Food and Hygiene 4 hr Rule And Trading Hours

by steve brown
(United Kingdom)

Hi David firstly this Q&A site is awesome read some really useful tips and info

My question is this I’m hoping to start my own mobile hotdog/burger catering stall soon although I have done a lot of research it’s been clear to me that there is always more to learn.

At the same time I cannot seem to find an answer to my question (until hopefully now)which is having read and understood the food hygiene guide I’m left with a problem as it states the 4/2 hour rule and my intention of trading for 8 hours is therefore unrealistic I have not got a freezer or the means to have one as the stall I have is of a market stall type and I would also need another generator or bigger one

I do not as yet have a tea urn but hope to introduce one when I’m up and running
I have a fridge, hotdog roller machine and a two hob unit and a double Bain Marie
I also have a large soup pot/dish I will need to use sparingly as the generator is not big enough to cope with all at once again I will add as time goes on

Well having rambled on how is it possible to trade for 8 hours if the food has to be cooked after 4 hours or thrown away I cannot keep the food hot for another four hours or am I reading this rule wrong any help would be appreciated


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Mar 11, 2017
by: Anonymous


0327. Hot food must be kept at or above 63C.

Once the food falls below 63C it must either be
consumed within 2 hours or disposed of.
0328. Chilled food may be displayed (away from under temperature control) for a maximum
period of 4 hours. Only one such period is allowed, no matter how short.

If, for example a refrigerated dish has been on display for 1 hour in a non-refrigerated environment, refrigerating it
does not mean it can be displayed for a further 3 hours later. Where food is being cooled prior to
refrigeration, cooling is to be achieved as quickly as possible as described in paragraph 0322.

0329. When hot or cold food is displayed outside a temperature-controlled environment, it is to be
consumed or discarded within the recommended timescales.

Food Safety Practices

Mar 25, 2014
Hot holding
by: Anonymous

You can only hot hold food for 4hrs so any that isn't sold in 4 hrs will need to be thrown away & more cooked.

Feb 28, 2014
4hr rule
by: steve

thanks david you have completely answered my question and in a very informative way too
i mis-understood its meaning and im sure others will too so this answer will help any future enquiries
top marks thank you
steve b

Feb 27, 2014
Hot Food Four Hour Rule
by: David

Hi Steve,

I think what you are referring to is temperature control. This basically means making sure that any high risk food which is capable of supporting the growth of harmful bacteria (leads to food poisoning) is kept at the right hot/chilled (less than 6ºC or above 63 ºC) making sure it’s safe to eat.

I don’t see a problem at your end, because you have fridge to keep the food at the right chilled temperature and a Baine Marie to keep it at the right hot temperature when the food is cooked. The 2hr 4hr rule only applies to different food groups that should be stored under a temperature control system. For instance if you were making fresh sandwiches this can be kept at room temperature (depending on filling) for no more than 4hrs or you must dispose of it, unless you chill it quickly to under 6ºC and its’ safe to eat.

And in your case as long as you have fully cooked the hot dogs and placed them in the Baine Marie at the right hot food temperature you won’t have any problems. It’s also worth using a suitable thermometer to make sure the food is heated to the right temperature. Therefore as long as you are using safe temperature control methods you can trade for 8 hrs.

Let me know if this is what you meant.


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