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Keep Hot Foods Hot: Focusing on Food Safety

Keep Hot Foods Hot: Focusing on Food Safety

Warming and Holding Foods Safely

Holding prepared foods at consistent temperature over time will maintain the quality, flavor and most importantly the safety of foods. Keeping hot foods hot minimizes the opportunity for harmful bacteria to proliferate, ensuring a more healthful product. To keep foods hot and ensure safe consumption, follow these guidelines:

  • Stir foods and keep them covered to help evenly distribute the heat.
  • Always double check temperatures with a meat thermometer. Keep food temperatures above 140°F and out of the danger zone.
  • Throw away food if it sits at a temperature below 140 °F for two hours or more.
  • Prepare and cook only as much food as needed for event to minimize the amount of leftovers that may go bad.
Commercial Hot Holding Equipment
HACCP NSF poster

There are numerous types of equipment used for holding hot foods according to HACCP regulations. Any equipment used for holding hot foods needs to be preheated before any food is added to it. Cold equipment may cause foods to cool to an unsafe temperature, potentially putting foods within the danger zone.

Different situations and food-types require different types of warming equipment. Check out the products below for an idea of what may be best for your business.

  • Stir foods and keep them covered to help evenly distribute the heat.
  • Always double check temperatures with a . Keep food temperatures above 140°F and out of the danger zone.
  • In a convenience-store or self-serve environment, merchandising cabinets, drawer warmers, and overhead warmers may be most appropriate.
  • Restaurants and delicatessens benefit from round warmers in the front of the house and holding cabinets in the kitchen.
  • Buffets, hotels, cafeterias and catering services may make use of hot holding equipment like chafing dishes and countertop wamers.
  • Caterers capitalize on keeping foods prepared and safe for immediate consumption. Food carriers and portable food bars are ideal for transporting and holding foods safely.