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Temperature Control

The correct use of temperature is an essential tool of food hygiene.

Food is cooked to kill bacteria such as E.coli O157 and Salmonella. Cooking and temperature and time ensure a product is properly cooked. As a guide the centre of food should reach a temperature of 75°C for at least 30 seconds to ensure a proper cook. In addition to cooking, food is kept cold to reduce the speed of multiplication of bacteria during storage. Cooling of cooked food must be done as quickly as possible to avoid germs multiplying whilst the food is warm.

The Food Safety & Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 require temperature control for all types of food which without temperature control might support the growth of harmful (pathogenic) bacteria or the formation of poisons or toxins. Of course the Regulations do not apply to foods such as canned products, confectionary, vegetables etc.


The foods for which the regulations apply include:

  • dairy products e.g. soft or semi hard cheese, desserts, cream.
  • cooked products e.g. foods containing eggs, meat, fish, milk, vegetables.
  • smoked or cured ready-to-eat meat or fish e.g. ham (some curing methods remove the need for temperature control)
  • prepared ready-to-eat foods.
  • uncooked or partly cooked pastry and dough products e.g. pizzas, sausage rolls.

These foods must be held chilled at temperatures at 8°C or below or 'hot held' at 63°C or above.

Flexibility in the law

The regulations recognise it is impractical to keep foods at the stated temperatures at all times. At certain times, they therefore allow a degree of flexibility, called tolerances:

  • Service or display
  • Handling, preparation and delivery
  • Exemption rules apply to some cream cakes and to some pastry products

For more detailed information please contact us.

Other useful links

adobe icon Blank Temperature Recording Sheet (pdf) [93kb]

docs icon Blank Temperature Recording Sheet (word) [64kb]

Updated: 11 Nov 2014
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