Refrigeration Servsafe Guidelines Westchester Food Safety
A refrigerator is one of the most important pieces of equipment in the kitchen for keeping foods safe. These electric units are so commonplace today, we forget a refrigerator was once little more than a box with a block of ice used to supply a rather undependable source of cold air. But we are instantly reminded of its importance to our daily lives when the power goes off or the unit fails, putting our food’s safety in jeopardy.
Refrigerator Thermometers: Cold Facts about Food Safety
Chilling stored foods to proper temperatures is one of the best ways to slow the growth of dangerous bacteria.
A Refrigerator Thermometer Can Make a Big Difference
When it comes to protecting yourself and your family from foodborne illness, one of your most effective tools is the kitchen refrigerator. In fact, at room temperature, the numbers of bacteria that cause foodborne sickness can double every 20 minutes! Chilling foods to proper temperatures is one of the best ways to slow the growth of these bacteria.
To ensure that your refrigerator is doing its job, it’s important to keep its temperature at 41 °F or below; the freezer should be at 0 °F. Since few refrigerator controls show actual temperatures, using an inexpensive freestanding appliance thermometer will allow you to monitor the temperature and adjust the setting of the refrigerator and/or freezer if necessary. Buy one for the fridge, one for the freezer, and check them often.
The temperature in a refrigerator should be 41 °F or below throughout the unit, so that any place is safe for storage of any food. Raw meat, poultry, and seafood should be in a sealed container or wrapped securely to prevent raw juices from contaminating other food.
Store raw and ready-to-eat food separately if possible. This should also be done when transporting food for off-site service.
If separate storage is not possible, store food in the following top to bottom order: ready-to-eat food; seafood; whole cuts of beef and pork; ground meat and ground fish; whole and ground poultry.
This order is based on the minimum internal cooking temperature of each food.