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General Preparation Practices

General Preparation Practices

Four methods for thawing food:
Thaw food in a cooler, keeping its temperature at 41°F (5°C) or lower
Submerge food under running water at 70°F (21°C) or lower
Never let the temperature of the food go above 41°F (5°C) or lower for longer than four hours
Thaw food in a microwave, only if cooked immediately after thawing
Thaw as part of the cooking process

Prepping Specific Food
Make sure produce does not touch surfaces exposed to raw meat, seafood, or poultry
Refrigerate and hold sliced melons, cut tomatoes, and cut leafy greens at
41°F (5°C) or lower
Do NOT serve raw seed sprouts such as alfalfa sprouts if primarily serving a high-risk population

Eggs and egg mixtures:
Consider using pasteurized shell eggs when prepping dishes that need little or no cooking or for high risk population such as nursing home residents.

NEVER use ice as an ingredient if it was used to keep food cold
Store ice scoops outside ice machines in a clean, protected location
NEVER use a glass to scoop ice or touch ice with hands

Preparation Practices That Have Special Requirements
You need a variance if prepping food in these ways:
Packaging fresh juice on-site for sale at a later time, unless the juice has a warning label
Curing food
Packaging food using a reduced-oxygen packaging (ROP) method
Offering live shellfish from a display tank

Cooking Food
When cooking TCS food, the internal portion must:
Reach the required minimum internal temperature
Hold that temperature for a specific amount of time
Cooking Food
When checking temperatures:
Pick a thermometer with a probe that is the correct size for the food
Check the temperature in the thickest part of the food
Take at least two readings in different locations

Cooking Requirements for Specific Food

Minimum internal cooking temperature:
165°F (74°C) for 15 seconds
Poultry—whole or ground chicken, turkey, or duck
Stuffing made with fish, meat, or poultry
Stuffed meat, seafood, poultry, or pasta
Dishes that include previously cooked, TCS ingredients

Minimum internal cooking temperature:
155°F (68°C) for 15 seconds
Ground meat—beef, pork, and other meat
Injected meat—including brined ham and flavor-injected roasts
Mechanically tenderized meat
Ratites including ostrich and emu
Ground seafood—including chopped or minced seafood
Shell eggs that will be hot-held for service

Minimum internal cooking temperature:
145°F (63°C) for 15 seconds
Seafood—including fish, shellfish, and crustaceans
Steaks/chops of pork, beef, veal, and lamb
Commercially raised game
Shell eggs that will be served immediately

Minimum internal cooking temperature:
145°F (63°C) for four minutes
Roasts of pork, beef, veal, and lamb

Minimum internal cooking temperature:
135°F (57°C)
Fruit, vegetables, grains (rice, pasta), and legumes (beans, refried beans) that will be hot-held for service

Cooking TCS Food in a Microwave
Minimum internal cooking temperature:
165°F (74°C)

Cooking TCS Food in a Microwave, Guidelines for microwave cooking:
Cover food to prevent the surface from drying out
Rotate or stir it halfway through cooking so heat reaches the food more evenly
Let it stand for at least two minutes after cooking to let the food temperature even out
Check the temperature in at least two places to make sure the food is cooked through

Consumer Advisories
The FDA advises against offering these items on a children’s menu if they are raw or undercooked:

Cooling Food
Cool food from 135˚F to 70˚F (57˚C to 21˚C) in less than two hours and to 41˚F (5˚C) or lower within additional 4 hors or less. The total cooling time cannot be longer than six hours.

Methods for Cooling Food
Before cooling food, start by reducing its size:
Cut larger items into smaller pieces
Divide large containers of food into smaller containers or shallow pans
Place food in an ice-water bath
Stir it with an ice paddle
Place it in a blast chiller

Reheat Food to 165°F (74°C) for 15 seconds

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