Division of Environmental Health

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our Environmental Health Services office at 10777 Main Street in Fairfax is open during regular business hours 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday. Clinic services are not offered at this location.
703-246-2201 TTY 711
10777 Main Street, Suite 100
Fairfax, VA 22030
Pieter A. Sheehan, REHS
Director, Division of Environmental Health

Time as the Public Health Control

Generally, foods must be kept hot (greater than 135°F) or cold (less than 41°F). These temperatures are the controls to reduce the occurrence of foodborne illness. In some instances, time may be used as the public health control. Using time as the public health control (TPHC) means that foods that are normally under temperature control (hot or cold) are kept under no temperature control. To use this method properly, a number of requirements must be met. Below is an explanation of those requirements.

The first requirement is that the food must be properly hot (greater than 135°F) or cold (less than 41°F) before being placed on display under TPHC. A hot food must be cooked thoroughly before it may be held under TPHC.

The second requirement is to maintain a record of when the food was placed on display and when it must be discarded. Food may be left on display without temperature control for up to 4 hours. The operator must label the food or maintain a log recording when the food went on display and when it must be discarded.

If the food is not sold within a four hour period, it must be discarded. It may not be reheated and sold.

If the food facility wants to use TPHC, it must follow the above guidelines. The area inspector may ask the operator to sign a Health Department form which is an agreement to follow the guidelines listed above.

If a restaurant is using TPHC, it is important to train employees on the process. Below is a sample of what a log might look like to record the information required for TPHC.

Date Food Item Time Removed From Refrigeration Time to Discard Initial When Discarded
1/1/09 Sushi rice 10:30 a.m. 2:30 p.m. ABC
1/1/09 Sushi rice 2:30 p.m. 6:30 p.m.  
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