Ambient Temperature Law and Legal Definition

Ambient temperature means the temperature of the surrounding environment. Technically it can refer to the temperature of the air in a designated area especially that surrounding a power supply or cooling medium or any devices.

Ambient temperature is significant in relation to storing of food materials like eggs, rapid cooling of potentially hazardous food and the like. California Food and Agriculture Code prescribes the ambient temperature at which eggs for human consumption are to be stored.

Pursuant to 50 CFR 14.102 [Title 50 -- Wildlife and Fisheries; Chapter I -- United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior], the term ambient air temperature means “the temperature of the air surrounding a primary enclosure containing a wild mammal or bird.”

The following is an example of a State Statute (California) on Ambient Temperature:

Cal Health & Saf Code § 114002. Rapid cooling of potentially hazardous food; Requirements

(a) Whenever food has been prepared or heated so that it becomes potentially hazardous, it shall be rapidly cooled if not held at or above 135 degrees F.

(b) After heating or hot holding, potentially hazardous food shall be cooled rapidly from 135 degreesF to 70 degreesF within two hours and from 70 degreesF to 41 degreesF or below within four hours.

(c) Potentially hazardous food shall be cooled within four hours to 41 degreesF or less if prepared from ingredients at ambient temperature, such as reconstituted foods and canned tuna.

(d) Except as specified in subdivision (e), a potentially hazardous food received in compliance with laws allowing a temperature above 41 degreesF during shipment from the supplier as specified in Section 114037, shall be cooled within four hours to 41 degreesF or less.

(e) Shell eggs need not comply with subdivision (c) or (d) if the eggs are placed immediately upon their receipt in refrigerated equipment that maintains an ambient temperature of 45 degreesF or less.

Cal Food & Agr Code § 27643. Temperature requirements for eggs

(a) It is unlawful for an egg handler, as defined in Section 27510, to hold, store, transport, or display eggs that are packed or graded for human consumption unless the eggs are held, stored, transported, or displayed consistent with all of the following requirements:

(1) At an average ambient temperature of 45 degrees Fahrenheit, or lower.

(2) At a temperature equal to or less than the temperature requirement for holding, storing, transporting, or displaying eggs established by regulations of the United States Department of Agriculture in Title 7 of Part 56 of the Code of Federal Regulations governing the grading of shell eggs.

(b) Retail outlets that are regulated by this chapter, except for retail outlets located in shell egg packing or distribution facilities, are exempt from subdivision (a).

(c) Certified farmers' markets, as defined in Section 113745 of the Health and Safety Code, are not required to comply with subdivision (a).

(d) Transport vehicles may exceed the 45 degree Fahrenheit maximum temperature required pursuant to subdivision (a) when eggs are either being loaded into the transport vehicle or unloaded from the transport vehicle. A transport vehicle shall be deemed to be in compliance with subdivision (a) if the transport vehicle is equipped and has in operation when eggs are in the transport vehicle a refrigeration unit delivering air at a temperature of 45 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

Cal Health & Saf Code § 114373 Raw shell eggs

Raw shell eggs may be stored and displayed without refrigeration if all of the following conditions are met:

(a) The eggs were produced by poultry owned by the seller and collected on the seller's property.

(b) The eggs are not placed in direct sunlight during storage or display.

(c) Retail egg containers are prominently labeled "refrigerate after purchase" or the seller posts a conspicuous sign advising consumers that the eggs are to be refrigerated as soon as practical after purchase.

(d) Retail egg containers are conspicuously identified as to the date of the pack.

(e) The eggs have been cleaned and sanitized.

(f) The eggs are not checked, cracked, or broken.

(g) Any eggs that are stored and displayed at temperatures of 90 degreesF or below and that are unsold after four days from the date of pack shall be stored and displayed at an ambient temperature of 45 degreesF or below, diverted to pasteurization, or destroyed in a manner approved by the enforcement agency.

(h) Any eggs that are stored and displayed at temperatures above 90 degreesF that are unsold after four days from the date of pack shall be diverted to pasteurization or destroyed in a manner approved by the enforcement agency.