Published: October 20, 2019
Cooking Times and Temperatures According to ServSafe
These are the recommended cooking times and temperatures for TCS foods according to ServSafe. TCS is an acronym that stands for “Time and Temperature Control for Safety”.
Temperatures should be taken from the center of the food to ensure that it has been cooked thoroughly. When taking the temperature of large portions of food, the temperature should be taken from the thickest parts and from at least two different locations in the food.
Updated Cooking Times and Temperatures in the 7th Edition ServSafe Manager Book
The current 7th Edition ServSafe Manager textbook was updated in October of 2018. Books sold since then should have a sticker or label with a web address for more information noting these changes. If you are using a second-hand 7th Edition ServSafe Manager Book, your book may not have this label.
The reason given by ServSafe for these changes is that the “U.S. Food and Drug Administration updated the FDA Food Code in 2017”. A few of the times and temperatures have been changed. I will explain here which ones. And the chart below is up to date for 2019 and 2020.
There have been three changes to the cooking times and temperatures with the update.
1) The foods which used to be cooked to 165°F (74°C) for 15 seconds in the old version, now only require less than 1 second or “instantaneous” in the new version.
2) The foods which used to be cooked to 155°F (68°C) for 15 seconds in the old version, now need to be cooked for at least 17 seconds in the new version.
3) The foods in the group to be cooked to “135°F (74°C) for (no minimum time)”, has been broadened to simply say “Food from plants”, in the new version.
Two of the questions on the official “ServSafe Practice Test (PDF)” have wrong answers now.
Question number 21 on the official ServSafe Practice Test asks:
“TCS food reheated for hot holding must reach what temperature?”
The correct answer should be:
“165°F (74°C) for <1 second (Instantaneous)”
But that is not an option on the practice test. The closest answer, and the one considered to be correct at the time, is “D) 165°F (74°C) for 15 seconds”. But the time requirement has been reduced from 15 seconds to less than 1 second or instantaneous.
Question number 73 on the official ServSafe Diagnostic Test asks:
“What temperature must stuffed lobster be cooked to?”
The correct answer should be:
165°F (74°C) for <1 second (Instantaneous)”
And just like the other question, that answer is not an option. Because the recommended time has been updated to less than 1 second.
Here is a link to the supplemental information that should have been included with newly purchased 7th Edition ServSafe Manager textbooks sold after October 2018. Scroll down to the section for:
In Chapter 6: The Flow of Food:
Preparation: Cooking Requirements for
Specific Food (Pg. 6.11)
The changes are shown below in italics:
The Chart Below Includes All of the ServSafe Cooking Times and Temperatures Updated for 2019 and 2020:
Updated Chart of all ServSafe Cooking Times and Temperatures for Exams Issued in 2020
165°F (74°C) for <1 second (Instantaneous)
• Poultry—including whole or ground chicken, turkey, or duck
• Stuffing made with fish, meat, or poultry
• Stuffed meat, seafood, poultry, or pasta
• Dishes that include previously cooked TCS ingredients (raw ingredients should be cooked to their required minimum internal temperatures)
155°F (68°C) for 17 seconds
• Ground meat—including beef, pork, and other meat
• Injected meat—including brined ham and flavor-injected roasts
• Mechanically tenderized meat
• Ground meat from game animals commercially raised and inspected
• Ratites (mostly flightless birds with flat breastbones)—including ostrich and emu
• Ground seafood—including chopped or minced seafood
• Shell eggs that will be hot held for service
145°F (63°C) for 15 seconds
• Seafood — including fish, shellfish, and crustaceans.
• Steaks/chops of pork, beef, veal, and lamb.
• Commercially raised game.
• Shell eggs that will be served immediately.
145°F (63°C) for 4 minutes
• Roasts of pork, beef, veal, and lamb
• Roasts may be cooked to these alternate cooking times and temperatures depending on the type of roast and oven used:
• 130°F (54°C) 112 minutes
• 131°F (55°C) 89 minutes
• 133°F (56°C) 56 minutes
• 135°F (57°C) 36 minutes
• 136°F (58°C) 28 minutes
• 138°F (59°C) 18 minutes
• 140°F (60°C) 12 minutes
• 142°F (61°C) 8 minutes
• 144°F (62°C) 5 minutes
135°F (57°C) (no minimum time)
• Food from plants, including fruits, vegetables, grains (rice, pasta), and legumes (beans, refried beans) that will be hot held for service
Note: The 7th Edition ServSafe Manager curriculum has been updated with supplemental information. Some of the times and temperatures in this guide are different from what is in the current textbook. The information in this guide is based on the new information and is relevant for all ServSafe Manager exams issued in 2020.