Current Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) are published in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 110 (21 CFR 110). GMPs establish the methods, equipment, facilities, and controls for food processing procedures. Part 1.2.4, Production and Process Controls (Subpart E) addresses the monitoring of physical factors (critical control points), such as time, temperature, humidity, pH, flow rate, and acidification.
Two-Stage Cooling ProcessThe FDA provides specific regulations for cooling food safely using a dual-step procedure, commonly known as the Two-Stage Cooling Process. The Two-Stage Cooling Process recommends food be cooled from 135°F to 41°F (57°C to 5°C) in six hours or less. Cooling food within this time period helps prevent dangerous bacteria growth. The FDA Food Code also requires food is cooled from 135°F to 70°F (57°C to 21°C) in two hours or less. This temperature range is especially critical, as bacteria can double in as little as 20 minutes. The quicker food passes through this first temperature stage, the better. During the second stage of the cooling process, food processing workers have the rest of the six hours to take food through the remaining temperature zone, from 70°F down to 41°F (21°C to 5°C).
Stage 1: Cool food from 135°F to 70°F (57°C to 21°C) in two hours.
Stage 2: Cool food from 70°F to 41°F (21°C to 5°C) in remaining time.
Temperature Danger ZoneFoodborne bacteria thrive in temperatures ranging between 135°F - 41°F (57°C - 5°C). This range is so ideal for bacteria growth, it’s classified as the Temperature Danger Zone. In this temperature spectrum, bacteria multiply at a rapid rate. As food is cooled, it passes through the temperature danger zone, allowing time for bacteria to flourish. The cooling process gives bacteria an opportunity to multiply to dangerous levels if bacteria growth isn’t controlled while food cools. FDA guidelines, such as the Two-Stage Cooling Process ensure food passes through the danger zone quickly to prevent dangerous levels of bacteria.
A Digital Timer ensures precision in time-critical tasks, such as the Two-Stage Cooling Process. The bright red LED 4” digits provide a visual indication of elapsed or remaining time during each stage of cooling food. Using a digital timer helps comply with Good Manufacturing Practices such as monitoring critical control points.