TCS Food Those foods are considered TCS foods that require time or temperature control for their safety. They ultimately limit pathogenic microorganism growth or the formation of toxic materials. TCS foods limit the growth of illness-causing bacteria. These foods are usually unsafe to eat. TCS foods mainly include eggs, meat ( beef, lamb), baked potatoes, fish, milk, dairy products, sliced lemons, and many more.
TCS food abbreviation is “time/temperature control for safety food”. They ensure safe foods. These limit pathogenic bacterial and microorganism growth.
Those foods are considered TCS foods which ensures safety. These foods require time and temperature controls to limit the growth of harmful bacteria. TCS foods have high carbohydrates. The protein and starch level is much higher in these foods. They are neutral or sometimes slightly acidic. They also contain moisture and oxygen. These foods are not limited to only chickens or fishes. But, these also include prepared fruits, vegetables, and salads. These TCS foods are also contaminated. Pathogenic bacteria can easily grow and multiply several times in such types of food. Foods that grow bacteria quickly are considered to be higher disease-causing foods.
- Sell fish
- Meat products
- Dairy products
- Garlic oil
- Fried vegetables
- Boiled potatoes
- Protein-rich plants
- Sliced melons
- Leafy greens
These are some common examples of TCS food. They are either raw, cooked, or partially cooked. They are rich in bacteria and harmful pathogens.
The pathogens present in these foods can make food unsafe and unhealthy to eat. So for their safety, the time should be minimized in the temperature danger zone. They range from 41-135°F. In the temperature danger zone, pathogens grow faster and make food toxic. The best way to keep TCS foods safe is to refrigerate them at 41°F. Hot TCS foods should be at 135°F. For four hours you can hold TCS food safe after four hours TCS foods should be disposed of. For the safety of foods must ensure a time limit. TCS foods can be stored for only seven days at 41°F. To prevent contamination food must be stored. For the safety of TCS foods, they should be kept clean. Raw food should be separated and cooked thoroughly. At a safe temperature, food should be kept. Always use safe water and raw materials.
The temperature danger zone includes a zone in which the bacteria growth rate is so high on food. Temperatures ranging from 41-135°F depict this danger zone. Food out of the refrigerator should not be kept over for two hours. This will double the growth of harmful bacteria. Bacteria usually grow between 8°C and 60°C. Below 8°C the growth is significantly slowed down or stopped. The risk of unsafe food is too fragile. Above 60°C the growth of bacteria is unstoppable. They destroy food completely. And the risk of unsafe food is very high. Food must not be kept at room temperature for more than four hours.
Almost all bacteria require four hours to grow. As we know, the temperature danger zone ranges from 41°F to 135°F. There is a high risk for bacteria to grow at this temperature danger zone. It is preferred that the time limit in the temperature danger zone must not exceed more than four hours. Bacteria normally doubles after every 20 minutes when food is in the temperature danger zone. Bacteria are assumed to be the fastest reproducing organisms in the world.
The most important factors that affect bacterial growth are as follows:
- Concentration of nutrition
- Concentration of gases
- The concentration of salts and ions
- Biological structures
Thawing is the process in which the product is brought back to the temperature where there is no residual ice i.e. defrosting. Thawing simply means you are less likely to throw food away. The safest place to thaw frozen food is in the refrigerator or the microwave. It is simply the reversal of the freezing process. In scientific literature, much attention is given to freezing and chilling. The thawing process has not been given much importance. To avoid dangerous microorganisms it is very essential to thaw foods.
Three ways to properly thaw frozen foods:
There are several ways to thaw food. Some of them are discussed below:
- In the refrigerator
- In cold water
- In the microwave
For safe thawing, it is safe to thaw food in the refrigerator. Much time is required to thaw food in the refrigerator. Mainly, meat products require a full day to thaw. In the refrigerator, the temperature is set up from 35°F to 40°F. In the refrigerator, the thawed food can be refrozen without cooking. Although the quality of this food is not adequate. Refrigerator thawing improves the efficiency of food. It gives more space for more frozen goods. It also eliminates certain types of odors. Do not use chemicals or disinfectants for freezing foods as they cause severe diseases. Refrigerator thawing unclogs condensation drains. It prevents leaking.
The cold water thawing method is quite faster than refrigerator thawing. But, this process requires more attention and care. This food must be in a plastic bag. This plastic bag protects food from bacteria and microorganisms. This process takes almost 2 to 3 hours. The food in cold water thawing must be cooked immediately after thawing. These foods should be cooked before refreezing. For cold water thawing, change the water after every 30 minutes to maintain the temperature. Thawing in cold water is cautious and much faster. The packaging should be airtight for cold water thawing. Coldwater out of the tap works great in thawing. We should use a lower melting point of tap water. As we know, water is an excellent conductor so thawing in cold water is very safe and productive. Avoid thawing in hot running water as it is not safe for thawing foods. Use a clean and sanitized sink while cold water thaws.
The chance of growing bacteria is very fast in this type of thawing. When food is thawed by microwave thawing it should be cooked after the thawing process. Keeping food for a long time may bring the food to danger zone temperatures. It is prohibited to use partially cooked food because bacteria are not destroyed in this type of food. The optimal temperature for bacteria causes them to grow promptly. Microwave thawing took a very short time to thaw foods. There is no loss of nutrients in microwave thawing. It provides high product hygiene standards. Microwave thawing is often less expensive. It can be achieved at a temperature from -18°C to -3°C in 3 minutes or less.
Fewer amounts of bacteria in TCS food do not cause a big problem but too much can cause foodborne illness. TCS food has moisture which causes bacteria and microorganisms to grow. In the temperature danger zone, bacteria grow instantly and make food precarious. Normally, bacteria require three main things to grow: warmth, moisture, and food. In the growth of bacteria, time is the main factor. When bacteria have all three requirements they grow almost double after every twenty minutes. After four hours, the TCS food becomes hazardous for health. The temperature range must be between 41° to 135°F. In the temperature danger zone, TCS foods easily become speculative.
Some food items are more likely than others to become unsafe and these foods are named TCS foods. To prevent the growth of microorganisms and bacteria TCS foods require time and temperature controls. TCS foods contain moisture, proteins, carbohydrates, and neutral or slightly acidic pH. Many bacteria require carbohydrates and proteins to thrive. Also, bacteria grow more in that food that contains little or no acid. The pH scale of acidity ranges from 0 to 14. 0 value of pH is highly acidic and 14 value of pH is highly basic. A value of 7 is neutral. TCS food items’ pH ranges from 7.5 to 4.6. Between 41°F to 135°F, bacteria and microorganisms grow very fastly and this zone is known as a temperature danger zone. The more time bacteria spend in this zone, the more risky and unsafe food becomes. Keep an eye on the time and temperature controls while preparing TCS foods.
Potentially hazardous foods are those foods that are kept at a particular temperature to minimize the growth of food poisoning bacteria. If bacteria growth is not controlled then the food becomes toxic and causes diseases related to foodborne illness. These foods cease the formation of toxins. Examples of potentially hazardous foods include sandwiches, chili, shell eggs, dairy products, cheeses, creams, custards, raw meats and poultry, meat graves, cooked plant foods, cut melons, cut vegetables, rolls, etc. Moisture, nutrients, and acidity affect microbial growth. Illness can happen if the growth of bacteria occurs. Foodborne food causes severe diseases.
Cooked food should not be left out at room temperature for more than two hours. In danger, zone bacteria grows fastly and food becomes unsafe to eat. So, two hours are enough for the safety of foods. But, if the temperature is above 90°F the food should only be left out for one hour. On a hot day, keep an eye on the time.
Due to foodborne diseases roughly 1 in 6 Americans sick, 128,000 hospitalized, and almost 3,000 die. The most common cause of foodborne illness is Campylobacter ( a species of bacteria). Main symptoms of foodborne illness include fever, nausea, and vomiting, dehydration, dizziness, joint pain, upset stomach, cramps, diarrhea, etc. 90% of foodborne illnesses are caused by these pathogens i.e. Norovirus, Salmonella, Clostridium, Campylobacter, Listeria, Toxoplasma, etc. Every year around 48 million are influenced by foodborne illnesses. Adults age 65 and older are mostly affected by foodborne illness due to their weak immune systems.
Here are some questions that people often ask about TCS food:
TCS in food means time/temperature control for safety. To limit the growth of illness-causing bacteria and microorganisms, time and temperature in TCS foods must be controlled.
The 2 Hour/4 Hour rule tells you how long freshly potentially hazardous foods can be safely held at temperatures in the danger zone. These temperatures range between 41°F to 135°F. For example, cooked meat, cooked rice, pasta, etc.
Raw food, cooked food, or partially cooked food are considered TCS foods. Pasta mainly originated from plants and is cooked. As pasta is considered in cooked foods so are considered TCS food.
Leftover potatoes are considered dangerous foods. Moreover, reheating mushrooms can upset the stomach. You should avoid reheated chicken. Eggs and cooked rice can lead to bacterial poisoning due to reheating of food.
Perishable foods should never be thawed. In hot water avoid the thawing process. Perishable foods include meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, etc. Foods should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours.
Non- potentially hazardous foods include dry baked goods, bread, cracked nuts, came, soup mixes, jams, jellies, dried herbs, fruit butter, etc.
The name of four potentially hazardous foods is dairy products such as milk, custard, etc, seafood, cooked rice, cut fruits.
TCS foods limit pathogenic bacteria growth and protect food to a limit. Under given temperatures, the food should be conserved. The factors that affect TCS foods must be controlled otherwise, they will make food poisonous and hazardous. The most important factor is time and temperature. Keep an eye on time and temperature. The food at room temperature must not exceed for more than two to four hours. These foods cause foodborne illness. Many people die from foodborne illnesses. The safety of TCS foods should never be neglected. Keep an eye on time and temperature controls.