Potentially hazardous foods

Background

Potentially hazardous foods need special handling to keep them safe and specific food standards apply.

The simplest and most effective way of controlling the growth of bacteria is proper temperature control.


Guideline

The Authority has prepared a guide on storing and displaying potentially hazardous foods.

The guide includes:

  • information on assessing products, and
  • findings for foods previously assessed.

The guide was developed for environmental health officers who routinely encounter seemingly perishable food on display in the temperature danger zone between 5° and 60°C.

Businesses might also find the guide and list of references useful.

 

Click to open document: Potentially hazardous foods: Foods that require temperature control for safety.CONTENTS (27 pages)
Executive summary
Regulations and guidelines
- Australian definition of Potentially Hazardous Food
- Institute of Food Technologists/US FDA suggested definition of Potentially Hazardous Food
How to determine if foods are potentially hazardous
- Water activity (aw) as the control factor for pathogen growth
- pH as the control factor for pathogen growth
- Interactions between pH and raw
- Foods that are not PHF
- Potentially Hazardous Foods
Common issues
- Warm food (less than 60°C) in a Bain Marie
- Salads and cut meats displayed above 5°C
- Pre-cut sandwiches and rolls
- Ambient or cool display of sushi
- Ambient display of seemingly perishable Asian foods
- Baked goods
Alternative methods of compliance
- Demonstrating alternative compliance
- Individual product assessment
Conclusion
References and further reading
Appendices
1. Water activity as the control factor for pathogen growth
2. Estimation of water activity during an inspection
3. pH as the control factor for pathogen growth
4. Estimation of pH during an inspection
5. United States Food and Drug Administration definition of Potentially Hazardous Food
6. Temperature control recommendations – Previously considered products

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