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Some foods thrive bacteria more easily and quickly than various other foods. These foods items are known as time/temperature control for safety and security (TCS) foods since they require certain time and also temperature controls to protect against unsafe bacteria growth. These foods are sometimes called potentially hazardous foodstuffs (PHFs) because they come to be hazardous if their bacteria expansion is no controlled.

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Recognizing TCS foods and also knowing just how to properly take care of them is critical factor that food safety. This post walks v all the basics that TCS foodstuffs to aid you learn an ext about them and know exactly how to save your customers or guest safe. Recognizing TCS foods and knowing just how to properly handle them is critical responsibility for both food managers and food handlers.

What is a TCS food?

Some foodstuffs are more vulnerable to microorganism growth 보다 others. TCS foodstuffs are foodstuffs that:

Have high carbohydrate and protein levelsAre neutral or slightly acidicContain moisture

Most usual TCS foods

The most typical TCS foods items include:

Meat productsEggsFish and shellfishDairyCream or custardCooked vegetablesPotato dishesProtein-rich plantsRaw sproutsCut leafy greensCut garlic in oilSliced melons and also tomatoes

Why TCS foodstuffs can it is in dangerous

Bacteria need simply three points to grow: food, moisture, and warmth. Small amounts that bacteria growth in TCS food are not a problem, however too lot can reason foodborne illness. TCS foodstuffs have the nutrients and also moisture bacteria have to grow. Include time and warmth come the mix, and also these foods can come to be bacteria breeding grounds.

Time is critical part of bacteria growth. Once bacteria have food, warmth, and moisture, their numbers can dual every twenty minutes. After 4 hours, most TCS foods items will have a high enough bacteria count that they become dangerous to eat.

The temperature of TCS foods can likewise encourage bacteria growth. The temperature variety between 41° and also 135° Fahrenheit creates problems for rapid bacteria growth. This temperature selection is so fine suited for bacteria the it’s referred to as the temperature danger zone. TCS foodstuffs in the temperature danger zone will thrive bacteria quickly and can easily end up being hazardous.

How to keep TCS foods items safe

TCS foods can be preserved safe by minimizing the time they spend in the temperature danger zone (41–135° F). As soon as food is in the temperature hazard zone, pathogens grow and multiply in ~ a rapid rate and also can make food unsafe come eat.

In restaurant service, the two most usual ways the controlling virus growth space time and also temperature controls.

How long deserve to food be left out?

TCS foods that are ready-to-eat have the right to be safely spend in a 4 hour window. If they have not been temperature controlled, they should be discarded after four hours. Warm held and cold held foods items can be offered for four hours there is no temperature controls if they room discarded after ~ the four-hour time limit.

Cold foods can be served for six hrs as long as the food temperature stays below 70° Fahrenheit. Discard cold food that warm to end 70° Fahrenheit. If you perform not regularly inspect the temperature the cold food that is no temperature controlled, you have to throw it far after 4 hours.

The temperature danger zone

To stop dangerous growth, TCS foodstuffs are maintained out that the temperature peril zone or relocated through that quickly. Food temperatures are controlled with freezing, refrigeration, or holding. Food is refrigerated or frozen till it is all set for service. If needed, cooked TCS foods items can it is in safely cooled for later on use by making use of the two-step cooling method. Ready-to-eat TCS dishes have the right to be hot held above 135° or cold held listed below 41° Fahrenheit.

There space times once TCS foods items will pass through the temperature danger zone, such as warming and cooling. In order to keep foodstuffs safe, carry out your best to minimize the moment food spends in the temperature hazard zone.

Cooling foods

When cooling foods, the FDA Food password recommends a two-stage cooling process. First, the food should be cooled native 135° come 70° levels Fahrenheit in two hours or less. Second, the food need to be cooled native 70° to 40° Fahrenheit in 4 hours or less. Full cooling should not exceed 6 hours.

Large batches the food, such together a large pot of stew, have to not it is in cooled in one huge container in a refrigerator. Doing therefore does not enable the food come cool rapid enough and keeps the food in the temperature danger zone because that too long and allows pathogens to thrive to one unsafe level.

An inexpensive way to effectively cool large batches of food is to division it right into smaller containers. Save the containers uncovered while cooling to stop extra moisture, however be certain to covering it as soon as it has actually finished cooling.

Warming foods

When reheating foods items that will certainly be warm held, the food should be heated to 165° Fahrenheit or higher. Foods should reach 165° F in two hrs or less. Due to the fact that foods should be reheated in a fast manner, it is vital to use suitable cooking or rethermalizing tools such as a microwave, stove, or oven. Do not attempt to reheat food for hot holding in warming trays or various other hot-holding equipment since these tools will not warmth up the food fast enough and will allow pathogens to grow.

These methods of time and temperature control effectively prevent bacteria growth. With an excellent controls, bacteria growth can be restricted and TCS foods kept safe.

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Suzanna Sandridge

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in October 2016 and has been updated because that freshness, accuracy, and also comprehensiveness.