You Need to Know: Temperature Danger Zone

Trust20 Contributor

January 14, 2021

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There is one tried and true principle in food handler safety: keep hot food hot, and cold food cold. The US Department of Agriculture refers to this as how you “Keep Food Out of the "Danger Zone." It is referred to as the “Danger Zone” because the range of temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F allows bacteria to grow at an alarming rate.

Temperature Danger Zone
Photo Credit: USDA

Keeping food out of the temperature danger zone is pretty straightforward. The USDA provides the basics:  

  • Food should not be left out of refrigeration for more than two hours
  • Keep hot food at or above 140 °F by placing cooked food in warming trays, slow cookers, or chafing dishes
  • Keep cold food at or below 40 °F by placing food in containers on ice.

The USDA also recommends having a food thermometer on hand and explains the importance of cooking to the proper internal temperature below:

Bottom line: whether cooking or cooling food, food handlers need to pass dishes through the temperature danger zone as quickly as possible. Food handler training is an essential part of delivering a safer dining experience! Are the food handlers on your team adequately prepared? Stay tuned! Trust20 will soon be rolling out a Food Handler Training to support your restaurant’s health and safety efforts.

Need to train your staff on the safety methods that complement existing federal, state, and local guidance concerning cleaning and sanitation, personal hygiene, social distancing, and health monitoring? Check out Trust20’s Tactic Training Course and ensure diner safety and comfort while you also prioritize the health and safety of your staff.


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Trust20 is the new standard of restaurant safety and diner comfort, based on 20 tactics by health and safety experts. Supported by Gordon Food Service and General Mills, Trust20 provides an independently verified certification of restaurant practices, training, and other resources to help restaurants create safe, healthy, and welcome spaces for diners. www.trust20.co, @Trust20USA

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