Dairy Scare Puts Commercial Kitchens on Alert
A recent recall of milk across Victoria and southern New South Wales has Chefs and Restaurant Managers double checking their dairy storage and handling procedures. On two separate occasions in June this year, certain brands of milk were recalled because of a fear that the E. coli bacteria could have been present. E. coli is a particularly dangerous bacteria, and is known to cause diarrhoea, cramps and vomiting. Unfortunately, it cannot be detected by sight, smell or taste. This leaves consumers in a vulnerable situation and completely reliant on those who have handled the product previously.
Consequently, all Chefs and Restaurant Managers are being urged to review their dairy storage practices to ensure proper food safety standards are being observed. In particular, milk, cheese and yoghurt are in the spotlight. Below are some recognised strategies to help ensure your dairy products pose no threat to public health.
· Store at or below 40C.
· Dispose of 1 week after opening or immediately once the use-by date has expired.
· Avoid exposing milk to light as this accelerates bacterial growth.
· When serving milk on tables, do not pour unused amounts back into original packaging. Dispose of any unused milk.
· Store in original packaging.
· Frozen milk may be stored for up to 6 weeks, as freezing slows the spread of dangerous bacteria.
· Ice cream can be stored between 2 and 4 months if kept frozen.
· Soft cheeses offer a better medium for bacterial growth than hard cheeses.
· Hard cheeses include cheddars, Swiss, parmesan and Gouda can be wrapped in wax or parchment, then airtight plastic film to maintain freshness. They may be kept refrigerated for up to 4 weeks.
· If mould appears, remove a section 2.5cm around the mould.
· A common ingredient in Greek and Indian dishes which must be stored at or below 40C.
· Its creamy texture is a medium conducive to bacterial growth, so a higher level of vigilance is required when storing.
· Never exceed use-by dates.
As with all food stored in cool rooms or refrigerators, the products mentioned above must never be tightly stacked so air cannot freely circulate. This allows for pockets of higher temperatures to occur, and this has been linked to bacteria growth. Additionally, proper food safety standards require all cooling appliances to be regularly checked for efficiency and maintained as per manufacturer’s instructions.
Employing the above food safety handling practices is known to reduce outbreaks of food poisoning. Chefs and Restaurant Managers have a duty of care to all patrons in this regard so ensuring all staff are trained and understand the importance of these issues is a must. Public safety and establishment reputations depend on it.
In order to help in the safe storage of milk and dairy items, Fildes Food Safety has a range of temperature control and monitoring products designed to make recording refrigeration temperatures simple and efficient.
Browse our online store to find a fridge food thermometer that suits your needs.