Cold Holding of Food

Cold holding is storing food under refrigeration at 41°F or below. Refrigeration prevents food from becoming a hazard by slowing the growth of most pathogens. Pathogens are disease-causing organisms like Listeria monocytogenes, and their growth is significantly slowed but not stopped by refrigeration.

Best practices for cold holding:

  • Do not over-stock refrigerators; products should be placed to ensure proper airflow
  • Routinely check the temperature of the refrigerator and its contents
  • Store foods in a way that prevents cross-contamination
  • Use proper date marking and product rotation. The oldest products should be used first, and the newest should be used last (first-in-first-out, or FIFO)

Date marking requirements:  Ready-to-eat, refrigerated time/temperature control for safety (TCS) foods (aka potentially hazardous food or PHF) that will be held for more than 24 hours must be clearly marked to indicate the date by which the food must be consumed, sold, frozen or discarded. The day of preparation (or opening, in the case of packaged food) counts as day one, and foods can be held for a maximum of seven days. 

date marking cold holding