Rules of Buffet Safe Food Handling?

By May 26, 2022 No Comments
How to Setup a Profitable Buffet Table. Learn how to create a profitable buffet table to lower your labour and food costs.

To ensure buffet safe food handling it is important to understand and comply with health and safety food standards.


Ingredient 4: Setup a Profitable Buffet


What are the rules of buffet safe food handling?


Make sure cold food is at 5 degrees C or below and hot food is at 60 degrees C or above before placing it in the display unit or salad bar.  Do not overload the display unit and do not display sandwiches and cream cakes on the counter or at room temperature.

Cold Food

Cold food for buffets presents a special food handling problem.  This is because the food spends a great deal of time out of refrigeration while it is being assembled and decorated and again while it sits on the buffet.  For this reason, it is particularly important to follow all the rules of safe food handling.  Keep foods refrigerated whenever they are not being worked on.  Also, keep them chilled until the last minute before they are brought out for service.

For a buffet service that lasts a long time, it is a good idea to present each course or item on a number of small platters rather than on one big one.  The replacements can then be kept refrigerated until needed.

Hot Food for Buffets

Everything learned about the preparation and holding of hot foods in quantity applies to hot foods for buffets.  Hot items are nearly always served from chafing dishes, which may be ornate silver affairs or simple steam table pans kept warm over hot water.  These foods cannot be elaborately decorated and garnished the way cold foods can.  On the other hand, the bright, fresh, juicy appearance and good aroma of properly cooked hot food are generally sufficient to arouse appetites. 

Hot foods for chafing dishes should be easily portioned (such as vegetables served with a kitchen spoon) or already portioned in the pan.  For example, braised pork chops, sliced baked ham, and poached fish fillets.  Items less suitable for buffets are those that must be cooked to order and served immediately, such as most grilled and deep-fried foods.

Hot foods are best placed at the end of the main course section on the buffet so that they do not cool on the guests’ plates before they are seated and so that the decorated cold foods can steal the show. 

Four-hour/two-hour guide

One of the alternative methods of temperature control is referred to as the four-hour/two-hour guide.  So as to prevent the growth of bacteria that may cause food poisoning the food business must be sure to apply this alternative method properly.

Four-hour/two-hour guide

The four-hour/two-hour guide relates to how long potentially hazardous food may remain outside of temperature control.  Please note that the timeframes related to the total time a particular food is outside of temperature control including time during preparation, storage, display and transport.

Under two-hours

Food must be used or placed back under temperature control (5 degrees C or less or 60 degrees C or greater)

Two to four hours

Food must be used immediately;  it cannot be re-refrigerated.

Four plus hours

Food must be discarded;  it may have harmful levels of bacteria.

To be safe it is best to always store and display food under temperature control and if in doubt do not sell food you suspect may be contaminated or that may have been subjected to temperature abuse this will ensure the food you are selling is safe for your customers.

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