Module 7: Potentially Hazardous, Perishable and Low Risk Foods

Foods that are considered "high risk," in that it is able to promote the growth of toxins or pathogens after being contaminated by microorganisms or bacteria, are called "Potentially Hazardous Foods." Potentially hazardous foods include:

  • Milk and milk products

  • Shell eggs

  • Poultry

  • Beef

  • Pork

  • Lamb

  • Fish

  • Sprouts

  • Shellfish

  • Soy-protein foods

  • Tofu

  • Garlic and oil mixtures

  • Melons (sliced) and other cut fruits

  • Cooked rice, beans, potatoes, or other vegetables

  • Soups, stews, gravies, custards

To prevent harmful pathogens from growing on or within these foods, ensure that the items are refrigerated at 4°C (40°F) or below. Always cook potentially hazardous foods to at least 60°C (140°F) or warmer. It is important to take extra cleaning and sanitation cautions when preparing potentially hazardous foods.

Items that spoil fairly quickly, like pre-washed greens and lettuces, are considered perishable foods. Once the food item has over-ripened, it can become a breading ground for bacteria, mold, or other contaminations and should not be eaten.


Food that does not promote the growth of toxins or pathogens is called a non-hazardous or low risk food. The following are examples:

  • Shelf stable foods

  • Crackers

  • Dry Cereals

  • Food in unopened and undamaged cans

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