Food temperature controls and monitoring

The following information will be relevant to most catering establishments, however, the temperature controls and monitoring procedures you put in place should be considered through your HACCP procedures.


When food is delivered you should check that it has been transported at the appropriate temperature. Staff should not accept chilled or frozen food that has not been kept sufficiently cold.

Storage fridges

Storage fridges must operate at a temperature that will keep high-risk foods at or below 8°C and your freezers below -18°C.


It is good practice to check the core temperature of cooked foods, particularly larger items, to ensure that it reaches 75°C for 2 minutes.  This can be helpful in addition to visual checks of the food to determine whether it is properly cooked.


After cooking food should be cooled quickly before being refrigerated and date-coded. Generally speaking, food should be brought down to room temperature within 90 minutes.


If food is to be kept hot after cooking it should be kept at a minimum temperature of 63°C.


It is recommended that commercial dishwasher temperatures exceed 81°C to ensure effective disinfection takes place. If the unit provides a temperature display, you can use this to monitor temperatures. Dishwasher temperature strips/stickers can be used periodically to check the accuracy of display temperatures or more frequently as a means of monitoring in units without temperature displays.

Dishwashers should be maintained in good working order and an appropriate dishwasher detergent used. The manufacturer will be able to provide you with more detail on the operation of your unit.


You will need thermometers in order to measure temperatures at each stage of the food operation (from receipt, through storage, to cooking). Fridge thermometers may be used to check refrigerator and freezer temperatures, whilst probe thermometers may be used to measure hot food temperatures.


You are advised to keep a daily record of all temperatures that are being monitored and retain the information on-site.

Contact Commercial Environmental Health

If you have any questions or would like any advice, please contact us:

Consumer Protection

2nd Floor
Civic Centre
44 York Street

Telephone: 020 8891 7117
Fax: 020 8891 7713

We are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Updated: 22 March 2013