8: Time / Temperature Control for Safety Food (TCS)

Audio Version

Just like there are some people who are more likely to develop a foodborne illness than others, there is some food that is much more likely to make people sick than others. This is referred to as time/temperature control for safety food (TCS food).

We like to categorize time/temperature control for safety food (TCS food) into several categories. One is high protein, animal based products like meat, poultry, dairy, fish, shellfish, and eggs.

Another category is “heat treated plant food” which is basically cooked vegetables (and fruit) such as baked potatoes, cooked rice, baked beans, and steamed asparagus.

The third category we refer to as “other.” Under “other”, we have food items such as cut melons (watermelon, cantaloupe, or honey dew melon); sliced tomatoes; raw sprouts (alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts, or radish sprouts); soy products which include tofu and soy burgers; cut leafy greens such as lettuce and cabbage; and garlic-in-oil mixtures. All of these items are considered “potentially hazardous” and must be treated as such: they must be kept hot (135° F [57° C] or above) or cold (41° F [5° C] or lower). This food sitting at room temperature can and will make people sick.

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