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Guidelines for Holding Food
Food covers and sneeze guards:
Cover food and install sneeze guards to protect food from contaminants
Covers protect food from contamination and help maintain food temperatures
Hold TCS food at the correct temperature
Hot food: 135°F(57°C) or higher
Cold food: 41°F(5°C) or lower
Check temperatures at least every four hours
Throw out food not at 41°F (5°C) or lower
Check temperatures every two hours to leave time for corrective action
NEVER use hot-holding equipment to reheat food unless it’s designed for it
Reheat food correctly, and then move it into a holding unit

Holding Food Without Temperature Control
Cold food can be held without temperature control for up to six hours if:
It was held at 41°F (5°C) or lower before removing it from refrigeration
It does not exceed 70°F (21°C) during service
Throw out food that exceeds this temperature
It has a label specifying
Time it was removed from refrigeration
Time it must be thrown out
It is sold, served, or thrown out within six hours

Holding Food Without Temperature Control
Hot food can be held without temperature control for up to four hours if:
It was held at 135°F (57°C) or higher before removing it from temperature control
It has a label specifying when the item must be thrown out
It is sold, served, or thrown out within four hours

Kitchen Staff Guidelines
Prevent contamination when serving food:
Wear single-use gloves whenever handling ready-to-eat food
As an alternative use spatulas, tongs, deli sheets, or other utensils
Use clean and sanitized utensils for serving
Use separate utensils for each food
Clean and sanitize utensils after each task
At minimum, clean and sanitize them at least
once every four hours
Preset Tableware
If you preset tableware:
Prevent it from being contaminated
Wrap or cover the items

Re-serving Food
NEVER re-serve:
Food returned by one customer to another customer
Uncovered condiments
Uneaten bread
Plate garnishes
Generally, only unopened, prepackaged food in good condition can be re-served:
Condiment packets
Wrapped crackers or breadsticks

Self-Service Areas
Prevent time-temperature abuse and contamination:
Use sneeze guards
Must be located 14″ (36cm) above the counter
Must extend 7″ (18cm) beyond
the food
Identify all food items
Label food
Place salad dressing names on ladle handles
Keep hot food at 135°F (57°C) or higher
Keep cold food at 41°F (5°C) or lower
Keep raw meat, fish, and poultry separate from ready-to-eat food
Do NOT let customers refill dirty plates or use dirty utensils at self-service areas
Stock food displays with the correct utensils for dispensing food
Do NOT use ice as an ingredient if it was used to keep food or beverages cold

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