In a nutshell: Precooked food should be kept in hot- or cold-holding devices within 2 hours if not served immediately or for display.

Precooked food, especially meat, poultry and gravy (e.g. stewed beef or curry), should be stored properly in hot or cold-holding devices within 2 hours if not for immediate serving:

Prolonged storage of food at room temperature can allow bacteria to thrive and spores to germinate, proliferating and even generating heat-resistant toxins.

Food display

Some restaurants, such as hot food takeaway shops, and hotel buffets have food displays. If food is displayed improperly, there is a high risk of contamination or spoilage. When displaying food, the following items must be considered:

Hot-holding devices are only intended for holding hot food for a short period of time and are not suitable for cooking or reheating food.

Be careful of dangerous holding temperatures

Some food business operators may put food in a hot-holding equipment at a temperature lower than 60°C, say 45°C, such that the food does not dry out quickly. This practice of keeping the food at dangerous temperatures allows harmful bacteria to proliferate. Therefore, food business operators should:

  • Constantly monitor and ensure that food is stored at above 60°C.

  • Display food as shortly as feasible.

  • Plan ahead to avoid preparing food too far in advance.

  • Remind customers to consume the food soon after purchase.

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