Safe food display is achieved by displaying food below 5 degrees celsius and above 60 degrees celsius however there is another way of displaying potentially hazardous food called the four hour, two hour rule but it is important to understand how the method works.
The Food Standards Code requires food business to store potentially hazardous food below 5 degrees celsius or alternatively above 60 degrees celsius to minimise the growth of bacteria such as Salmonella, E.coli and Camplylobacter that may cause food borne illness.
However section 25 of Standard 3.2.2 Food Safety Practices and General Requirements gives food businesses the option of using alternative methods of compliance provided the microbiological safety of the food is not jeopardised.
The method is best utilised in busy food premises such as cafes that prepare large numbers of sandwiches or salads for a busy period such as lunch time.
In practice this means that when food such as sandwiches are stored at greater than 5 degrees celcius in a retail display they cannot be removed and refrigerated for later use eg the next day.
Food that has been in the retail display for longer than 4 hours at greater than 5 degrees celsius must be removed and discarded.
It is also important to consider preparation time and include it in the time period out of temperature control eg if it takes 30 minutes to prepare a batch of sandwiches and you commence preparation at 11.00 am then the unsold food must be removed from sale and discarded at 3.00 pm.
Put simply the clock starts at the commencement of preparation rather than when it is placed in the display.
Don’t forget your ingredients. They are subject to the same criteria so ingredients that have been out of temperature control for two hours or greater cannot be placed back into the coolroom for later use. Best practice is to remove ingredients from refrigeration in small batches that can be used up in the ½ hour preparation time.
To use this alternative method of safe food display you need to be able to demonstrate to an authorised officer i.e. a council food inspector that:
We can also assist you with implementing a HACCP based food safety program that will ensure your food business prepares and sells safe food.
Contact us today for free consultation.