Changes to Cold Holding Temperatures in NC

January 2, 2019

Did you know? On January 1st, 2019, cold holding temperature requirement for Time/Temperature Control for Safety (TCS) foods will change from 45°F to 41°F.



Importance of Changes
Federal estimates indicate that there are about 48 million cases of een 41° to 135°F will cause bacteriafood borne illness annually. TCS foods reading at a temperature betw

to grow at dangerous levels which could lead to several food borne illnesses. Current science, research, and key stakeholders support reducing temperatures from 45°F to 41°F to provide the safest food for all consumers and prevent food borne illness.


Why is this Change Happening?
• Pathogens, such as Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, can grow at 45°F, but not at 41°F.
• Listeria monocytogenes is a species of bacteria that can cause serious illness in certain people, such as pregnant women, the elderly, and immune-compromised people.
• Listeria grows at a much faster rate at 45°F than it does at 41°F
• When illness from listeria occurs, it leads to more hospitalizations than any other food borne pathogen and is responsible for one-third of mortality.
• Holding cold food at 41°F or below, instead of 45°F or below, is the safest way to protect customers from illness.


How Listeria Outbreaks May Occur

 • Food can be contaminated with listeria in the manufacturing environment and then continue to grow at refrigerated temperatures once in a food establishment.
• Food equipment (slicers, milk shake machines, etc.) may be contaminated with listeria and cause contamination of food products when used in a food establishment.
• When outbreaks occur, they have led to devastating human cost along with a potential irreparable reputation.


What Can You Do?
Things to do to ensure compliance.
• Take temperatures often to ensure food is below 41°F.
• Do not overfill food containers in preparation coolers, and make sure that food is below 41°F before placing into cold holding units.
• Ensure equipment has regular maintenance and adequate internal and external air flow.



Code Sections Affected by this Change
• 3-501.12 – Slacking
• 3-501.13 – Thawing
• 3-501.14 – Cooling
• 3-501.16 – Cold Holding
• 3-501.17 – Date Marking
• 3-501.19 – Time as a Public Health Control






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