Warm summer weather is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow, so it’s especially important right now that you keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold until they are ready to be eaten.
Temperature regulations for food products
High risk foods must be kept at the right temperature before and during preparation to remain safe. Fail to do so and you could create the perfect environment for harmful bacteria, risking your customers becoming seriously ill. You and your staff should already know that: Hot food must be kept above 63°C (145°F) And chilled food must be kept at or below 8°C (46°F), and preferably below 5°C (41°F) .
You might not already be aware that when you’re serving or displaying foods, you can keep them out of temperature controls on occasion, for a limited period: Hot food can be kept below 63°C (145°F) for a maximum of 2 hours And chilled food can be kept above 8°C (46°F) for a maximum of 4 hours.
Obviously you mustn’t ever exceed these times and must dispose of the food if you do.
When there’s no access to electricity for refrigeration…
…Cool boxes are the next best thing, as long as you keep away from sunlight and sources of heat within your unit.
You’ll need to use adequate freezer packs so that food temperatures never rise above 8°C (46°F), or you’ll have to throw it out after 4 hours. You’ll make life easier for yourself if you replace freezer packs two or three times throughout the working day.
It’s also imperative that you use a thermometer to check temperatures regularly. You should always replace the lid of the cool box immediately once opened.
Checking temperatures: quick tips
- Be sure to clean and disinfect temperature probes thoroughly before each use
- Use food grade antibacterial wipes to clean your temperature probe
- When cooking food, it must achieve a minimum core temperature of 75°C (167°F)
The Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS) provides lots more useful food hygiene information for caterers every day. For triple-accredited training, refer to the NCASS Food Hygiene Level 2 or 3 courses at: www.NCASSTraining.co.uk Heavily discounted training places are actually included in NCASS membership as well as unlimited over-the-phone support, amongst many other useful tools and systems for caterers. Call the NCASS support team on 0121 603 2524 or visit www.NCASS.org.uk/join for more information.