During a party, it is common to leave food out on the table for everyone to enjoy… but did you know there is a time limit for how long food should be left out? Certain foods, known as time and temperature control for safety (TCS) foods, should only be left out for a short amount of time. If left out for too long, they run the risk of entering the temperature danger zone.
What is the temperature danger zone?
The temperature danger zone refers to a range in temperature that is dangerous to leave TCS foods in. The temperature danger zone is anywhere between 41-135 degrees Fahrenheit. Leaving TCS foods in the temperature danger zone for too long allows bacteria to multiply to unsafe levels.
To keep TCS foods safe at a party, follow this advice from our TCS foods article:
TCS foods that are ready-to-eat can be safely consumed in a four hour window. If they have not been temperature controlled, they should be discarded after four hours. Hot held and cold held foods can be served for four hours without temperature controls if they are discarded after the four-hour time limit.
Following this advice will help you to keep TCS foods safe to eat.