Understanding best practice for transporting food correctly
Beyond the commercial kitchen environment itself and in-house service, many of the concerns around food safety such as temperature control and cross-contamination extend to the transport of food off the premises. It is always advisable to keep these concerns in mind across the full journey of ingredients and finished meals, whether that means products entering your kitchen or going out of the door as takeaway, delivery or leftover ‘doggy bags’.
All staff in commercial kitchens and service roles should be aware of the food temperature ‘danger zone’ between 5°C and 60°C where there is the greatest risk of harmful bacteria growing. Time is also a key factor in terms of minimising food safety risks. Whether it is for receiving deliveries or sending food out, it is worth being across the guidance from Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) on food transportation.
Key considerations include placing cold food in the coolest part of a vehicle, which might mean the interior of an air-conditioned vehicle rather than the boot space. In terms of time management, it is advisable to plan the quickest possible route, collecting and appropriately packing cold foods last on the outward journey and, on arrival at the venue, unpacking these first to replace them in a temperature-controlled environment as soon as possible.
In terms of commercial kitchen supplies, it is worth noting that, in addition to the guidance on keeping vehicles clean and/or designating a specific food storage area, these kinds of contamination risks may be avoided by using insulated containers with tightly fitting lids. Pre-heated or pre-cooled food can be transported in an insulated container as part of helping to maintain safe temperatures. As part of best practice for time management, FSANZ also advises that cold foods should be placed in insulated containers or cool bags immediately before transport.
In addition to food containers, high quality, well-designed food label stickers can also be a helpful tool in maintaining food safety throughout transport operations. The permanent hot/cold sticker, for instance, can offer peace of mind on delivering best practice information on food temperature control for both storage and serving. Numerous other food label stickers may be relevant to food transportation issues including the clear communication of received and use by dates as well as additional day, date and time information, storage and reheating instructions which may be relevant to staff and to consumers where food is delivered or otherwise not eaten immediately after purchase.
Contact us to discuss how Fildes Food Safety’s extensive range of high-quality commercial kitchen supplies and food safety products can help you to establish and maintain the best standards of food safety.