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Food Safety Issues/nonpotentially hazardous preparation

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Question
At my planned "minimal prep" tea, beer, and wine bar, we will have a small convection oven for making "nonpotentially hazardous baked goods" such as scones and macaroons to go with the teas. Can I use that oven to prepare my own recipe of roasted herbed nuts? We would purchase the mixed nuts in bulk and they would be heated, before we open for the night, on a tray in the convection oven, with dried herbs, salt, and sugar. Are there rules about whether we need to buy the nuts pre-cooked vs raw, or what kinds of nuts are "non-potentially hazardous?" Also, are there rules about how we cool them down if we want to serve them at room temperature? I usually just let them cool in the oven with the door cracked because the refrigerator would ruin their crunchiness.

After cooling, they would be kept in the sort of large glass containers with lids that you sometimes see candy served from in convenience stores, and they would not be handled except with a stainless steel scoop used only for scooping nuts. I hope there's nothing I'm leaving out. I would really like to be able to serve my own family recipe for herbed nuts in the bar. Thanks!

Answer
Hi Anna,

The people you need to ask about this is our local health department, environmental health services division --(the people who inspect your bar).  

I don't see anything wrong in what you have described since nuts are not a potentially hazardous food but only a ready-to-eat food.  RTE foods should not be handled with a bare hand and you have indicated that the nuts would be served by using a scoop.

I'm not aware of any rules concerning whether the nuts you use are pre-cooked vs raw or are there rules for cooling them down to serve at room temperature.  Since nuts are phf, they can be served at room temperature and do not have to be "cooled down" within 6 hours to 41 degrees as phf foods.

So call you local health department and tell them exactly what foods you plan to prepare and serve and they will tell you what precautions you will need to take.

Good luck with your proposed business.

Carol

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Carol Schlitt

Expertise

I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.

Experience

I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc - www.safeandsavorysolution.com

Organizations
National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

Education/Credentials
BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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