Food Safety and Wastage A Helpful Guide to Refrigerated Food Management
In a previous blog we featured a guide to maintaining your commercial refrigeration and in this month’s article we’ll going to discuss the importance of effective food control and the practical ways you can reduce wastage and avoid the risk of food contamination.
As a successful food catering business, you do not want to see your profits disappearing needlessly into the food scrap bin. Efficient refrigeration of food will cut down significantly on wastage and loss of profit and reduce the risk of food contamination leading to foodborne illness affecting customers (which can be catastrophic to your business’s reputation, leading to a downturn in business).
The following guidelines help to ensure that your refrigerated food is properly managed and helps to maintain a high standard of food safety.
- It is imperative that all kitchen staff are trained in and adhere vigilantly to good hygiene and food safety procedures.
- Always store food as recommended by the manufacturer’s instructions on packaging. (when provided). Food should not be consumed after the ‘use by date’ for health and safety reasons, even if the packet is unopened. The ‘best-before date’ applies to foods that are not considered high risk regarding food poisoning and indicates the end of the period of time in which the food is in peak condition.
- Keep a list of what is kept in your fridge and ensure all stock is labelled with the following details.
- What it is (if not obvious from the packaging)
- Date it was delivered
- Date it needs to be used by
- When fresh food stock is delivered, it needs to be placed behind older stock to ensure that all products are used in a timely manner. Do not overload your fridge as this can lead to an increase in temperature making food unsafe and compromises the efficiency of your commercial refrigeration.
- Keep a thermometer in your fridge and check it daily to ensure that the temperature remains at 4 degrees C. Freezers should be set at -18 degrees C. Freezing food will stop bacteria growing and slow down the chemical changes that affect the quality of food, however once the food thaws, bacteria will begin growing and multiply. Avoid refreezing food that has been thawed as it will contain a higher bacteria count.
- Food storage tips:
- When storing perishable foods (ready to eat, such as cooked quiche, salads etc.), they should be stored on shelves above uncooked food to prevent juices from the raw food dripping onto and contaminating the ready to eat foods.
- All raw meats should be well wrapped or contained to prevent their juices leaking onto other foods and should never be touching cooked foods.
- Do not store food in opened cans as tin and iron can dissolve into the food and spoil the flavour. Once a can is opened the food is to be treated as perishable, as does re-hydrated foods, and should be stored in a glass or plastic container with a sealable lid.
- Dairy, meat and vegetables all need to be stored separately with raw meat being kept in the coldest part of the fridge, usually the lower shelves.
- It is vitally important to keep all storage areas clean and free from bacteria by following a regular cleaning routine. Click here to read recent blog Helpful Guide to Refrigeration Maintenance.docx
ACE Catering Equipment Brisbane has been supplying commercial kitchen equipment since 1982 and are well placed to assist with all your commercial refrigeration/freezer equipment needs. For more details click here. Contact us today for more information, phone (07) 3279 5204