Hot TCS food needs to be cooled before storage. What is the maximum amount of time you should allow when bringing food down from 135°F to the storage temperature of 41°F or lower?
Explanation: Hot TCS food should not be allowed to remain in the temperature danger zone for more than 4 hours (between 135°F and 41°F). So why is the answer to this question 6 hours and not 4 hours?This is because the food will be cooled and then reheated in a controlled manner. There are a few more rules regarding cooling and reheating foods that make everything work.The TCS food must be cooled from 135°F to 70°F within 2 hours. Because this is the temperature range that microorganisms will thrive and reproduce the most rapidly.Then, the TCS food must be cooled from 70°F to the storage temperature of 41°F or lower within 4 hours.Finally, when reheating TCS food that will be hot-held for service, it must be cooked again to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F for 15 seconds. This will kill the microorganisms that reproduced during the cooling process.However, if the food will be immediately served to a customer, it does not need to be reheated and can be served at any temperature. As long as it has been previously cooked and cooled properly.This entire process can be simplified by cooling the food very rapidly with a blast chiller or another method. Then there is no need to monitor the time so closely.