Temperature Critical Limits

What temperature should the fridge or chiller be?  What temperature should I cook eggs to?  How about red meat?  White meat?  What, what, what…?


Breathe.  Below is a quick listing of what the critical temperatures should be to ensure food safety.


Firstly, a little bit about the danger zone…


Danger Zone

Most bacteria grow rapidly when they are warm (between 20-50°C).  Bacteria do not like to be either hot or cold.  Placing cold food in the fridge or placing hot food in a food warmer can normally prevent the growth of bacteria.


Given enough food and moisture, most bacteria grow between 5°C and 60°C, which is known as the danger zone.  Room temperature is ideal for bacterial growth.  It is essential that food be kept out of the danger zone other than for short periods of time.


Above 60°C bacteria are killed off.  Below 5°C bacteria are killed or remain dormant (asleep).



Temperature Critical Limits


Temperature Monitoring

The records below are used to determine if the food item in question is at an acceptable temperature.


Corrective Action if Temperature Outside Critical Limit

What should you do?

  • If in doubt, throw it out – don’t risk your health, or the health of your consumers
  • Are your consumers the elderly?  The ill?  Children?  Pregnant women?  Don’t risk it
  • Practice due diligence, always
  • If temperature is outside of the critical limits, investigate for how long for – food item could potentially be saved – if you don’t know, don’t risk it; throw it out
  • Investigate what went wrong
  • Investigations should include methods or change of practice to reduce the likelihood of a repeated issue
  • Fix the issue – re-train staff, or repair equipment, or obtain a new, calibrated thermometer, etc
  • Ensure corrective actions are documented on the relevant record sheet


Example: Non-Conforming Product or Equipment Procedure

  1. Notify the manager as soon as possible
  2. Segregate non-conforming product or equipment from food process
  3. Clearly label product or equipment using a “Do not use” label or sign until investigation is complete; if applicable ensure a Holding Tag is in use
  4. Final assessment of non-conforming product can only be conducted by the manager
  5. Final assessment of non-conforming equipment can only be conducted by the Operations Manager once an item has been tagged out
  6. Discard risky product directly into waste bins. If a large amount, discard into large garbage bags and place directly into dumpster
  7. Investigate reasons for non-conformance and develop preventive measures


Download PDFMQA Temperature Critical Limits ed 01 – 01-08-18


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