If your answer to “what is the most common factor in preventing foodborne illnesses” was tracking food temperatures, then you’re correct. Improperly measuring or recording food safety temperatures can result in your restaurant crashing down. However, if you are serious about taking action in preventing inaccuracies from happening, keep scrolling to learn more.
High-risk food items are products intended for consumption in which bacteria have the potential of multiplying if the food is stored at improper temperatures. The most common high-risk items are poultry, red meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy products. However, this can also include other items such as vegetables. Low-risk food items can also become cross-contaminated if they are prepared in an environment that has been directly exposed to contaminated products without being properly sanitized first.
Here are some danger zones where food safety temperatures should be monitored-
1. Food Delivery
If raw, unprocessed, or uncooked items for consumption are delivered to your restaurant, then their states must be taken into consideration. You must ensure that frozen items are still frozen to the point that they are rock-hard. Refrigerated foods must be stored at 5°C, or lower.
2. Food Storage
Frozen foods must be kept at 15°C, or lower to keep bacteria from thriving. Regarding food safety temperatures for items stored for shorter amounts of time, keep them at 5 degrees or lower.
If the food in question is partially thawed but remains lower than 5°C, go ahead and transfer it to a refrigerator that’s kept at the same temperature.
If it reaches 5 degrees or higher and has been like that for under four hours, then it should be used immediately. The food item will be considered high-risk if it is over 5°C for a period longer than 4 hours. You must discard these items appropriately and must never use them for consumption or anything else.
The proper method of thawing out food is to place it in the refrigerator, ensuring the food safety temperature is colder than room temperature.
If food reaches a point higher than 5°C for less than a two-hour period, you can place it in the refrigerator set at 5 degrees and use it as if it were a regular refrigerated item.
5. Food Prep
If raw items have been taken out to be prepared before cooking, make sure not to leave them out of the refrigerator for longer than four hours. If you are done preparing the items, ensure they are returned to the fridge.
To ensure that all bacteria that may cause foodborne illnesses are killed, the food items must be cooked at a minimum temperature of 75°C. If the food is thicker or cut into larger portions, such as a chicken breast, the center or the portion must reach this temperature as well.
You’ve heard the saying, “If it were easy, everybody would do it!” While this may not be true for everything, it’s applicable when it comes to using HACCP food safety temperature monitors. In the past, everything had to be done manually, which meant employees were taken away from their main functions, such as cooking or managing. Nowadays, this requirement can be practically eliminated through the use of wireless temperature monitoring. By using sensors and WiFi, practically everything can be automated so then all you have to worry about is a sensor alert going off.
Here are just a few remote temperature monitors, like Zip HACCP, that you can utilize to ensure quality and consistency in your food safety temperatures-
1. Low-Temperature Sensors
These are best used in low-temperature applications such as freezers or refrigerators.
2. High-Temperature Sensors
These measure temperatures in the range of negative 50 degrees to 370 degrees Celsius. These are great for ovens, heaters, furnaces, and boilers.
3. Humidity Sensors
Not only temperature applies here, as humidity is crucial to food safety as well. These sensors enable you to monitor the humidity of the air within a room or enclosure. These can also be used to control mold and mildew.
Depending on your needs, you can choose from a range of products that vary in accuracy and thermal range. They typically all feature user customization which allows you to set how often you’d like the readings reported, as well as the ability to set limits for system notifications.
Remote temperature monitors are where the restaurant world is headed; so, why not get a head start? Monitoring the food safety temperatures in your restaurant is a requirement. Don’t allow improper monitoring to risk your brand name, your restaurant’s profitability, and your success. HACCP temperature monitors should be wireless, like Hubworks' Zip HACCP Bluetooth Temperature Monitor, for many reasons.
First of all, you don’t have to worry about annoying cords and wires possibly becoming unplugged or getting in the way of things. Secondly, with real-time monitoring, you don’t have to worry about potential environmental condition changes.
Imagine it kind of like this - your phone’s battery dies, and you can’t find the charger. It’s 2 am, and you have to get up early in the morning. You can’t set your alarm because your phone is dead. So you find yourself waking up every hour or so making sure you’re not late for work. This is exhausting, and the chances of you accidentally sleeping too late are high. The next night, you make sure to charge your phone completely and set your alarm for the next morning. Your body is fully relaxed and at ease knowing it only has to wake up when it hears the alarm. You have a great night’s sleep and perform at work much better the next day.
The first example is how most restaurants regulate their food safety temperatures. There are many factors that are not easily controlled and can cause temperatures to enter the danger zone unknowingly; it’s a game of chance, at times. The second example is how you should be regulating your temperatures. You can sit back, relax, and only have to worry if an alarm goes off. This is the future of your restaurant; don’t ever leave it to chance.
If you’re looking for more tips to improve your food handling and safety game, check out The Definitive Guide to HACCP and Food Safety | 7 HACCP Principles or other posts on the Hubworks Blog!