This blog post will explain the 2-hour / 4-hour rule when it comes to potentially hazardous foods such as cooked meats or dairy products. If you are looking for a post that explains that if food is left between 5°C and 60°C for 2 hours, it can be refrigerated; this is the post for you.

If the temperature falls between 2 and 4 hours, the food should be used immediately. If the product is left at those temperatures for over 4 hours, it should be thrown away.

Explaining the 2-hour / 4-hour rule

Did you know that food poisoning bacteria can grow to unsafe levels? The potential risk of food poisoning is why it is essential to understand the 2-hour / 4-hour rule. Put simply the rule is:

  • Under 2 hours = Good to use or you can refrigerate at 5°C or less.
  • 2 to 4 hours = This timeframe means the food is okay to use.
  • Over 4 hours = Throw your food away immediately.

When thinking about how long your food has been at room temperature, you should include how long it has been in transit or prepared.

Toxic food after 4 hours

You should always make sure your food is safe to eat or serve, which means being aware of some foods that should not be eaten after 4 hours when at the wrong temperature. This list includes milk and dairy products, eggs, poultry, baked potatoes and even sliced melons and cut tomatoes.

How to ensure the proper temperature

To ensure proper temperatures are maintained, you have to be aware of the right procedures, and this can include creating a monitoring system and using proper tools to measure temperature. Proper tools can include thermometers, timers and clocks, which can monitor both temperature and time.

You should also make sure you cook foods to the correct internal temperature, to make them safe to eat. You can find charts depicting the type of food and the required minimum internal temperature needed.

Stay safe

We hope this post has shed light on the potential risks involved in leaving food at the wrong temperature. If you have any further questions about the 2-hour / 4-hour rule, you can contact us today, and we will help you in any way we can.