Back in November, we covered an interesting addition to the Minnesota Food Code revision; non-continuous cooking- the ability to halt the cooking process and resume at a later time. At the time, we only had some basic information and a rough draft of the new food code, but now that the code is in effect, the Department of Health has released fact sheets and more detailed information about this procedure.
Non-Continuous Cooking Procedures
The procedure for non-continuous cooking can be broken down into five steps:
- Cook product for 60 minutes or less
- Cool food properly within two hours
- Store product below 41 degrees
- Cook food completely when reheating
- Serve immediately, hot-hold or cool properly for later use
This process offers a solution for certified food managers who wish to partially cook raw animal product or other sensitive items and reserve under refrigeration or in the freezer until the time comes to cook and serve. Along with these five steps, the health department requires documentation for this process which must be reviewed and approved by the proper regulatory official, namely your health inspector.
Include the following vital information in your documentation and proposal to be reviewed:
- The monitoring and implementation process of the five required steps
- Corrective actions if the five steps are not met properly
- How partially cooked product will be labeled or identified
- Steps taken to prevent cross contamination with ready-to-eat foods
We have a few quick notes concerning these new rules. You may wish to review your online food safety training concerning cooling and temperature control and proper cooking temperatures. Remember, all product must reach the correct temperature before serving. The non-continuous cooking method should never be used for product that may be served undercooked at customer request. Undercooking previously partially cooked meats presents an increased food-borne illness risk.
We’ve found local health inspectors are more willing to work with food producers to ensure that these new rules are followed correctly. Feel free to contact your health department if you’re ready to have your proposal reviewed or if you have any questions.