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Food Safety for Industry

Outdoor Cooking Requirements for Retail Food Establishments

The photo shows pok chops cooking on a grill.In order for your permanent retail food service establishment to cook/serve food outdoors, you must:

  • Possess a valid food service permit
  • Be adequately equipped and capable of cooking and serving food on the outside in a safe and sanitary manner
  • Be capable of performing similar types of cooking/serving inside the establishment; outdoor cooking/serving of food shall not exceed the volume of food production inside the establishment
  • Have an outdoor cooking site that is in the immediate vicinity of and convenient to the permitted facility
  • Use a method of cooking/serving of food approved by DHEC
  • Have an approved handwashing lavatory in the immediate outside cooking/serving area if you cook outdoors on a routine basis or provide suitable utensils so that there is no hand contact with food
  • Complete the serving of any displayed food within two hours for any single function or activity (cooking/serving of food without display is not restricted to time limitation)
  • Limit outdoor activity to the cooking/serving of food only and do all food preparation (i.e. breading, chopping, mixing, etc.) within the permitted establishment
  • Return all utensils/equipment used in outdoor cooking/serving of food to the permitted establishment for proper cleaning (except for of grills, steamers, and similar equipment)
  • Provide sufficient quantities of utensils to conduct the activity
  • Use cooking equipment that has durable and cleanable lids or covers (which may be removed only for monitoring, stirring, or adding additional ingredients)
  • Protect food from contamination during transportation and storage by covered containers, wrapping, or other acceptable methods
  • Keep food covered except during times of continuous serving
  • Discard leftover portions of displayed food
  • Hold potentially hazardous cold food at or below 45° F (7.2°C) and hold potentially hazardous hot food at or above 130°F (54°C), and maintain these temperatures during storage, transportation, display, and service
  • Use a product thermometer to assure the attainment and maintenance of proper internal cooking, and holding temperatures of all potentially hazardous foods.

See: A Guide to Outdoor Cooking of Food (pdf) It applies to permitted retail food service establishments meeting all the requirements of Regulation 61-25.