Temperature and Time Requirements for Foods
Safe Food is Good Business

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Temperature and Time Requirements for Foods
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Temperature and time are the most important factors for controlling growth of disease-causing bacteria in food. This fact sheet will help foodworkers use time and temperature to ensure safe food and reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

Temperature danger zone

  • Temperature danger zone is between 41°F and 140°F.
  • Keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Always use a thermometer to check food temperatures.
  • Potentially hazardous foods must pass through the temperature danger zone as quickly as possible.

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Cooking raw animal foods

Always use an accurate food thermometer to make sure foods are cooked to and held at these safe temperatures.

The table and figure below show minimum cooking requirements for
some common raw animal foods.


Internal Temperature and Time

Wild game
Stuffed fish, meat, pasta or poultry
Stuffing containing fish, meat or poultry

165°F for 15 seconds

Chopped or ground meat, fish, and commercially raised game
Injected or tenderized meats
Eggs for hot holding

155°F for 15 seconds
150°F for 1 minute
145°F for 3 minutes

Commercially raised game
Eggs for immediate service

145°F for 15 seconds

The Cooking Beef and Corned Beef Roasts fact sheet summarizes cooking requirements based on oven type and weight of roast.


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Cooling foods

  • Cool hot foods from 140°F to 70°F within two hours and to 41°F within four hours of reaching 70°F.
  • The faster foods are cooled, the better.

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Cold holding foods

  • Maintain cold foods at 41°F or below.
  • Frozen foods must remain frozen.

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Hot holding foods

  • Maintain hot foods at 140°F or above.
  • Properly cooked roasts may be held at 130°F or above.

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Reheating foods

  • Food made in-house and reheated for hot holding must reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F for 15 seconds.
  • Food made in a food processing plant, opened in the food establishment, and reheated for hot holding must reach a temperature of 140°F.
  • Reheat foods rapidly, within two hours.
  • Food that has been cooked and cooled properly may be served at any temperature if it is going to be served immediately.

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Microwave cooking and reheating

If cooking or reheating foods in a microwave, heat all parts of the food to 165°F. Cover and rotate or stir the food during the process. Afterwards, allow the covered food to stand for two minutes before serving.

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Updated Wednesday, October 07, 2015 at 01:09PM