How to batch cook safely
For businesses responsible for serving food, preparing meals in advance can save time and stress within the kitchen during busy periods such as lunch or dinner. This process is called batch cooking. However, it can involve some food safety risks.
Food safe containers
Using food-safe containers is essential when batch cooking. In particular, airtight containers assist in reducing the spread of harmful bacteria. Remember to regularly inspect seals for damage and discard those with any cracks or extreme wear signs. Worn containers present the risk of bacteria growth which may spread to contents, placing patrons at risk of illness and the business in danger of fines and compensation payouts.
The two-stage chilling procedure is the usual norm for cooling cooked dishes when batch cooking. This approach entails rapidly cooling the meal to 21°C in less than two hours, then rapidly cooling it to 5°C in four hours. It is recommended that the dish be reheated and cooled again if it does not reach 21°C in the first step.
Food holding times
The risk when batch cooking is to avoid over-preparing meals and keep the food holding times in mind. Different ingredients can sustain varying times within the refrigerator or freezer before they need to be thrown out to avoid placing patrons at the risk of developing a foodborne illness.
An efficient food labelling process is essential to avoid the risk of serving prepared meals that are past their use-by date or containing common allergens. The Fildes Food Safety Prep and Product labels are ideal, quickly displaying the production date, use by and prepared by details.
According to the Food Safety Standards Agency, potentially hazardous hot-holding foods should be promptly reheated to 60°C or above and kept at a hot temperature before serving. Keep a probe food thermometer accessible for a quick and accurate assessment to evaluate whether the food is safe to eat. For accuracy, all food thermometers should be recalibrated regularly.
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