If you're a food business that processes food, it's important to use correct techniques so the food stays safe to eat.
What are the requirements?
Under Standard 3.2.2 - Food Safety Practices and General Requirements, food businesses must transport food in a way that keeps it safe and suitable.
This means the food is protected from contamination, processed using known safe techniques and kept at a safe temperature.
Reduce your risk
Start with safe food
- Before you process food, make sure it is safe and suitable (e.g. ingredients from reliable suppliers, safely stored, inspected).
Prevent food contamination
- Make sure food handlers know how to correctly use processing equipment and maintain good hygiene.
- Keep food processing areas clean.
- Clean and sanitise food contact surfaces before use (e.g. chopping boards, cutting and mixing blades, probe thermometers).
- Use separate equipment or areas for preparing raw and ready-to-eat foods, or clean thoroughly between uses.
Use processing steps known to achieve food safety
- Know the critical limits for temperature, time, pH and water activity used for your food processing steps.
- When cooking or pasteurising, ensure the time and temperature makes food safe (e.g. cook chicken and mince to an internal temperature of ≥75°C).
- When using other processes such as acidification, fermentation and drying, make sure the food reaches the correct critical limit (e.g. pH ≤4.2 to prevent Salmonella growth).
Keep food at safe temperatures
- For potentially hazardous food, keep it cold, keep it hot or make it quick. See next section.
For potentially hazardous food:
- Minimise the time food spends in the temperature danger zone (between 5°C and 60°C).
- Keep track of this time to keep food safe: generally, it should not exceed 4 hours.
Rapidly cool cooked foods:
- within 2 hours, from 60°C to ≤21°C
- then within the next 4 hours, from 21°C to ≤5°C.
Check food during cooling to be sure these times and temperatures are met.
Tips for faster cooling
- portion foods into shallow containers
- use rapid cooling equipment (e.g. blast chillers)
- frequently stir foods with cleaned and sanitised utensils
- use ice or iced water baths
- check cool air can circulate around food containers.
Rapidly reheat cook-cooled foods
Reheat foods to ≥60°C as quickly as possible (e.g. by microwave or oven) before transferring to hot-holding equipment such as bain maries.
Avoid repeated heating and cooling, to reduce the time food is in the danger zone.