Figure 7-1 illustrates the relationship between size of portion and time required
for cooling. For example, assume that a 4-inch high portion of food in a container would
take 4 hours to cool to a safe temperature (container A in figure 7-1). It would require
16 hours for an 8-inch portion of the same food in the same container to reach a safe
temperature (container B in figure 7-1). A 12-inch portion of this food would require 36
hours for sufficient cooling (container C in figure 7-1).
Figure 7-1. Time required to reach a safe temperature for different portions of food.
COOLING HOT FOODS
a. The principles governing how foods cool form the basis for food cooling
techniques. You must ensure that food service personnel follow these techniques.
b. Check to be sure that food service personnel use shallow containers for
cooling foods in the refrigerator. The maximum depth of the container for rapid cooling
is 3 inches. Shallow containers that expose a large surface area of the food will
accelerate cooling even more. Cutting or slicing foods into smaller portions will also
increase surface area and promote rapid cooling. In addition, food service personnel
can stir or agitate the contents of the container to encourage cooling and to ensure that
the inner portion of the food is also cooled.
c. You should also be aware that placing large amounts of hot food in a
refrigerator can raise the temperature of the refrigerator unit. The unit may reach a
temperature where it no longer cools satisfactorily. This will prevent the hot foods from
cooling adequately and could endanger the food items already in the refrigerator. When
performing your inspection, check to determine that personnel are not overloading a
refrigeration unit with hot foods.
d. Also be alert for hot foods left to cool at room temperature. This practice will
allow foods to remain in the danger zone for a long period of time. Food service
personnel must cool foods as quickly as possible. Two effective methods are to: