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Cooking for Groups A Volunteer's Guide to Food Savvy Consumer: Cooking for Groups - A Volunteer's Guide to Food Safety
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When You Keep Food Hot

Once food is cooked or reheated, it should be held hot, at or above 140 °F. Food may be held in oven or on serving line in heated chafing dishes, or on preheated steam tables, warming trays, and/ or slow cookers. Always keep hot food hot.

Hot holding for extended periods may reduce the quality of the food.

When You Keep Food Cold

Store food in refrigerator set at 40 °F. If there is not enough room in the refrigerator, place food in coolers with ice, or commercial freezing gels. Always keep cold food cold.

When You Serve Food

Use clean containers and utensils to store and serve food. When a dish is empty or nearly empty, replace with fresh container of food, removing the previous container.

Keep It Cold

Place cold food in containers on ice. Hold cold foods at or below 40 °F. Food that will be portioned and served on the serving line should be placed in a shallow container. Place this container inside a deep pan filled partially with ice to keep food cold.

Food like chicken salad and desserts in individual serving dishes can also be placed directly on ice, or in a shallow container set in a deep pan filled with ice. Drain off water as ice melts and replace ice frequently.

Keep It Hot

Once food is thoroughly heated on stovetop, oven or in microwave oven, keep food hot by using a heat source. Place food in chafing dishes, preheated steam tables, warming trays, and/ or slow cookers. Check the temperature frequently to be sure food stays at or above 140 °F.

When You Finish Up

The information provided in this publication was developed as a guide for consumers who are preparing food for large groups. For additional information, and to ensure that all state regulations or recommendations for food preparation and service are followed, please contact your local or state health department.

Food service personnel should contact their local or state health department for information on the rules and regulations governing the preparation of food in retail or institutional settings.

Introduction -- Foodborne Illness: What You Need To Know -- What Is Foodborne Illness?
How Bacteria Get in Food -- In Case of Suspected Foodborne Illness -- Fight BAC! ™ -- When You Plan
When You Shop -- When You Store Food -- When You Prepare Food
When You Cook -- Internal Cooking Temperatures -- Danger Zone -- When You Chill Food
When You Transport Food -- When You Reheat Food -- When You Keep Food Hot
When You Keep Food Cold -- When You Serve Food -- Keep It Cold -- Keep It Hot -- When You Finish Up
Cold Storage Chart -- Foods Purchased Refrigerated -- Shelf- Stable Storage Chart -- Additional Resources

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