Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 4: Nutrition and Food Service

4.8 Kitchen and Equipment

4.8.0 Maintaining Safe Food Temperatures

The facility should use refrigerators that maintain food temperatures of 41°F or lower in all parts of the food storage areas, and freezers should maintain temperatures of 0°F or lower in food storage areas.

Thermometers with markings in no more than 2° increments should be provided in all refrigerators, freezers, ovens, and holding areas for hot and cold foods. Thermometers should be clearly visible, easy to read, and accurate, and should be kept in working condition and regularly checked. Thermo-
meters should be mercury free.

Storage of food at proper temperatures minimizes bacterial growth (1).

The use of accurate thermometers to monitor temperatures at which food is cooked and stored helps to ensure food safety. Hot foods must be checked to be sure they reach temperatures that kill microorganisms in that type of food. Cold foods must be checked to see that they are being maintained at temperatures that safely retard the growth of bacteria. Thermometers with larger than 2° increments, are hard to read accurately.

Refrigerator and freezer thermometers are widely available in stores and over the Internet. They are available in both digital and analog forms. Providing thermometers with a dual scale in Fahrenheit and Celsius will avoid the necessity for a child care provider to convert temperature scales.
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
Appendix U: Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Cooking Temperatures
  1. Food Marketing Institute, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service. 1996. Facts about food and floods: A consumer guide to food quality and safe handling after a flood or power outage. Washington, DC: Food Marketing Institute.