OK - running debate here that unbelievably, I cannot find in the Health Dept guidelines to prove.

When we do slice pies, we cook 1/2 way, put in the walk-in cooler, then bring out by slice and cook another 3/4.

Question: Should the pie go directly from the oven to the walk-in (hot) or should it be brought to relative room tempature before moving to walk-in?? What’s the official serv-safe on this?

Not sure on the best answer, but the first thing that came to mind is the correct way to defrost chicken.

You not supposed to leave it on the counter as the outside will defrost while the middle is still frozen. You should use the cooler for the whole process, seems to make sense for your slices as well.

I know the danger zone for bacterial growth is from 41-130 degrees. Food cannot stay above 70 degrees for more than 2 hours and must reach 41 or below within 4 hours.


Here is a portion of the Cooling Foods Properly which can be found here

Helpful Hints
Here are some additional hints to remember when cooling foods.

  1. Verify temperatures. Use a thermometer to record temperatures when cooling to make sure the internal food temperature is cooled from:
    135 degrees F to 70 degrees F within 2 hours; and then
    70 degrees F to 41 degrees F or below, within 4 hours
  2. Use stainless steel containers instead of plastic containers to store divided portions of food. The metal helps cool food faster than plastic.
  3. Always label food containers with important information like the time and the date of preparation.

j_rokk’s got it. The issue is not that the pizza is going into the cooler, but that the potentially hazardous food cannot stay in the temperature danger zone for more than 2 hours. Putting it in the cooler cools it down faster and gets it out of the zone more quickly.

My software friends used to think it was funny that I was a certified food service manager – But it came in handy for running my pizzeria!

OK - well I guess I still don’t know. Assuming it takes about 15-20 minutes to “cool down”, we’re OK. The problem is, if you put it directly from 500 degrees to about 36 degrees, the crust gets very soggy. If you let it cool for a little while (certainly not like an hour or two - just 15-20 minutes), it’s much better.

Since it’s less than 2 hours, we’re OK I guess

We also need to consider the thermal impact on nearby products when you put this napalm disc into the freezer. There will be some potentially thawing and refreezing edges of some stuff really close to the 500F pie. not so much a safety issue as a freezer burn/quality issue. Really, take 10 to 20 minutes to let temp drop, then consider wrapping and cooling.

If this is a cooler and not a freezer, then you are looking at potential safety hazards of raising and dropping temps to nearby product with intense heat item placed in enclosed cooler space. Less problem in a 12x20 cooler than a 6x8 cooler.

i’m no math expert, but you said you cook the pizza 1/2 way then put it in the cooler, then when you need aslice you cook it 3/4 more. doesn’t that mean the pizza is cooked 1.25? your customers must like it well done.

Here in Phila.area we can make a pie and let it sit out for 3 hours at rm. temp.but you must be sure to make a ‘slice chart’ w/ date and time that it was made.


Many slice operatore work off of the 4-hour food safety rule, that’s how a lot of the stores get away with leaving their pies out on an un-heated/un-refrigerqated shelf for customers to select from. With all of this said, you are still subject to the whims of your local health department. Without their blessings on whatever you do, it ain’t gonna happen, bring them in, work with then, show them what you are proposing to do, then outline it, in writing, and give them a copy for future reference. This way as long as you do your part, they should have no issues, and if there is an issue, it should be able to be corrected in a friendly, helpful manner, rather than in an adviserial way. At all costs, avoid conflict with your health department, be open with them by asking their advice on any changes you might want to mak regarding your food handling practices. Failure to do this might get you some free space on the front page of your local newspaper…trust me, it won’t be flattering, nor will it do a lot to promote your good image as a place where one would like to go to eat pizza.
Tolm Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Im sure the pizza being about 40 degrees upon reentry instead of around 400 at the halfway mark plays a role in cooking longer.

Here we are racking our brains making sure that pizza slices stay at a safe temperature while the chinese place next door to me has chicken and shrimp sitting out since 9am this morning. :x

I have no idea how they don’t have more people get sick. Anytime I’m in there(they’re nice people from china and I enjoy talking to them) they have stuff sitting around for hours and hours.

Certainly a long way from HACCP standards. I think the key is to reheat whatever it is your working with to the correct temp for the correct amount of time.

Tom ,

You could have also said… Just Kiss their butt.

Very true. I just find it a whole lot easier to work with rather than against the people who will issue me a certificate allowing me to open and operate my place of business. Besides, wanna discover what real hell is like? Get those folks P.O. at you and lets see what new violations they can come up with on your next inspection. There has to be a time to pick your battles, and this is one of them.
By the way, we have a couple of those Chinese restaurants here too, and they have all enjoyed reading about their food safety violations in out local newspaper. It really does wonders for business. It put one restaurant out of business after several features about them. They must have been slow learners.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Hello guest,I may be guessing here but I would think you don’t even own your own business.Because if you think being nice and ‘working’ w/ the health department is ‘Kissing Butt’ then you my friend have a lot to learn.Having the Health department on your side is like having a criminal w/ the police on they’re side.Wake up and smell da pizza!


:slight_smile: Yeah, we’re not that desperate on our food vendors!

With a 97.5 health score (and no servesafe for the extra 2 points), we’re pretty obsessive about food handling procedures.


41-140 in IL.