Cooling of Foods in Retail Foodservice Operations
The Food and Drug Administration’s Model Food Code requires that food be cooled from 57.2°C to 21.1°C (135°F to 70°F) within two hours and from 57.2°C to 5°C (135°F to 41°F) within a total of six hours. The FDA defines cooling as a critical control point essential to preventing foodborne illness outbreaks. The purpose of this research was to determine if common cooling practices used in retail foodservice operations, such as those in schools, would meet the FDA Model Food Code standards. Two food products were tested, chili con carne with beans and tomato sauce (meatless). Products were cooled at 5.1 cm (2-inch) and 7.6 cm (3-inch) depths in stainless steel counter pans placed uncovered in a walk-in refrigerator, a walk-in freezer, and a walk-in refrigerator with an ice bath. An additional treatment utilizing three gallons of product was cooled in a stockpot placed in a walk-in refrigerator with the use of a chill stick. Cooling the product in a walk-in freezer, with a depth of 5.1 cm (2-inches), was the only method that met both FDA Model Food Code time and temperature standards. Cooling in a walk-in refrigerator with a chill stick required the longest cooling time.
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