Potentially Hazardous Foods kept at Improper Temperature

For Immediate Release
June 4, 2014; 8:35am
DPHSS Release No. 2014-044

Potentially Hazardous Foods kept at Improper Temperature

The Director of the Department of Public Health and Social Services would like to remind food retailers, and educate the public, of the dangers of consuming potentially hazardous foods that have been held at improper temperature.  Potentially hazardous foods, because of their characteristics, encourage the rapid growth of microorganisms.  These types of foods are often moist, high in protein, have potential for contamination due to method of processing, are of neutral acidity, and have history of being involved in foodborne illness outbreaks.  They include eggs, meat, chicken, fish, cooked rice, tofu, and milk products.  

Potentially hazardous foods must be kept either properly refrigerated or heated to prevent the rapid growth of harmful bacteria that may be found on them.   Potentially hazardous foods should be ideally kept at 41°F or below, such as in a refrigerator or freezer, or above 140°F, like in warmers or a heating device.   The average room temperature on Guam, even in an air-conditioned room, generally ranges from 75-85°F, which is inadequate temperature for holding potentially hazardous foods.

This Department continues to find retail establishments selling sushi, sandwiches, “bento boxes,” kelaguen, and other potentially hazardous foods at room temperature, usually on the counter near the cashier.  Retailers should immediately cease the displaying and selling of such foods at room temperature and place them in the appropriate cooling or heating device.  Consumers should not purchase these foods that are kept at room temperature.   Eating such improperly held foods may result in foodborne illness.  

As necessary, the Department of Public Health and Social Services will suspend Sanitary Permits of those establishments found violating this critical food safety requirement.

The public is encouraged to contact the Division of Environmental Health of this Department to report any establishments that are storing, and selling potentially hazardous foods at an improper temperature.   You can fill out a complaint form available on our web page, or send an email to DEH@dphss.guamdev.com  

For more information, please call the Division of Environmental Health at 735-7221.

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