Food For Thought Newsletter
Warm Weather is Coming!
Potentially hazardous food must be kept at 41°F or less to prevent bacteria from growing and making people sick. As warm weather approaches and temperatures rise in the kitchen, refrigerators may struggle to maintain 41°F. Most refrigerators run best at room temperatures below 85°F. Now is the time to take steps to keep your refrigerators running properly and keep your food at a safe storage temperature. Here are three steps to help keep your refrigerators cold and the food at the safe temperature:
- Have the refrigerators and freezers serviced ahead of the hot summer season. If a refrigerator reads 41°F two hours before opening, it is doubtful that it will keep that temperature during the busy lunch rush. Set the temperature to be 35°-37°F when the refrigerators are not in use. Check refrigerator temperatures first thing in the morning. If refrigerators are set at the correct temperature, they should keep food at 41°F or less, even during the busy times of business.
- Refrigeration units under and across from the cookline can be a challenge because they may have to work harder to maintain 41°F. All refrigerators must have a built-in temperature gauge or an internal thermometer. Check temperatures throughout the day. Your area inspector can help you set up a temperature log, if necessary. If food temperatures are going up, adjust the refrigerator setting and temporarily move the food to a refrigerator that will keep the proper temperature.
- When food is delivered, put it in the refrigerator quickly. When left unrefrigerated, the food temperature will quickly move into the “Danger Zone” (41° - 135°F). In the “Danger Zone,” foodborne bacteria can grow more quickly and possibly make people sick.
Proper refrigeration and temperature control of foods is very important in reducing the risk of foodborne illness. The Health Department encourages you to take time now to make sure your refrigerators will get you through the summer season.
Read more from the April 2013 newsletter. Download now.