How to cool foods correctly with the two stage cooling method

It’s important to follow food safety processes to correctly cool foods in the kitchen to avoid the growth of harmful bacteria that may cause food poisoning.

The general rule for cooling food is to use the two-stage cooling method. This method involves cooling the food to 21°C in less than two hours, then further decreasing this temperature to 5°C within four hours . If the food doesn’t reach 21°C in the first stage, it is recommended that the food is reheated and cooled again.

This method is effective as it helps avoid the food temperature danger zone of 21-60°C, in which bacteria grow at the fastest rate.

The following are Fildes Food Safety’s top tips for cooling food safely:

  • Ensure refrigerators and freezers are operating efficiently by installing and regularly checking temperatures with fridge/freezer thermometers. Fildes Food Safety stock a range of easy-to-read styles.
  • Use rapid equipment such as a blast chiller when possible
  • Divide food into small portions, particularly when cooling dense foods
  • Allow air to flow  around containers: never place a sealed container of hot food directly in the refrigerator as it can increase the overall fridge temperature placing other food at risk
  • Use containers that are the correct size for the food. Shallow containers allow for heat to disperse faster 

It is important to monitor the cooling process. This can be achieved by keeping accurate records of details such as the temperature and time recorded. The best way to accurately check the temperature of various foods is to implement the use of food thermometers into your routine.

Fildes Food Safety offers a wide range of food thermometers ideal for use in any kitchen from restaurant to commercial. Available options include digital and dial interfaces, and more specific capabilities such as allergen safe and. Learn more about the available products and order online.


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