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Keeping Your Cool

Proprietors of food businesses have the responsibility to comply with food safety legislation and one of the most crucial areas of this is the storage of food at the correct temperatures. Refrigerated food needs to be kept at 8°C or below, whilst frozen food should be stored in a freezer operating at least – 18°C.

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In addition to the safety implications of food and drink storage, it is important to remember the aesthetic aspects: nobody wants to drink warm champagne or bottled lager, even if these do not pose a health hazard, so drinks also need to be kept at the appropriate temperature.

Refrigeration

In order to prevent the growth of food poisoning bacteria, certain foods need to be chilled. These foods include items that are labelled ‘keep refrigerated’, foods with a ‘use by’ date, and ‘ready to eat’ foods such as salads, desserts and cooked meats. Some foods that you have cooked to be served later should also be stored in the refrigerator.

Whilst ‘best before’ dates refer to food quality, ‘use by’ dates are about food safety, and it is important that food is not used after its ‘use by’ date as it might be unsafe. Although chilled food should be kept at 8°C or below, it is a good idea to set your refrigeration equipment a little lower, at 5°C or below to ensure this is possible and the temperature should be monitored and recorded at least once a day.

Cold drinks can be stored in coolers such as the double door bottle coolers by FFD to be served to your guests at the optimum temperature at any time.

Frozen Storage

Frozen food keeps for long periods as the low temperature at which upright and chest freezers operate prevents the growth of bacteria. However, freezing does not kill bacteria, and storage times depend on the type of food. It is important to keep ready to eat and raw foods separated and wrapped well so that cross contamination cannot occur.

Rotating stock is also important so that the quality does not suffer, and daily monitoring and recording of freezer temperatures should be carried out. Domestic fridges and freezers may be acceptable for some small businesses, but to maintain correct temperatures in an environment when they are opened frequently such as a busy commercial kitchen, commercial equipment will be much more suitable.

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