Cooling and re-heating food

Cooling potentially hazardous food

If you cook potentially hazardous food that you are going to cool and use later, you must cool the food as quickly as possible. 

Food must be cooled from:

  • 60 degrees celsius to 21 degrees celsius within two hours
  • from 21 degrees celsius to 5 degrees celsius within a further four hours.

If you don’t know how fast your food is cooling, use a probe thermometer to measure the warmest part of the food – usually in the centre.

Refer to our food safety template page for records that can help you manage temperatures in your food business.  

To chill food quickly, divide it into smaller portions in shallow containers. Take care not to contaminate the food as you do it. Containers placed into an ice bath is also a good way to cool food quickly.

Reheating previously cooked potentially hazardous food

If you reheat previously cooked and cooled potentially hazardous food, you must reheat it rapidly. You should reheat food to 60 degrees celsius within a maximum of two hours.

This requirement applies only to potentially hazardous food that you want to hold hot, for example, on your stove or in a food display unit. It does not apply to food you reheat and then immediately serve to customers for consumption, for example, in a restaurant or a takeaway shop.