Hot holding temperatures are necessary for the safe sale and consumption of pizza. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets guidelines for temperature control in manufactured food products and requires that potentially hazardous foods, such as pizza, be held at a temperature of 135°F or above to ensure their safety. Hot holding is an important consideration when preparing, storing, and selling pizzas in order to assure the health and safety of consumers.
This guide provides information on the maximum hot holding temperature requirements for pizza under FDA regulations and other related food handling considerations that are important to follow in order to reduce the risk of food-borne illnesses in consumers. It also offers tips on how to properly store, prepare, reheat and keep pizzas hot when providing them at a retail or commercial establishment or participating in a catering event.
The FDA Food Code
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued the Food Code in 2017 to provide guidance for the safe preparation and holding of food. According to the FDA Food Code, the maximum hot holding temperature for pizza is 135 degrees Fahrenheit, or 57 degrees Celsius. This regulation applies to all restaurants and food service establishments in the United States. Those interested in learning more about the FDA Food Code and its requirements for hot holding temperatures should keep reading.
Definition of Hot Holding
Hot holding is defined by the FDA Food Code as the “maintenance of food in an acceptable temperature range of 140°F (60°C) or above, to limit pathogen growth and toxin formation.” This temperature range must be achieved quickly upon removal from a cooking process, and food must remain within this range during hot holding to prevent bacteria from multiply to unsafe levels. Hot holding can occur either before or after service; for example, pizza may be preheated on a plate warmer before being served or held on a warmer until all orders are completed.
The maximum hot holding temperature requirement for pizza is 135°F (57°C). This temperature can be measured at the hottest point of the product with a probe thermometer, ensuring adequate safety while maintaining product quality and taste. In addition, pizza should only be held hot at this temperature for up to two hours; otherwise it should promptly refrigerate or dispose of it. It’s important to properly train your staff on how to accurately measure pizza temperatures with a thermometer and ensure that any issues that arise are handled quickly and appropriately.
The FDA Food Code sets temperatures that must be maintained throughout the various stages of food preparation, storage, and transport in restaurants and other food service establishments. Temperature controls help ensure food safety by reducing pathogens that may lead to foodborne illnesses. The requirements set forth in the Food Code are meant to prevent bacterial growth as well as preserve peak freshness in products like fish, meat, poultry, eggs and certain dairy products.
Food serving establishments must store potentially hazardous foods (time/temperature control for safety foods) at cold temperature of 41°F or below. Hot temperature potentially hazardous foods must be held at 135°F or above. Some examples of time/temperature control for safety foods include seafood, eggs, poultry and unpasteurized dairy products.
In order to maintain safe temperatures, many businesses use refrigerators, heat lamps and other equipment designed to keep cooked items safely warm while retaining freshness of raw ingredients. Even when they are in refrigeration units these items must remain at their prescribed temperatures – some bacteria can still reproduce under cold storage conditions (which is why the cold storage maximum is set at 41°F). High-volume businesses also employ chart recorders to monitor temperature fluctuations correctly. Such tools also help companies create audit trails that track any changes made within their supply chain process so they can stay compliant with FSMA mandated requirements from suppliers health inspections audits or records reviews .
State and Local Regulations
Regulated by the government, state and local regulations apply to the maximum hot holding temperature for pizza. Different states and local jurisdictions have different requirements regarding the temperature and time frame for food safety. It is important to understand these regulations in order to comply with food safety guidelines and prevent foodborne illnesses. This section will cover the state and local regulations regarding the maximum hot holding temperature for pizza.
State-Specific Hot Holding Requirements
The requirements around hot holding temperatures vary by state and in some cases, by county or municipality. In order to comply with the applicable hot holding temperature regulations, it is important to understand the requirements for your specific location.
It is legally required for foods to be at least 140°F (60°C) when held in steam tables and hot boxes. Prior to serving, cooked foods must be served within 2 hours after being removed from a heat source or reheated to 165°F (74°C). This is especially important when storing products such as pizza, casseroles, gravies, soups and sauces. Additionally, some local health department regulations may also require food safety thermometers for local food service establishments.
In California, according to state laws 4-204.118(A)-(E), hot held pizza must be maintained at a temperature of 140 °F or higher while in a commercial restaurant environment. Furthermore, temperature guidelines are enforced by the California Food Code section 114099 (C) which states that food products must always remain above 140 °F when served at community events such as carnivals and festivals. For example, pizza slices must remain above 140 °F after being removed from a heat source until they are consumed either directly or indirectly through dispensing equipment during any approved community event such as fairs and festivals.
Similarly in Texas’ Texas Health & Safety Code Chapter 435 Subchapter G Section 437 which regulates local public health departments that cover restaurants considers all cooked foods except whole eggs stored over time as potentially hazardous requiring cooling and storage between 41°F – 135°F (5°C – 57°C). Therefore hot held pizza slices must be kept above 135˚ F (57˚ C). Moreover local authority public health departments issued additional rules requiring all packages of pre-cooked products shall be tempered openly prior to storage in heating devices such as steam tables set at temperatures not less than 175˚ F (79˚ C) and no more than 185˚ F (85˚ C).
Overall it is important to check with your state or municipal regulations before serving any type of pizza in order to ensure compliance with applicable laws regarding safe food handling practices related to temperature requirements during service or sale of these types of products.
Local Hot Holding Requirements
Hot holding is especially important in foodservice as it ensures that food is being kept at the ideal temperature for serving and eating. Local regulations typically cover a range of hot holding temperatures, with most locations requiring a minimum holding temperature of 135 °F (57 °C) for any foods that are deemed to be potentially hazardous.
The local health department should be consulted to determine the exact requirements for hot holding in the locality or state, but there are some general rules and best practices when it comes to hot holding.
For starters, foods must be held at least 15-25°F (8-14°C) above the safe minimal internal cooking temperature set by the FDA; this temperature will vary depending on the type of food being held. For example, beef, pork and poultry must reach an internal temperature of at least 145 °F (63 °C), fish should be cooked to 145 °F (63 °C), but whole cuts can go up 150°F (66°C )and ground meats must be cooked to 160°F (71°C). For instance if beef needs an internal cook temp above 145°F then it needs to be held above 160 °F(71°C). If items like rice or vegetables do not need to reach a particular minimal temperature they can usually still benefit from being kept warm –a temperature between 135–140°F (57–60°C).
Foods should also not remain in the hot holding equipment for more than four hours; after this time frame they should either be served or discarded accordingly. It’s also important that cooks check regularly on the place where food sits so that any hot spots can be identified and addressed immediately. Finally, always make sure that proper warnings are given when serving customers food from a hot holding system so they know exactly from where and how their meals were prepared.
Hot Holding Equipment
Hot holding regulations for pizza state that the food must be held at an internal temperature of at least 135°F. To ensure safety of food, commercial operators need to use equipment that is capable of maintaining the temperature. The most popular choice of hot holding equipment used in restaurants and catering services is the electric steam table. This equipment helps keep pizza warm while allowing quick and easy warming of the food. Let’s look closer at the features and considerations of electric steam tables.
Types of Hot Holding Equipment
Hot holding equipment is essential in any commercial kitchen. It keeps cooked foods at a safe temperature until they are served, and can often be used to reheat pre-cooked dishes or hold foods that were cooked in bulk. There are many different types of hot holding equipment, each designed to fulfill specific needs within the commercial kitchen.
1. Steam Tables: Steam tables use indirect heat, usually provided by either electric heating elements or steam systems, and can hold large amounts of food with minimal space. They often feature separate compartments that allow different dishes to be held simultaneously but kept at slightly different temperatures.
2. Hot Plates: These heating elements provide some of the highest levels of heat and allow food to be heated from directly beneath it without traditional flames or other energy sources coming into contact with the dish itself. They are perfect for quickly reheating dishes like sauces or gravies and for keeping small batches of pre-cooked dishes warm prior to serving.
3. Bain Maries: These containers use steam as a heat source and feature airtight seals between the container’s lid and its base so that the heat is trapped inside and doesn’t escape into the surrounding environment—keeping food at a safe temperature until served.
4. Convection Ovens: Convection ovens use powerful ventilation fans to circulate hot air around the oven’s interior and cook food quickly without drying it out as much as standard ovens do; these ovens can also double as an effective hot holding device for finished meals until service time arrives!
5. Warming Drawers: These specially built retracted drawers often found on the bottom portion of an oven allow chefs to keep finished meals at serving temperature without reheating them so that those delicate flavors aren’t lost in the process; these drawers can typically reach temperatures up to 200°F (93°C), depending on their construction materials!
Hot Holding Temperature Control
Maintaining food at a safe hot holding temperature is an important component of food safety, and hot holding equipment can assist with this task. Hot holding equipment maintains hot foods at a minimum of 140°F or higher to reduce the risk of bacterial growth. The equipment may include devices such as heated cabinets, microwaves, steam tables, pressure steamers, rethermalizers and slow cookers. Some units have built-in thermostats to regulate temperatures, while others are manually operated. Food safety guidelines should be followed to ensure the correct use of hot holding equipment and to minimize bacteria growth on/in food items while they are held safely warm in accordance with food safety regulations.
Temperature control is essential when using hot holding equipment since lower temperatures cannot kill bacteria and increase the risk that they will grow instead. Temperature control must also be monitored closely during use; it is recommended that temperature logs be kept for all units so that outliers can be tracked and investigated further for possible improvement or correction. Temperature controls should also include alarm systems that alert staff to any temperature fluctuations which cause the readings to exceed acceptable parameters. Additionally, staff should become familiar with local ordinances regarding temperatures specific to their area and/or country as these may differ from national standards or guidelines set forth by organizations such as ServSafe or BanquetSafe™ International Food Safety Certification Program].