Cooling Procedures

If cooked foods are not to be served immediately or kept hot for service, they must be cooled quickly so they do not spend too much time in the Food Danger Zone.The rate at which foods cool depends on their total volume in relation to how much surface area they have to transfer heat away. In other words, a large batch of food cools more slowly because it has less surface area per unit of volume. One of the hazards of cooking foods in large volumes is cooling them so slowly that they spend too much time in the Food Danger Zone.

To help gauge the time you may safely take to cool large volumes of food, use either the two-stage cooling method or the one-stage cooling method.

For the two-stage cooling method,cool foods from 135°F (57°C) to 70°F (21°C) in no more than 2 hours, and then from 70°F (21°C) to below 41°F (5°C) within an additional 4 hours, for a total cooling time of no more than 6 hours.The temperature range between 70°F (21°C) and 125°F (52°C) is the most dangerous part of the Food Danger Zone. This method ensures that the food spends a minimum time in that temperature range. If food has not cooled to 70°F (21°C) within 2 hours, it must be reheated to 165°F (74°C) and held at that temperature for at least 15 seconds and then cooled again.

For the one-stage cooling method, cool foods to below 41°F (5°C) in no more than 4 hours. If the food does not reach this temperature in 4 hours, it must be reheated to 165°F (74°C) and held at that temperature for at least 15 seconds and then cooled again.

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