Did you know you can be sued for selling tainted food in America? According to an announcement made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2020, there has been a 15% increase in Food Poisoning cases in the US. That means more legal actions by the courts to those who run businesses without proper food preservation services. Running a food-service business means learning everything about food preservation and food safety.
One of the best ways to keep food in its fresh state is having a commercial fridge. You can invest in a walk-in-cooler, merchandiser, refrigerated prep station, or a reach-in refrigerator. Keeping perishables fresh all the time protects customers from buying foods already infected by undetectable pathogenic bacteria, like Salmonella or E. Coli. So, what’s the ideal temperature for keeping bacteria away? Read on to find out.
Out of the danger zone
Understanding temperature settings for your commercial fridge is the first step to separating food waste and profitable food. Just setting a few degrees lower than the required temperature is enough to cause mayhem for your business.
Several customers could sue you, and your restaurant or supermarket’s reputation could go down, leading to massive losses. To ensure that you’re out of the danger zone, always keep your temperatures lower than 40 degrees.
What United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates
FDA recommends keeping temperatures at or below 40 degrees. However, keep in mind that setting the temperature below 36 degrees can alter the taste, texture, and overall quality of food.
These freezing temperatures may be safe for certain foods but not recommended for some foods. Meanwhile, always remember that anything above 40degrees creates a conducive environment for the growth of mold and other microorganisms. With that said, the ideal temperature to work with is 38 degrees.
The food you’re selling determines the type of commercial fridge to buy. Some foods are more sensitive than others, and that’s why you need to know which unit works for which foods and what temperatures to set. Typically, large units take time to stabilize the temperatures, and the bigger the unit, the longer it takes.
When adjusting temperature, don’t be in a hurry to stock it with food. Check it after a whole day before storing food. Also, note that temperatures go up every time the equipment door is opened. Here are some general guidelines for temperature range based on the type of unit you’re using.
- Walk-in Freezers: 0F to 10F
- Reach-in Refrigerators: 35F to 38F
- Ice Cream Freezers: 10F to 20F
- Reach –in Freezers: +5F to 10F
- Walk-in Refrigerators: 35F to 38F
Other safety practices
Apart from setting the temperatures, you also need to know how to freeze foods wisely. To keep all foods fresh and ensure they retain their smells and tastes, you need to know how to wrap them well for storage. Proper wrapping ensures no moisture loss, no freezer burn, no transfer of smells between foods, and no food poisoning.
To get this done, remove as much air as you can from freezer bags before sealing them and wrap meats and other baked foods in tight foil before keeping them in a freezer bag. You can also use freezer-safe containers to store and display food, but make sure the containers fit closely with the food being frozen.