Guidelines for Catered Food

Per the Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code, the following food handling procedures must be followed when receiving ready-to-eat food that will be served to the public.

  • Bare hand contact of ready-to-eat food is prohibited. Single use gloves, tongs, deli tissue, or other barrier are required to prevent contamination from bare hands.
  • Hot foods must be received and held at 140 degrees F or above.
  • Cold foods must be received and held at 41 degrees F or below.
  • Use a metal stem thermometer to monitor internal food temperatures every 2 hours.
  • Cool hot foods quickly. Food is required to be cooled from 140 degrees F to 70 degrees F in 2 hours or less and from 70 degrees F to 41 degrees F in 4 hours or less.
  • Reheat all potentially hazardous foods to at least 165 degrees F in 2 hours or less.
  • A cooler may be used for short term (a few hours) refrigeration only. Mechanical refrigeration must be used for storing foods overnight or longer.

By following these simple procedures you will help prevent foodborne illness. The Centers for Disease Control report that most foodborne illness is the result of cooking, cooling and holding food at inadequate temperatures. Foodborne illness can be a serious condition for individuals with weakened immune systems.

This information has been provided by the Fulton County Health Department. 419-335-0915.

How to Keep Food Safe During a Power Failure

  • Keep the freezer door closed to keep cold air inside.
  • Don’t open the door any more than necessary.
  • A full freezer will stay at safe temperatures about 2 days; a half full freezer about 1 day.
  • If your freezer is not full, group packages so they form an “igloo” to protect each other.
  • If you think the power will be out for several days, try to find some dry ice.
  • Keep dry ice wrapped and do not touch it with your bare hands or use cubed ice or block ice.
  • Even if food has started to thaw, foods can be safely kept in the freezer.
  • The foods in your freezer that partially or completely thaw before power is restored may be safely refrozen if they still contain ice crystals or are 40 degress F or below.
  • You will have to evaluate each item separately.
  • When in doubt, throw it out!

How Long Should Canned Food be Kept?

  • Store canned foods and other shelf stable products in a cool, dry place.
  • Never put them above the stove, under the sink, in a damp garage or basement, or any place exposed to high or low temperature extremes.
  • Store high acid foods, such as tomatoes and other fruit, up to 18 months.
  • Low acid foods such as meat and vegetables can be kept 2 to 5 years.
  • While extremely rare, a toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum is the worst danger in canned foods.
  • NEVER USE food from containers that show signs of “botulism”, leaking, bulging, rusting or badly dented cans; cracked jars, jars with loose or bulging lids; canned food with a foul odor or any container that spurts liquid when opening. DO NOT TASTE THE FOOD! Even the tiniest amount of botulinum toxin can be deadly.