Secrets of a Low-Risk Kitchen

One of the top five leading causes of foodborne illness is improper hot and cold holding of potentially hazardous foods such as meats, poultry, dairy products, and seafood. Food safety experts refer to this risk factor as “time and temperature abuse.”

The temperature range between 41° and 135° F, known as the “danger zone,” supports faster bacterial growth in food that leads to a large percentage of foodborne illnesses. The “danger zone” is exciting in movies, but in the kitchen, not so much!

With even salads and cooked rice and pasta falling under this high-risk category, potentially hazardous foods are virtually unavoidable in foodservice. Hazardous situations, on the other hand, are preventable (except for when the power goes out).

Identifying any point in your operation where potentially hazardous foods may be left to sit at ambient temperature, or are being held in under-performing equipment, is the best place to start reducing risk in your operation. Integrating effective holding equipment into processes at each of these vulnerable stages reduces the temptation for employees to leave foods at an improper holding temperature.  


Even if you’re lucky enough to have a protected receiving area, outside of a handful of winter days, ambient air temperature will fall within the danger zone between 41° and 135°.

Highly perishable foods can be protected with a non-electric, insulated transport cart. 

The 1826DBC Camcart by Cambro is insulated, rugged, and built specifically to hold 18″ x 26″ food storage boxes on durable, molded-in rails. Its thick insulation protects cold (or hot) food for 4+ hours. 

Ergonomic molded-in handles, stable 6″ casters, and rust-proof, sturdy latches make it a safe, reliable transporter for both outdoor and indoor use.


Keeping ingredients in a refrigerated chef base makes it easier for employees to access them right as they need them. Delfield Coolscapes Undercounters and Worktables with GreenGenius provide refrigeration options that improve workflows and food safety by putting fresh foods where they are needed, saving staff steps and time. 

You can choose from doors, drawers, or a combination of the two to maximize your cold storage while keeping enough product at your staff’s finger tips to handle the rush with the freshest and safest foods. Features like 5″ casters make cleaning, moving, and maintenance easy. An LED light and glass doors make contents easier to see without opening. 

HoldingHolding is a key to staff utilization and efficient service, but safety is only part of the equation. Safety is always the first priority, but to optimize flavor and texture, it’s important to match the equipment to the type of food you need to hold. Thankfully, specialized solutions in this category are plentiful.

The new HHS-IR series of Infrared Heated Holding Shelves from FWE uses longwave infrared technology to maximize safe holding time of fried and crispy coated products. 

The long wave infrared elements are positioned to keep product within the ideal range to keep the outside coating crisp, while maintaining internal temperature and moisture of  items like fried chicken and French fries. 

The open layout lends itself to fast paced operations and is designed to be placed between the fry station and the order expediter or POS station.

For more types of specialized holding equipment, see Maximize Revenue During Peak Periods, or contact us for recommendations.


Hatco Strip Heaters are easy to install and work well for pass-through areas between kitchen and waitstaff pickup stations or customer serving counters. 

Ideal for protecting foods that cool quickly, these infrared heaters keep hot, plated food hot with radiant heat from above. 

Temperatures between 140°-160°F slow the natural cooling process and safely hold food at optimal temperatures for longer but without continuing the cooking process.

Self-Serve Buffets and Condiment or Topping Bars

The ColdFest Collection by Cambro keeps contents chilled at or below HACCP guidelines of 41°F. 

Made with an impact resistant shell and non-toxic refrigerant gel, ColdFest provides a safe and hygienic way to protect cold foods without ice. 

To use, freeze upside down overnight and fill with pre-chilled product such as coffee creamers, salad toppings, and condiments to keep contents cold for hours, inside or outdoors. Available in 1/6, 1/3, and ½ GN pan sizes and round crocks. Flat covers and round covers with built-in pumps for condiments and dressings are also available.

Takeout Areas

Prompt pickup of takeout items isn’t always a given, so placing to-go orders on regular counters or shelves can be risky. Heated shelves offer an affordable solution to protect hot food orders until they are picked up.

FWE Heated Holding Shelves preheat to a factory pre-set of 175° F in under 15 minutes to keep takeout containers, catering boxes, and bagged meals hot, fresh, and safe. Blanket elements deliver precise and consistent radiant heat to prevent hot and cold spots. 

Models are offered in standard widths with one to five open shelves for quick and easy access. Additional custom sizes are available by request.


Even for close deliveries, an insulated bag helps maintain temperature far better than takeout packaging alone.
The heavy duty, high-denier fabrics and thick insulation in Cambro GoBags make them a popular choice for protecting food safety and quality the “last” mile. 

Reinforced stitching and heavy-duty straps keep the bag going strong even after many washings. 

GoBags are available in black and red in a wide variety of sizes for pizza and takeout boxes and containers.

For solutions tailored specifically to help your team support safe food temperatures to reduce risk at every point of your operation, contact us. We’re happy to help!