Efficacy of Cooling Beef Taco Meat and Steamed Rice in United States School Foodservice Operations


Food is frequently cooked, cooled and reheated for service at a later time in schools and other foodservice operations in the United States [US]. Inadequate cooling of food has been associated with foodborne illness. The purpose of this study was to determine if practices commonly used in school foodservice to cool beef taco meat and steamed rice would meet US Food and Drug Administration [FDA] 2009 Food Code standards. Prepared products cooled at 5.08 cm and 7.62 cm depths in stainless steel counter pans were placed uncovered in a walk-in refrigerator, a walk-in freezer (beef taco meat only), and a walk-in refrigerator with an ice water bath. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, including mean times and temperatures, with standard deviations. Cooling beef taco meat in a walk-in freezer at a depth of two inches and cooling steamed rice in a walk-in refrigerator at a depth of two inches with an ice water bath were the only methods that met both FDA Food Code time and temperature standards. Results suggest that challenges and risks exist with common methods used to cool food, especially if food volume is not reduced before cooling. Specific protocols for cooling procedures based on types of food and equipment are needed. These findings and recommendations are important for foodservice professionals who oversee food services and cooling practices in schools and other operations.

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D. Olds, K. Roberts, K. Sauer, J. Sneed and C. Shanklin, "Efficacy of Cooling Beef Taco Meat and Steamed Rice in United States School Foodservice Operations," Food and Nutrition Sciences, Vol. 4 No. 7, 2013, pp. 735-740. doi: 10.4236/fns.2013.47094.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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