Keep hot food hot and cold food cold, these are some of the easiest ways to control pathogenic bacterial growth. A safe minimum internal temperature must be reached to avoid food poisoning in cooked or refrigerated food, this applies to everything from egg dishes and casseroles to leftovers and microwave meals. Remember that if any food is kept out of its safe temperature range for a period of more than two hours, then its potential for breeding germs greatly increases.
Most common food poisoning bacteria will find it difficult to multiply and produce toxins at temperatures below 5°C. Cold food should therefore be served on ice or from platters stored in the refrigerator.
How to take the temperature of hot meat
Place the thermometer in the center of a dish or at the thickest part of the meat away from bone.
In commercial operation you should record any temperatures taken in a log book.
Keeping food cold in a fridge
Do this by placing the food in the centre of the refrigerator, this allows air to circulate around it freely, which greatly helps to maintain a low temperature.
Colour, smell and texture on their own are unreliable indicators of food temperature safety. This is where thermometers come into play, they are a ideal way to accurately get the temperature of any hot or cold food. They are essential in ensuring that meat, poultry, fish and egg dishes are cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful microorganisms.
- Digital food thermometers are considered the most accurate (they provide instant, exact temperature readings).
- Always use an industry approved thermometer.
- Probe thermometers are very popular with professional.
- Make sure to clean the thermometer every time after you have used it. Use warm, soapy water between every temperature reading to avoid spreading bacteria.
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