Time and temperature control is one of the most important aspects of food safety. TCS food is any food that requires time and temperature control for safety in order to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. TCS food includes any food that is prepared in-house, as well as any ready-to-eat food that is purchased from a restaurant or other food service establishment.

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Why Time and Temperature Control is Important for Food Safety

There are two types of TCS food: hot TCS food and cold TCS food. Hot TCS food must be kept at a temperature of 140°F or above, while cold TCS food must be kept at a temperature of 41°F or below. 

To ensure that TCS food is safe to eat, it is important to follow the proper time and temperature control procedures. When preparing TCS food, it is important to cook the food to the proper internal temperature and then promptly cool it to the proper temperature. TCS food that is prepared in-house can be stored in a cooler for up to four hours. After four hours, the food must be either consumed or discarded. TCS food that is purchased from a restaurant or other food service establishment can be stored in a cooler for up to two hours. 

Source: CFS Brands

It is important to check the temperature of TCS food before consuming it. TCS food that is not cooked to the proper internal temperature or not cooled to the proper temperature can cause food poisoning. To check the temperature of TCS food, use a food thermometer. Insert the food thermometer into the thickest part of the food and wait for the thermometer to register the temperature. TCS food that is not cooked to the proper internal temperature or not cooled to the proper temperature can cause food poisoning.

The Four Key Principles of Time and Temperature Control

The Four Key Principles of Time and Temperature Control:

In food safety, time and temperature control is essential to prevent the growth of foodborne pathogens. There are four key principles of time and temperature control: 

1. Keep food out of the “danger zone” 

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The “danger zone” is the temperature range in which foodborne pathogens can grow. The danger zone for most pathogens is between 40°F and 140°F. 

2. Cook food to the proper temperature 

Cooking food to the proper temperature will kill foodborne pathogens. The internal temperature of food should be checked with a food thermometer. 

3. Hold hot food at 140°F or above 

Hot food should be held at 140°F or above to prevent the growth of foodborne pathogens. 

4. Hold cold food at 40°F or below 

Cold food should be held at 40°F or below to prevent the growth of foodborne pathogens.

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The Five Steps of the TCS Food Preparation Process

There are five steps in the TCS food preparation process: cleaning, cooking, cooling, reheating, and storing.

Cleaning: All surfaces and utensils that come into contact with TCS food must be clean. This includes washing hands, as well as cleaning and sanitizing prep areas, cutting boards, and cooking equipment. 

Cooking: TCS food must be cooked to the proper temperature in order to kill bacteria. Use a food thermometer to ensure that food is cooked to the correct temperature. 

Cooling: After cooking, TCS food must be cooled quickly to prevent bacteria from growing. Place food in shallow containers and refrigerate or place in an ice water bath. 

Reheating: TCS food that has been cooked and then cooled can be reheated. Reheat food to the proper temperature, using a food thermometer.

Storing: TCS food must be stored properly in order to prevent bacteria from growing. Refrigerate food in shallow containers and use within 7 days.


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The Benefits of TCS Food Preparation

The benefits of TCS food preparation are many, but the most important is that it helps to prevent foodborne illness. TCS food is typically prepared using one of two methods: cold or hot. 

Cold TCS food is typically prepared using raw or frozen ingredients that are then cooked and cooled to a safe temperature. This method is often used for foods that do not need to be cooked all the way through, such as raw fruits and vegetables. Hot TCS food is prepared using cooked ingredients that are then cooled to a safe temperature. This method is often used for foods that need to be cooked all the way through, such as meat and poultry. 

TCS food can be stored in a variety of ways, but the most important thing to remember is that it must be kept at a safe temperature. TCS food can be stored in the refrigerator, freezer, or pantry. It is important to check the labels on TCS food to see how long it can be safely stored. 

TCS food is a great way to make sure that your food is safe to eat. By following the proper preparation and storage methods, you can help to prevent foodborne illness.

The Risks of Improper Time and Temperature Control

Improper time and temperature control is one of the leading causes of foodborne illness. When food is not cooked or cooled to the proper temperature, harmful bacteria can grow and cause illness. 

There are four temperatures that are critical for food safety: hot, cold, freezing, and thawing. Hot foods must be kept at 140°F or above to prevent the growth of bacteria. Cold foods must be kept at 40°F or below to prevent the growth of bacteria. Freezing food stops the growth of bacteria, but does not kill bacteria. Thawing food properly is just as important as cooking food properly. 

Improper time and temperature control can lead to serious illness, such as food poisoning. Symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. 

To prevent foodborne illness, follow these food safety tips:

 • Cook food to the proper temperature. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of food. 

• Keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Hot food should be kept at 140°F or above. Cold food should be kept at 40°F or below. 

• Do not leave food out of the refrigerator or freezer for more than two hours. 

• Thaw food properly. Food should be thawed in the refrigerator, microwave, or under cold running water. 

• Do not reheat food more than once. 

• Wash your hands often, especially before and after handling food. By following these food safety tips, you can help prevent foodborne illness.

How to Properly Store TCS Foods

TCS foods are foods that require time and temperature control for safety. This includes food that is cooked and then cooled, as well as food that is cooked and then frozen. TCS foods must be kept at the proper temperature to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

To properly store TCS foods, you will need to use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the food. Hot TCS foods should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 145°F. Cold TCS foods should be cooked to an internal temperature of 40°F or below. 

Once the food has been cooked, it must be cooled quickly. Hot TCS foods should be cooled within two hours. Cold TCS foods should be cooled within four hours. 

You can store TCS foods in the refrigerator for up to four days. TCS foods can also be stored in the freezer for up to six months. 

When storing TCS foods, be sure to label the food with the date it was cooked. This will help you keep track of how long the food has been stored. 

Always follow the proper food safety procedures when handling TCS foods. This includes washing your hands, cooking the food to the proper temperature, and cooling the food quickly. By following these guidelines, you can help prevent the spread of bacteria and keep your family safe.

The Importance of Following TCS Food Preparation Guidelines

When preparing TCS food, it is important to follow food safety guidelines. This includes using clean utensils and surfaces, washing your hands often, and cooking food to the proper temperature. It is also important to cool TCS food quickly after cooking. This can be done by placing the food in a shallow container and placing it in the refrigerator or freezer. 

If you are preparing TCS food for a large group, it is important to keep hot food hot and cold food cold. This can be done by using a food thermometer and keeping hot food at an internal temperature of 140°F or above and cold food at an internal temperature of 41°F or below. 

When serving TCS food, it is important to keep hot food hot and cold food cold. This can be done by using serving utensils that are clean and dry, and by keeping hot food on a hot plate and cold food on a cold plate. 

It is also important to avoid cross contamination when serving TCS food. Cross contamination is when bacteria from one food item is transferred to another food item. This can happen when utensils or surfaces that have been in contact with raw food are used to handle cooked food, or when cooked food is placed on a plate that has been used to hold raw food. 

To avoid cross contamination, it is important to use separate utensils and surfaces for raw and cooked food. It is also important to wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces often.

By following these food safety guidelines, you can help to ensure that TCS food is safe to eat.

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