Potentially Hazardous Food
Potentially hazardous food is any food or food ingredient, whether natural or synthetic, that is capable of supporting the rapid growth of microorganisms. A food is potentially hazardous if it is:
- of animal origin, e.g., meat, poultry, milk, fish, shellfish, crabs, and lobster
- of plant origin and has been heat treated
- raw seed sprouts.
Often Overlooked Potentially Hazardous Foods:
- Bacon – if not fully cooked.
- Mayonnaise or other acidified salad dressings – if pH is above 4.5 and/or combined with other food products.
- Onions – cooked or reconstituted dehydrated onions.
- Beans – all types of cooked beans.
- Eggs – fresh egg shells, fresh eggs with outer shell removed, and hard-boiled egg
- Whipped butter – whipping introduces bacteria
- Cheese – soft unripened cheese such as cottage, ricotta, Brie, and cream cheese are more hazardous than hard cheese. All cheeses should be refrigerated.
- Coffee creaming agents – all non-dairy coffee creaming agents in liquid form, except those approved by food safety authorities (labeled UHT only).
- Pasta – cooked. Pastries -filled with meat, cheese, and cream filled.
- Pies – meat, fish, poultry, natural cream, synthetic cream, custard, pumpkin, and pies covered with toppings that support microbial growth.
- Garlic – garlic in oil products.
- Potatoes – baked, boiled, or fried.
- Refried beans – all varieties.
- Rice – boiled, steamed, fried, Spanish, and cooked rice used in sushi.
- Sauces – Hollandaise and other sauces that contain potentially hazardous ingredients.
- Sour cream – if the pH is above 4.6 and/or combined with other food products.
- Soy protein – tofu and other moist soy protein products.
- Seed sprouts – all types.
University of Rhode Island
Cooperative Extension Food Safety Education