, be sure to store it in the back or middle of the storage oven. This allows the temperature be applied closely to the storage food, maintaining its hot-holding temp.

The airflow of an oven requires storage with at least an inch between each food container. Proper airflow through an oven maintained for hot-holding encourages even heat distribution. This can be important to consider when storing larger quantities of food.

Also ensure a tight seal is placed over your food. This encourages heat to stay close to the food. Sealing your food also maintains quality by reducing moisture loss.

2. Monitor Holding Process

Monitoring your food for correct holding temp requires attention to detail and the proper tool. A digital thermometer produces accurate results on an easy-to-use device and is a great tool for monitoring food temperature.

When recording temperature, remember to record the time you took the reading. In busy environments, this can help ensure your deliciously-prepared meat is heated thoroughly at all times.

3. Adhere to holding times of specific foods.

Different foods that require hot-holding have specific spoiling requirements. Ensure you understand the basic requirements of your meat, poultry or seafood before you start storing it. For example, seafood often requires consumption immediately, whereas a barbequed pot roast can be held in hot-holding for up to seven hours.

4. Take Corrective Action

If your hot-holding temperature monitoring results indicate that food is below the threshold, taking corrective action can help! Below is a procedure you can follow to remedy this situation.

A. Check other containers (in same holding chamber) for holding temperature adherence.

B. If necessary, adjust heat settings on your holding chamber.

C. Remove the food below the threshold from hot-holding.

D. Reheat food to 165 Fahrenheit.

E. Check temperature to ensure proper heating.

F. Set food back in hot-holding.

G. Follow-up with monitoring an hour later.


Guideline to Keep Food Cold

The rules around keeping food cold are similar to those for keeping food hot. The food needs to be stored securely and monitored for temperature fluctuations. Foods in cold-holding also have a straightforward corrective action procedure if temperatures fall within the “danger zone”.

1. Securely store food.

Food in cold-holding requires a temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Securely storing cold food is essential because it can help prevent temperature fluctuations.

If you’re cooking outside during the summer, it can be difficult to keep your cold foods within the best temperature range. Securely storing food in the deepest, coldest part of your container can ensure cold-holding requirements are met. With cold food, it is also advisable to have your cold-holding storage as full as possible. With cold food, touching containers and added components aid in keeping the container’s inside temperature cool.

2. Monitor Holding Process

Using a digital thermometer to measure cold-holding temperatures is an essential part of cold food storage. If the cold-holding temperature of any food rises above 42 degrees Fahrenheit, germs can begin to grow. As with monitoring any food, record both the temperature and time the measurement was taken.

3. Specific foods have specific holding times.

Cold-holding times differ based on the type of food preserved. You can judge the holding times of foods as you would if they were fresh. For example, the holding time for lettuce in cold-holding will be significantly less than that of celery.

Prepared foods most often have shorter holding times than unprepared. This is because the cutting and cooking process changes the chemical composition of food. The process of cooking also introduces new bacteria and mold spores not previously present. When cold-holding prepared foods, take corrective action if you notice anything awry.

4. Take Corrective Action

Taking corrective action if your cold-holding food temperature rises above the threshold is an important step in cold food storage. Follow the steps below to get your stock of food back on track:

A. Check other containers (in same holding chamber) for holding temperature adherence.

B. If necessary, adjust cooling settings.

C. Remove all food above the threshold from cold-holding.

D. Discard food that falls into the danger zone.

Unfortunately, it is not advised to flash-chill foods and place them back in cold-holding. Because cold foods are subject to a multitude of issues once the temperature rises above the threshold, they are not safe to eat once they enter the danger zone. Ensure proper monitoring procedure is followed. If you are certain of your cold-holding temperatures, then you know your food is safe to eat!


Digital Food Thermometer for Hot-holding & Cold-holding

A thermometer is essential in ensuring that food is kept at safe temperatures. Good digital thermometers are durable, accurate and user-friendly. In preparing to use a digital thermometer, remember to bring appropriate batteries and any other needed supplies. For example, supplies might include sterile wipes and paper towels.

One of the best digital thermometers includes the ThermoPro Food Thermometer. The durability of this instrument can be seen in the design elements. The food-safe plastic and thick thermometer cord ensure that the device can be used time and time again. The long thermometer and large display ensure accurate and precise readings. The large, readable display also lends to the user-friendliness of the monitoring device.

This thermometer also has the feature of showing temperature in Fahrenheit and Celsius, which is great because it can be used seamlessly no matter your reading requirements.

How to Accurately Measure Hot and Cold Holding Pans

The ThermoPro food thermometer provides accurate readings for both cold-holding and hot-holding foods. Follow the procedure below to get the best reading from your device.

1. Store your food as described above.

Be sure to seal and mark your food.

2. Stir the contents of all containers at least once an hour.

As your food sits in storage, differences in temperature occur within containers. Eventually, the center of your holding container will be a different temperature than the edges. This difference in temperature is called a temperature gradient. If you proceed to step three and take your temperature reading without stirring the contents, you will get an inaccurate result. In order to remedy this problem, making a habit of stirring foods often is essential. This is a good rule to follow with both cold-holding and hot-holding foods.

3. Monitor temperatures with ThermoPro food thermometer.

The temperature gradient mentioned above comes into play when monitoring cold-holding and hot-holding temperatures. The device is straightforward to use, by turning it on and measuring temperature with the attached stick thermometer.

When measuring temperatures, the temperature gradient requires that you take your measurement at the center of the pan. The center of the pan is known as the thermal center. It’s unique because it is the part of the food that has minimal contact with the direct heat of the sides of the container. This means that you’re measuring at the most vulnerable of spots, ensuring a safe food for consumption.

When monitoring foods at the thermal center, the fast, digital ThermoPro food thermometer quickly produces accurate reads. When monitoring cold-holding foods, the probe tip accurately produces an acute range of readings and the highest number on the display is relevant. When monitoring hot-holding foods, the probe tip again produces a range and the lowest number on the display is relevant.

When measuring the temperature, remember not to rest the probe tip on the bottom or sides of the container. This mistake occurs often and only results in a temperature of the pan. Make sure to monitor for cold-holding and hot-holding temperatures in the middle of the food.

4. Take corrective action if temperatures fall within “danger zone.”

Ensure to throw away any cold-holding food that rises above 41 degrees Fahrenheit. If a hot-holding temperature falls below the 135 degrees Fahrenheit threshold, reheat it to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and place it back in holding.

We hope this guide helps you on your food cooking mission! Following proper cold-handing and hot-handling can produce the safest food for you and your family. By following the procedures above for handling and monitoring, you’re on your way to a beautiful and safe meal.

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