The Flow of Food: Service

Servsafe chapter 7

Hold TCS Food At The Correct Internal Temp

  • Hold hot food at 135 F or higher.
  • This will prevent pathogens such as Bacillus from growing to unsafe levels


  • Hold cold food at 41 F or lower
  • This will prevent pathogens such as Staphylococcus from growing to unsafe levels

How Often Should You Check Temps

  • Check food temperature at least every 4 hours
  • You can also check food temps every 2 hours
  • This will leave time for corrective actions

Holding Food Without Temp Control Cold & Hot

Hot food needs to be sold, served or thrown out within 4 hours IF:
  • The food was held at 135 degrees before removing from temp control
  • the food is labeled with the time it should be thrown out


Cold food needs to be sold, served, or thrown out within 6 hours IF:

  • The food was held was held above 41 degrees
  • the food is labeled with the time it should be thrown out

Staff Guidelines For Serving Food

  • Staff must hold plates from under
  • Hands must be washed
  • Staff must be properly trained

Re-serving Food

  • Keep the hot foods hot (165 F)
  • Keep cold foods cold (41 F)
  • Follow the two hour rule


You can keep hot foods hot by keeping them in: Chafing dishes, Slow cookers & Warming trays


You can keep cold foods cold by keeping them in: Refrigerators, Coolers