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Issue Number: Council III 004


Report - Time as a Public Health Control (TPHC) Committee

Issue you would like the Conference to consider

During the 2012 Conference for Food Protection Biennial Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana the conference recommended that a Time as a Public Health Control Committee be created and given the following charge as an outcome of Issue 2012 III-026:

That a committee be formed to identify safe times at which foods can be held without temperature control and without cooling to 41°F, supported by scientific information (e.g., challenge studies, modeling tools).

The committee's charge shall include, but not be limited to, the following foods and food categories:

  • Cut tomatoes
  • Cut cantaloupe
  • Chopped leafy greens
  • Chopped garlic and oil
  • Opened canned tuna
  • Opened canned beans (e.g., green beans, chickpeas, black beans)
  • Hummus
  • Opened canned product used as sole item
  • Opened canned product used as an ingredient in a formulation

The committee may wish to consider a document published by Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in 2001 and a National Advisory Committee for the Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) challenge study document.

The committee is also charged to report recommendations back to the 2014 CFP biennial meeting.

This Issue presents the Time as a Public Health Control Committee's final report along with committee roster and requests acknowledgement of the attached report.

Public Health Significance

The relationship between time and temperature is recognized as an effective means to control the growth of many food borne pathogens. FDA Model Food Code (hereafter Food Code) provides science based requirements for safe food preparation, cooking, cooling, reheating, and implementation of Time as a Public Health Control (TPHC) where time/temperature control for safety (TCS) food will be exposed to temperatures above 5°C (41°F) and below 57°C (135°F).

Food Code [section 3-501.14(B)] allows for food taken from ambient temperature (such as foods in hermetically sealed containers) to be cooled to 5°C (41°F) within 4 hours. These foods are considered Ready-to-Eat and safe for consumption as long as they comply with date marking provisions contained in Food Code (section 3-501.17).

There is currently no provision in Food Code (section 3-501.19) to allow foods taken from ambient temperature that become Potentially Hazardous Food/Time Temperature for Safety (PHF/TCS) ( defined as TCS in the 2013 Food Code) during preparation to be held under TPHC without first cooling to 5°C (41°F) or below. However, there are scenarios (e.g., opening a hermetically sealed container, cutting time/temperature control for safety produce) in the flow of food preparation wherein time/temperature control for safety, foods may be taken from ambient temperature and served to the public within the time frame allowed for proper cooling. The following foods serve as examples of such scenarios: cut tomatoes, cut cantaloupe, chopped leafy greens, chopped garlic and oil, opened canned tuna, and opened canned beans.

Recommended Solution: The Conference recommends...

1. acknowledgement of the 2012-2014 Time as a Public Health Control Committee report and the completion of all assigned charges; and

2. acknowledgement of the 2012-2014 committee members for their diligent work in gathering the required scientific and outbreak information on each of the food and food categories, faithful attendance at our web meetings, productive discussions, and consensus decisions.


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