Maintaining proper food temperature should be a constant process in your restaurant or commercial kitchen, from the time it arrives through your back door to the time it arrives on the customer’s plate. A HACCP food safety program will help you achieve safe temperatures for all of the food product in your restaurant, but before a HACCP program is completely established, it's important to understand the basics of temperature control.
Some tips to help you manage food safety temperatures in your restaurant:
When the delivery truck arrives, immediately check food products for temperature. Reject food that arrives above 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you have ensured that the food has arrived in good condition, store it immediately.
Use a good thermometer. Make good thermometers available to your staff to help with the temperature monitoring process. Make sure you and your staff are trained in proper thermometer use:
Constantly monitor food temperatures. Develop and post a temperature monitoring schedule for all the different food types you are currently storing and prepping.
Train other employees to help you maintain this schedule. Stay out of the food temperature danger zone between 41 degrees and 145 degrees Fahrenheit. For heated foods, post a safe temperature chart for cooked foods and train your employees to properly use a thermometer to check food temps during heating.
Safe Chilling and Heating Instructions
Keeping out of the 41 degrees to 145 degrees danger zone should be the top priority for all foods and ingredients. The one exception to the danger zone rule is freshly cooked food, which can be held at 140 degrees before serving, although you should establish a deadline for hot held food after which you should either rapidly chill and store the product or dispose of it.
If you are chilling food that was heated, chilling it rapidly is the best way to prevent bacterial growth. Use a blast chiller or a cold paddle to bring food temperature down quickly. This also retains maximum food freshness. After food has been rapidly cooled, store it in a commercial refrigerator or freezer. Use food storage containers to maintain freshness.
If you are serving cold foods, use a cold pan with built-in refrigerant and ice to ensure food maintains the correct temperature. Monitor temperature to make sure food items are not rising above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.