Whether you’re unaware of proper commercial refrigeration protocol or you’ve picked up bad habits along the way, there are many foodservice businesses and staff that forget the basics when it comes to running, using and maintaining commercial refrigeration.
Any commercial refrigeration is a major investment for a business and so it’s vital to make sure it is used correctly, not only to increase lifespan of equipment but also, critically, for food safety.
1.DO know what foods should be stored at what temperature. For general produce aim for around 2°C to 5°C. Fresh meat and fish should be stored between -2°C to +2°C while frozen foods should be stored at -18°C or lower. It’s no good just keeping food cold, it needs to be stored at specific temperatures to delay the growth of bacteria and preserve freshness.
2.DO monitor and record temperatures.This is good practice for any HACCP plan and also promotes best practice and additional food safety.
3.DO clearly label all foods detail- ing the contents, prep dates, use by dates and the member of staff creating the label. Colour coded day labels are great for at a glance assessment of what needs to be used first.
4.DO observe stock rotation and use the first in first out (FIFO) system.
This isn’t just a gimmick to create extra work for staff but is vital for food safety and to minimise food waste.
5.DO observe basic food storage rules. Ideally cooked and raw foods should be stored in separate equipment to avoid cross contamination.
6.DO remember that commercial refrigeration requires more attention than a domestic fridge freezer.Vents, condensers and filter areas will attract dust & dirt which must be periodically removed to ensure effective and efficient operation. Regular cleaning and maintenance are vital to performance and to prevent possible breakdowns.
7.DO pay attention to the climate class allocated to equipment.This denotes the maximum ambient temperatures that a unit can work in effectively and efficiently and so dictates where it’s suitable for use. For example, a fridge with climate class 3 is designed for maximum ambient conditions of 25°C, which lends itself to positioning in a standard storage room. Fridges with climate class 4 or 5 are suitable for use in maximum ambient temperatures of 30°C and 40°C respectively, therefore can be situated in the working kitchen environment where it tends to be hotter.
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