Temperature control is not a term that most people think about in their daily life. However, if you work in the foodservice industry, it likely should be.
Temperature control is just one of many things you must consider before serving food to the general public. Fortunately, it’s also something that anyone can learn about quickly by taking an online food handlers course and obtaining a certificate.
While you’re considering which course provider to work with, learn more about temperature control for food handlers below.
What is Temperature Control?
Temperature control for food handlers is a fundamental principle of food safety. It refers to ensuring you control the temperature of all food you will be serving to ensure it’s safe for consumption. Failure to do so can result in foodborne illness outbreaks, lawsuits, fines, and poor inspection ratings.
There is no way to eliminate bacteria in a food preparation environment and in the food itself. Still, being aware of high-risk food groups and their appropriate storage temperatures can mean you’re able to reduce just how much bacteria there is.
High-Risk Food Requiring Temperature Control
Whether you’re a cook, server, busser, or someone else who works with food, a food handlers permit course walks you through the various intricacies of temperature control. This includes the food types that are more susceptible to rapid bacteria growth than others, like those high in protein and carbs, moist foods, and those with neutral to slightly acidic pH levels.
Foods that fall into these categories are:
- Seafood – Fish, shellfish, and crustaceans
- Tofu and soy products
- Cooked potato, vegetables, beans, pasta, and rice
- Raw sprouts
- Cooked onions
- Cut garlic in oil
- Leafy greens
- Sliced melon
Prepared foods that contain any of the above may also require close temperature monitoring.
Learning About Temperatures
You now know that temperature control is an integral part of safe food handling, but what are safe and unsafe temperatures?
For something to be in the ‘temperature danger zone,’ they sit at temperatures between 41-135°F. Within this temperature range, pathogens in your food double every 20 minutes. Within just four hours of food being in that danger zone, there is a high chance of illness.
Move your foods through the temperature zone quickly to reach optimal temperatures. Store cold foods below 41°F and hot foods above 135°F.
Why Is Temperature Control Necessary in the Food Industry?
According to foodsafety.gov, millions of Americans are affected by contaminated food every year. We may have one of the safest food supplies globally, but 48 million people are still struck down by foodborne illnesses annually. Out of those millions, 128,000 will require hospitalization, and about 3,000 will lose their life.
The most common causes of foodborne illnesses are bacteria, viruses, parasites, allergens, molds, toxins, and contaminants.
Symptoms can be as minor as stomach cramps, an upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. Though, at the extreme end, foodborne illnesses can lead to kidney failure, chronic arthritis, brain and nerve damage, and death.
According to the USDA, most foodborne illness cases could be prevented with proper cooking and food processing. Learning something as simple yet as crucial as temperature control could end up being a life-saving measure.
How to Be Mindful of Temperature Control
There are many ways to go about being mindful of temperature control. The first is education. When you undertake an online course to receive your food handlers certificate, you gain an understanding of temperature control’s importance and how to monitor it.
Temperature measuring devices like thermometers can prove useful for monitoring temperatures. We’ve also included some helpful tips below
- Store food in the refrigerator at 40°F or below
- Store food in the freezer at 0°F or below
- Cook raw beef, lamb, veal, and pork steaks, chops, and roasts, to a minimum internal temperature of 145°F – measured with a food thermometer
- Cook raw ground beef, lamb, pork, and veal to a minimum internal temperature of 160°F – measured with a food thermometer
- Cook poultry to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F – measured with a food thermometer
- Ensure hot food remains at 140°F or above
- Reheat cooked food to 165°F
Get Your Food Handlers Card Today
When you enter the hospitality industry for the first time, there is a lot to learn. However, much of what you do revolves around food. Before you start working with and preparing food, make sure you’ve located an online course provider who can offer an accredited permit. And if you’re wondering, yes, Texas is a state that requires and food handler permit.
TABC Pronto is an excellent example of the high-quality providers out there. Not only is our food handlers card course affordable at just $6.99, but the platform is user-friendly, and there’s no final exam. Learn as much about temperature control as possible to keep your loyal customers safe. Enroll in our Texas Food Handlers course today.