How Accurate Freezer Thermometers Reduce Kitchen Wastage
There are many factors Chefs and Restaurant Managers need to take into account when ensuring the safety and quality of the food they produce. An often overlooked element of success in these areas are accurate freezer thermometers. Not only do they help to ensure food safety and quality, they also assist with reducing costly wastage.
It is well known in professional kitchens that the temperature danger zone for food is from 50C – 600C inclusive. Within this range, bacteria multiply quickly and may present significant health risks to diners. This has been linked to many cases of salmonella, listeria and bacillus. It is less understood that inaccurate freezer thermometers combined with poor freezer storage techniques may also contribute to dangerous and/or expensive outcomes for professional kitchens. Once discovered, it is often tempting to mitigate financial losses by using the spoiled food anyway and this is how public health and the establishment’s reputation are put at risk.
Consequently, your staff need to be trained in correct freezer storage techniques. This involves leaving air space around all items placed in the freezer as it is the circulation of air at -180C or below that freezes the contents. Freezers jam-packed with boxes allowing no air to circulate between are recipes for expensive spoilage. Food safety posters are available to assist with clarifying this for your staff.
Quality freezer thermometers will have a temperature range of -400C to +500C, accurate to +/- 10C, and update their reading every 10 seconds or so. To save power, the display will turn off once the freezer door is closed. Some even come with alarms which go off when the temperature peaks above or dips below specified pre-sets. If your freezer temperature is too low, it’s using excessive power. If it’s too warm, it’s a potential cause of foodborne illness and contamination. A food storage temperature chart posted outside your freezer will assist in educating your staff on this matter.
In addition to your staff understanding effective freezer storage techniques to enhance food safety, they must also practice safe stock rotation in the freezer. There are many food safety labels specifically designed to assist with this. Ensure your kitchen is well stocked and orderly with food safety labels and commercial food storage containers. They help to maintain an organised workplace where staff are informed and productive and also help keep food safety top of mind at all times.