Keep Hot Foods Really Hot, Keep Cold Foods Really Cold
BUCKINGHAM, ENGLAND (January 22) — Commercial refrigeration cabinets are primarily designed for storing pre-packed cooked meats, delicatessen snacks such as baguettes and sandwiches, beverages, pre-packed salads, dairy products, fruit and vegetables. The open units offer customers these foods in a visually appealing, convenient format.
European Union and U.K. regulators require manufacturers, retailers and caterers to keep food that is likely to support the growth of pathogenic micro-organisms (such as bacteria) or the formation of toxins at correct temperatures during preparation, processing, transport, storage or display. Harmful bacteria can quickly multiply at temperatures above 7°C, while colder temperatures keep most of these pathogens from growing and multiplying.
Only pre-packed products with the following temperatures may be stored in commercial refrigeration cabinets and these foods should be kept within specified temperature ranges. Salad, fruit and vegetables should be refrigerated at +5° C to +10° C. Dairy and delicatessen products, snacks such as sandwiches, cooked meat and cooked poultry should be maintained at 0° C to +7° C.
Not only are these legal requirements, but food vendors know they are also essential components of food hygiene best practices because they maintain the safety and quality of items they sell. Vendors can’t afford to take customers’ confidence for granted. In the U.K. Food Safety Agency’s most recent public attitudes survey in 2017, 43 percent of respondents reported concern about food safety in U.K. shops and supermarkets.
Getting it wrong may increase the risk of harmful levels of bacteria growing in food meant for sale and tainting other food products in the refrigeration case, potentially adversely affecting customers’ health and damaging the vendor’s reputation. Getting it right protects everyone, from shop owner to consumer! Always Be Aware of the Location of Other Heating and Cooling Sources
The location of display fridge cabinets must be carried out by qualified technical personnel. The equipment shouldn’t be operated in a room ambient temperature over 25 °C and 60% relative humidity. If the cabinet is operated in a room ambient temperature over 25 ° C, air conditioning and an extract system should be installed.
Shop owners are responsible for insuring that the equipment is fit for the purpose for which they intend to use it. Cabinets shouldn’t be loaded with non-refrigerated products or used to cool products. Products should be loaded on the multi decks in a way that ensures they are correctly rotated. Changing the configuration of the equipment and/or adding elements without the manufacturer’s authorisation may cause incorrect operation.
Proper use only means the use as described above, adhering to the specifications on installation, operation and service. Any other use is contrary to specifications and may hamper the equipment’s performance.
Keeping Food at Safe Temperatures
The chart below provides the temperatures that are generally accepted as good practice, together with the recommended period of time involved where appropriate. Keeping food at these temperatures plays a major part in ensuring that food is safe to eat. Do not leave food standing in a room, or in sunlight (such as in a shop window).
Cooking at 70° C or hotter for sufficient time kills most pathogenic bacteria, although some bacterial spores can survive high temperatures. Food must always be cooked thoroughly, right through to the centre of the thickest part.
|Stage of Food Handling||When to Check||Recommended Safe Temps|
|Delivery||Every time perishable food is delivered||0° C to +7° C is ideal for refrigerated food. –22° C to – 18° C is ideal for frozen food|
|Storage in refrigerator or cold store||Daily, at least||0° C to +7° C|
|Storage in refrigerated counter or display fridge||Daily, at least||0° C to +7° C|
|Deep Freezer||Daily, at least||– 18° C or below|
|Defrosting frozen meat or poultry||Whenever food is thawed||0° C to +7° C for 2 mins|
|Cooking||Whenever food is cooked||Minimum core temp.of + 70° C|
|Cooling||Whenever food is cooled||+7° C or cooler, ideally within 90 minutes|
|Re-heating||Whenever food is re-heated||Minimum core temp.of +70° C for 2 mins|
|Hot food on display||Frequently while on display||Minimum core temp of +63° C|
|Cold food on display||Frequently while on display||0° C to +7°C is recommended|
Even if it’s common sense, remember: keep hot foods really hot, keep cold foods really cold!