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Cooling the food

As everyone knows, it is extremely important to handle food properly to avoid health risks. Cooling food after cooking or heating as quickly as possible is important so that bacterial spores, which survive boiling, do not have time to reproduce in the food. 

What does cooling hot food mean?

Cooling hot food is one of the most critical moments in the kitchen. According to the Swedish National Food Administration, it is important that cooked food stored or served chilled is cooled down to a temperature that does not result in health risks, as soon as possible after cooking. Otherwise, there may be a risk that the guests will be food poisoned. 


To reduce the cooling time, it is good to spread the hot food in large glasses or canteens to reduce the core temperature as quickly as possible. So, you should cool down a casserole after cooking it is much better to pour it into several glasses, instead of setting the casserole in the fridge. 


Cooling of hot food can be done in several ways. For example, you can cool hot food in a regular refrigerator, refrigerator, blast chiller casserole cloth, or cold-water bath. There is no requirement for special equipment to be used. Regardless of how food is cooled down, it is important to ensure that it is cooled as soon as possible after cooking and not contaminated. 

Rules for cooling food - Swedish National Food Administration

The National Food Administration has stated that the cooling of hot food should be reduced to +8°C or colder within four hours of cooking so that no growth or spore formation can begin. Bacterial spores can become living bacteria if the cooling of food takes too long.

New scientific evidence shows that if food is cooled from 60°C to 8°C in six hours, there is virtually no growth in spore formers and there is still little growth with a cooling time of nine hours.  Therefore, six hours is a guide value for cooling hot food, after cooking or heating.

Reheating of food

If the cooling has been managed correctly, there are usually no problems reheating food. It should preferably be done as quickly as possible and a good guideline is that it is heated to 70°C to kill the bacterial growth that has taken place. It counteracts the risk that something has gone wrong during cooling and there has been bacterial growth. A common example of something gone wrong is that the core temperature was not cooled down quickly enough.

Food that is intended to be served cold or at room temperature does not need to be heated in any special way. Dishes such as cold pies, hot smoked salmon, and other ready-to-eat dishes and foods have no greater risk of being exposed to harmful bacterial growth. You therefore do not need to heat these types of dishes in any special way.


  • Cool the food as soon after cooking as possible

  • Food Administration rules: Food should be below 8°C within 6 hours

  • No requirement for special equipment as long as no contamination occurs

  • Reheating should go to 70°C but of course not needed for cold dishes

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