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TEMPERATURE CONTROL AND FOOD SAFETY

Published by Ian Yates on

Coldbox temperature control

Any business involved within the food industry must adhere to stringent guidelines for the production, preparation and storage of produce. Temperature control is vital to preserve food at its best and to control the levels of bacteria growth. Storing foods in the correct environmental conditions is just one step in the food safety journey.

STORING FOODS CORRECTLY

The temperature range of 20 – 45 Celsius (68-113F) is known as the Danger Zone in food handling. Between this range bacteria grows and multiplies at its fastest rate. To control this growth it is recommended to keep produce below 10 Celsius (50F) and below 5 Celsius (41F) where possible.

As a professional in the food industry you are responsible for ensuring all food produce and perishable ingredients are kept out of the Danger Zone. If you fail to do this adequately and customer illness occurs you may liable to prosecution.

RAW MEAT COLD STORAGE

Raw meat storage temperatures

REFRIGERATION STORAGE
Fresh raw meat can be stored safely between -2 to 0 Celsius (28 – 32F) and should be stored where it cannot touch other produce. As temperatures approach 5 Celsius (41F) the rate of  bacteria growth begins to increase. This in itself is not an immediate problem as cooking meat to a correct temperature will kill off the bacteria and avoid it spoiling.

If your fresh meat is not going to be used over a 48 hour period it should be frozen for longer term storage.

FREEZER STORAGE
Freezing fresh meat as soon as possible is the most efficient way of longer term storage. To conserve space the  meat can be trimmed and boned before freezing and it should not be salted. Salting ‘pulls’ out the moisture within the meat and oxidises the meat fat. This gives the meat a rancid, sour flavour over time.

Fattier meat, such as pork, are more perishable than leaner meats like lamb or beef. Even so, properly wrapped and contained pork can keep for up to six months in a freezer. Lamb and beef can keep remain useable for up to twelve months. That said, if your business is having to store meats for this length of time it may be worthwhile checking your buying procedures.

COOKED FOOD COLD STORAGE

Cooked food storage temperatures

To retain the taste and quality of your pre-prepared food you need to store your food effectively. Your chilled food should be kept at the recommended temperature of 5 Celsius (41F) and must be used before the ‘Use By Date’. Within the cold storage unit, cooked food should be placed above raw foods, such as poultry, fish and meats to avoid any cross contamination.

Freezing cooked food can allow for longer term storage but rules still have to be followed. A freezer temperature of  -18 Celsius (-0.4F) halts bacteria growth. Check your food packaging for  star labels to see how long different foods can be stored at different temperatures.

e.g.
****    -18C or lower
***      -18C
**        -12C
*          -6C

It does not matter when an item was frozen, once defrosted it must be consumed within 24 hours or discarded.

CONTROLLING CHILLER AND FREEZER TEMPERATURES

In a professional environment chiller and freezer temperatures must be checked on a regular basis to ensure food safety. At ColdBox, our contract and emergency chillers and freezer come with an easily readable digital temperature controller. This digital temperature control is found on the exterior and means you can check the temperature without having to open the door.

If your existing cold room, freezers or chiller cabinets develop a fault, ColdBox can provide emergency cover, normally within a few hours, to keep your produce from spoiling.

If you need more information about the ColdBox range of mobile chillers and freezer, please call: 07944 673339

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