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Holding Temperature For Hot Food

Cooking food to the correct temperature is critical to reduce the amount of bacteria in the food before being consumed. This is particularly important for high risk foods such as when cooking meat. As well cooking foods to a temperature high enough to kill bacteria, you also need to hold cooked foods above the ‘Danger Zone’ of 8°C and 60°C, which is where bacteria growth mostly happens.

Hot Holding is the process of keeping cooked food at a safe temperature before it is consumed. This usually happens during a buffet service or something similar.

Hot Holding Temperature UK

It is a legal requirement that food that is held hot, must be held at a minimum temperature of 63°c, with a temperature of between 65-68°c being prefered. Any liquid or semi liquid foods must be stirred regularly to maintain even temperatures within the food. If the temperature falls below the required 63°c, then the food must be discarded after a period of no longer than 2 hours.  Spores can re-germinate in foods that drop below 63°c. High toxin levels can arise from excessive temperature fluctuations. 

If the temperature falls below the required 63°c, then the food must be discarded after a period of no longer than 2 hours because spores can re-germinate in foods that drop below 63°c and high toxin levels can arise from excessive temperature fluctuations. Ideally food should not be held hot for periods in excess of four hours as the quality of the food can be affected as the food dries out and the scope for temperature fluctuations is higher when food is held hot for longer periods. 

Hot Holding Equipment

Only equipment manufactured for hot holding should be used for the purposes hot holding, do not use hobs or ovens to hold food hot. These pieces of equipment cannot be controlled effectively with accurate thermostats and controls. Bain-maries and soup kettles are pieces of equipment that are specifically designed for the purpose of hot holding foods. 

Hot holding equipment must never be used for the reheating of food as the equipment is not capable of achieving the correct temperatures required to keep food safe. Hot holding must only be used for the purpose of hot holding foods which have already been cooked to acceptable temperatures prior to hot holding. 

Always keep tot holding equipment in a well-maintained state which is  checked frequently. Faulty equipment can lead to foods not being held safely. 

The equipment must be cleaned frequently and this must be included within your written cleaning schedule. The unit should be emptied, cleaned and refilled between service periods. Staff must ensure that the unit is clean and disinfected before foods are place into the unit, cleaning and disinfection must also take place after using the unit. 

Hot Holding Record Keeping

Record hot holding temperatures in your Pilla Management Diary or equivalent food safety records. As well as temperatures, record any instances of equipment breakdown or faults, the corrective actions taken and the alternative equipment or method used. Record any training or retraining undertaken. 

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