Storing food at the incorrect temperature not only causes it to spoil faster, but it can also result in food poisoning. For caterers, restaurants and commercial kitchens, storing food properly is essential, as salmonella and other bacteria can quickly form undetected, posing a huge threat to guests.
Food poisoning is most commonly caused by bacteria from perishables that have not been stored, handled or cooked correctly. One of the biggest issues with food that has turned toxic is that it can still look, taste and smell as if it was fresh, yet the consequences can be dire, and in some severe cases even fatal.
Entering the Temperature Danger Zone
High-risk food should always be stored at 5 degrees Celsius or above 60 degrees, as anything in between is considered to be the danger zone. In the so-called danger zone bacteria multiplies at its fastest and can often go undetected.
Commercial kitchens need to keep close tabs on all high-risk food and make sure that they adhere to temperature guidelines at all times. In doing so they will also reduce waste, and considering that there is so much hunger in the world, this wastage should be minimised as much as possible. By staying out of the danger zone, less food will be thrown away in the long run.
Understanding High-Risk Food
High-risk foods are those that bacteria will grow on quickly, and they include raw and cooked chicken, meat and fish and dairy products. Foods that have any of these ingredients in them are all considered high-risk and should be treated with the utmost care. Cooked foods such as pasta and rice can also be high-risk, as can prepared salads, pizzas, sandwiches and other perishable ready meals.
Commercial refrigeration is essential in any establishment that serves food to the public, and a company such as Fridge Freezer Direct Ltd can be relied upon to provide you with the perfect solutions for storing foods at their ideal temperature. High-risk food can then be stored properly and the worry of waste, poisoning and other negative factors is hugely reduced.
Monitoring Your Food
Commercial kitchens need to pay careful attention not only to temperature but also to the way they store their food and what the labelling says. In the UK confusion over labelling is one of the contributing factors that leads to food being thrown away, and for a catering kitchen it’s essential that food is well labelled.
Food that has been frozen and thawed should never be refrozen, and raw food should be stored completely separately to cooked food. If you clearly label containers in your kitchen, there will be no room for confusion and food can be stored safely. This is especially important if food is bought in bulk and then repackaged, and your kitchen manager should know what temperature perishables need to be stored at in order for them to remain uncontaminated.
By keeping food at the correct temperature, maintaining the cold chain and adhering to correct packaging, labelling and storing guidelines, you can avoid a number of issues and you’ll also reduce waste and save money.