The safety of food is usually achieved through cooking, and effective Food Safety Supervisors ensure each cooking step is adequate to achieve this.
If you cook potentially hazardous food that you intend to cool and use later, you need to cool the food to 5°C or colder as quickly as possible. There may be food poisoning bacteria in the food, even though it has been cooked. Faster cooling times limit the time when these bacteria are able to grow or form toxins.
When cooling cooked potentially hazardous food, cool the food within the following timeframes:
- From 60°C to 21°C within two hours; and
- From 21°C to 5°C within a further four hour
This means you have a maximum of six hours to cool food from 60°C to 5°C or below.
If you don’t know how fast your food is cooling, use a probe thermometer to measure the warmest part of the food – usually in the centre. To chill food quickly, break it up into smaller portions in shallow containers. Take care not to contaminate the food as you do this.
Food Safety Supervisors must ensure that cooked food is being cooled in accordance with Australian Food Standards.