Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 4: Nutrition and Food Service

4.9 Food Safety

4.9.0

4.9.0.4: Leftovers


Food returned from individual plates and family style serving bowls, platters, pitchers, and unrefrigerated foods into which microorganisms are likely to have been introduced during food preparation or service, should be immediately discarded.

Unserved perishable food should be covered promptly for protection from contamination, should be refrigerated immediately, and should be used within twenty-four hours. “Perishable foods” include those foods that are subject to decay, spoilage or bacteria unless it is properly refrigerated or frozen (1).

Hot food can be placed directly in the refrigerator or it can be rapidly chilled in an ice or cold water bath before refrigerating. Hot foods should be promptly cooled first before they are fully covered in the refrigerator. Prepared perishable foods that have not been maintained at safe temperatures for two hours or more should be discarded immediately. If the air or room temperature is above 90°F, this time is reduced to one hour after which the food should be discarded (2). “Safe temperatures” mean keeping foods cold (below 41°F) or hot (above 135°F) (4).

RATIONALE
Served foods have a high probability of contamination during serving. Bacterial multiplication proceeds rapidly in perishable foods out of refrigeration, as much as doubling the numbers of bacteria every fifteen to twenty minutes.

The potential is high for perishable foods (food that is subject to decay, spoilage, or bacteria unless it is properly refrigerated or frozen) that have been out of the refrigerator for more than two hours to have substantial loads of bacteria. This time can be as short as one hour if the air temperature is above 90°F. When such food is stored and served again, it may cause foodborne illness.

COMMENTS
All food, once served or handled outside the food preparation area, should be discarded.
TYPE OF FACILITY
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS
4.8.0.6 Maintaining Safe Food Temperatures
REFERENCES
  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service. Glossary:Perishable. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/FoodScienceResearch/ToolsMaterials/UCM430363.pdf.
  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service. 2006. Safe food handling, basics for handling food safelyhttp://www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/Basics_for_Safe_Food_Handling.pdf.
  3. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service. 2006. Safe food handling, how temperatures affect food. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/pdf/How_Temperatures_Affect_Food.pdf
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 2009. 2009 Food code. College Park, MD: FDA.http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/FoodSafety/RetailFoodProtection/FoodCode/FoodCode2009/UCM189448.pdf.