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Why some food is considered potentially hazardous?

Why some food is considered potentially hazardous?

Potentially hazardous food (PHF) contains moisture and acidity levels that favor the growth of disease causing microorganisms. These foods must be kept cold or hot to keep microbes from growing to levels that can make someone sick.  The new term for PHF is TCS-time-temperature control for safety. Custard, pudding, cakes with custard filling, meringue, cheese cake, pumpkin, cream or custard pie are examples of TCS food requiring time-temperature for food safety. A food license and commercial kitchen is needed to make and sell these items. 

Non-potentially hazardous foods are those that control the moisture or acidity level so growth of disease causing microorganisms can't grow. These foods are usually shelf stable and don't need time and temperature control for food safety. Only non-potentially hazardous foods are allowed to be produced and sold under the Minnesota cottage food licensing exemption. The finished product must meet the non-potentially hazardous parameters of: a pH less than or equal to 4.6 or water activity less than or equal to 0.85. These parameters control the growth of disease causing organisms. However, spoilage microorganisms like yeasts and mold can grow within these parameters. 


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