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Food Safety Issues/Time limit to refrigerate cooked food

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Question
Your thorough and explanatory answers to all these questions people ask have been a breath of fresh air for me in a world of paranoia-causing food safety rules sent down from the powers that be. Thank you. May I ask: I notice you allow even home cooks a four hour window to get cooked food in the refrigerator. I always read four hours for commercial food places, two hours for home cooks. I wonder why the difference--do they count on commercial refrigerators cooling the food faster once it is put in, or do they think people won't really keep track of time so they make the rule stricter, or what else? Can I really relax a little?

Answer
The rule is simple. Cooked food can't be in the danger zone between 40F-135F for more than 4 hours. I don't know where you read 2 hours for home cooks but this may a safety factor someone has built in not trusting home cooks I guess. Commercial refrigerators may cool faster if they are designed with a lot of air movement from fans in the units but that doesn't really matter. You can relax as long as you refrigerate cooked food before 4 hours goes by. Thanks.

Food Safety Issues

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Carl LaFrate

Expertise

I can answer food safety questions relative to food processing, retail food and food salvage after a catastrophic event such as a hurricane, flood, ammonia leak or fire. Questions related to HACCP, Regulatory, GFSI, SQF, BRC, liability issues, contamination events, pest infestation, pest control methodology,food safety defense, pathogen prevention such as L. Monocytogenes control in food processing and retail, any subject related to food safety including at home issues.

Experience

30 years experience as a food safety consultant working for the top food processors, food retailers and insurance companies that write liability policies related to food processing, storage and distribution. My firm employees 6 full time food safety auditors. I work for top law firms throughout the USA and am a staff consultant for Douglas Peterson and Associates, one of the top forensic engineering firms in the world. I also work with Risk Solutions International, a global leader in risk management.

Organizations
New York State Association for Food Protection, past president, executive board Central Atlantic States Association of Food and Drug Officials

Publications
Progressive Grocer Magazine Smart Money Magazine Private Label Buyer Magazine Supermarket News Natural Foods Merchandiser Magazine Food Service Director Magazine NYS Association for Food Protection Annual Report NYS Association for Food Protection Newsletter

Education/Credentials
Syracuse University, Microbiology/Biology NYS College of Environmental Sciences, Plant and Environmental Biology Cornell University, Food and Dairy Processing

Awards and Honors
Wm. Hickey Award (2006), NYS Association for Food Protection, for contributions in the field of food safety and sanitation New York State Integrated Pest Management Award (2007), NYS Assoc. for Food Protection, for contributions in the filed of integrated pest management.

Past/Present Clients
Pillsbury, Agri-Mark, Associated Grocers, Beatrice Foods, Cargill, Southern Cold Storage, Quaker, Ben & Jerry’s, Delverde Pasta (Italy), New York Bakery, Cabot Cheese, Hazelwood Farms, General Mills, Price Chopper Supermarkets, P&C Supermarkets, Great American Supermarkets, Tops Markets, Big M Supermarkets, Big Bear Supermarkets, Frito-Lay Distribution Centers, IBP, Excell, Eckerd Drugs, Rite Aid Drug Stores, Fay’s Drugs, Carl’s Drugs, AWI Wholesale Food Distribution, McLane Food Distributors, Golub Food Distribution, many supermarket chains (many include large scale specialty food service operations), Burger King, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Darden Foods (Red Lobster, Olive Garden), LSG Skychefs (Germany, US), Glen Mills Schools, Cornell University, Crider Poultry, Caesar’s Palace, The Oneida Indian Nation, Taylor Meat Packing, UCB Packaging Films

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