6. Service

Holding Food

Holding Temperatures and Procedures

  • Hold hot food at 135°F (57°C) or higher
  • Hold cold food at 41°F (5°C) or lower
  • Check temperatures at least every 4 hours
  • Throw out food not at 41°F (5°C) or lower
  • Throw out food not at 135°F (57°C) or higher
  • Check temperatures every 2 hours to leave time for corrective action
  • NEVER use hot-holding equipment to reheat food unless it’s designed for it
  • Reheat food correctly, and then move it into a holding unit

Cold food can be held without temperature control for up to six hours if:

  • It was held at 41°F (5°C) or lower before removing it from refrigeration
  • It does not exceed 70°F (21°C) during service
  • Throw out food that exceeds 70°F (21°C)
  • It has a label specifying: Time it was removed from refrigeration and time it must be thrown out
  • It is sold, served, or thrown out within six hours

Hot food can be held without temperature control for up to four hours if:

  • It was held at 135°F (57°C) or higher before removing it from temperature control
  • It has a label specifying when the item must be thrown out
  • It is sold, served, or thrown out within four hours

Serving Food

Prevent contamination when serving food:

  • Wear single-use gloves whenever handling ready-to-eat food. As an alternative use spatulas, tongs,deli sheets, or other utensils
  • Use clean and sanitized utensils for serving
  • Store serving utensils correctly between uses
  • On a clean and sanitized food-contact surface
  • Use separate utensils for each food
  • Clean and sanitize utensils after each task
  • At minimum, clean and sanitize them at least once every four hours
  • In the food with the handle extended above the container rim

Preset Tableware

Prevent preset tableware from being contaminated by wraping or covering the items; however, it is not necessary to wrap or cover them if:

  • The extra settings are removed when the guests are seated, or
  • The extra settings are cleaned and sanitized after the guest have left

NEVER re-serve:

  • Food returned by one customer to anothercustomer
  • Uncovered condiments
  • Uneaten bread
  • Plate garnishes

Self Service Areas

Self-Service Areas Requirements

  • Use sneeze guards – Must be located 14″ (36cm) above the counter, must extend 7″ (18cm) beyond the food
  • Identify all food items – Label food, place salad dressing names on ladle handles
  • Keep hot food at 135°F (57°C) or higher
  • Keep cold food at 41°F (5°C) or lower
  • Keep raw meat, fish, and poultry separate from ready-to-eat food
  • Do NOT let customers refill dirty plates or use dirty utensils at self-service areas
  • Stock food displays with the correct utensils for dispensing food
  • Do NOT use ice as an ingredient if it was used to keep food or beverages cold

Labeling Bulk Food in Self-Service Areas

  • Make sure the label is in plain view of the customer
  • Include the manufacturer or processor label provided with the food

A label is not needed for bulk unpackaged food, such as bakery products, if:

  • The product makes no claim regarding health or nutrient content
  • No laws requiring labeling exist
  • The food is manufactured or prepared on the premises
  • The food is manufactured or prepared at another regulated food operation or processing plant owned by the same person

Off-Site Service

When delivering food off-site:

  • Use insulated, food-grade containers designed to stop food from mixing, leaking, or spilling
  • Clean the inside of delivery vehicles regularly
  • Check internal food temperatures
  • Label food with a use-by date and time, and reheating and service instructions
  • Make sure the service site has the correct utilities (i.e. potable water for drinking and dishwashing)
  • Store raw meat, poultry, and seafood, and ready-to-eat items separately

Vending Machines

  • Check product shelf life daily
  • Keep TCS food at the correct temperature
  • Dispense TCS food in its original container
  • Wash and wrap fresh fruit with edible peels before putting it in the machine