What is the total amount of time that you should allow for cooling a hot TCS food down from 135°F to 41°F or lower before putting it into cold storage?
Hot TCS food should be cooled before being put into cold storage. Hot TCS food is held at 135°F or higher, but it must be brought down to 41°F or lower before being placed in the cooler. This range of temperatures is the Temperature Danger Zone, so we must be careful and do it quickly. The total amount of time for the cooling process should take no longer than 6 hours. The food should be brought down from 135°F to 70°F within 2 hours. Then it should be brought down from 70°F to 41°F within 4 hours. The reason the food must be brought down through the range of 135°F to 70°F more quickly than the range of 70°F to 41°F is that bacteria grow the most rapidly within the temperature range of 70°F to 125°F.