The importance of refrigeration in maintaining food safety

Listed Under: Blog

Commercial refrigeration is essential for keeping your food fresh for longer.

But, it’s important to know how to use your refrigerator correctly to ensure that you maintain food safety. While cold temperatures keep bacteria at bay, if your refrigerator is set at the wrong temperature, or the food is stored incorrectly, then bacteria can still thrive. Storing food correctly also helps preserve its flavour and quality.

If you provide food to the public, whether as a high-end restaurant or a mobile catering van, you have a responsibility and a duty to maintain good food hygiene at all times. Food hygiene includes safe food storage, and hygienic handling and preparation.

Your reputation can be badly damaged by poor food hygiene, so make sure your commercial refrigeration is up to the job. Here are a few things to bear in mind…

Safe temperatures equal safe storage

Cold temperatures inhibit bacteria growth, so carefully storing your food in a refrigerator will keep it fresher for longer, and help to prevent bacteria from growing. Commercial refrigerators are set between 0°C and 5°C. This allows a buffer before the ‘danger zone’ – the temperature range between 8°C and 63°C, where bacteria can flourish. When defrosting, it’s always best to use your refrigerator to ensure it never reaches ‘danger zone’ temperatures. If you defrost food at room temperature, it could creep into the ‘danger zone’. Also, don’t put hot food into your refrigerator, as this will cause the temperature inside the fridge to rise, bringing it up towards the critical point.

Health risks associated with poor food storage

It’s not just temperature that’s crucial, but also how your store your food.

For a comercial refrigerator to work effectively, there must be space for the cold air to circulate and sufficient produce in the fridge to help maintain the temperature. The best practice is to keep your fridge 75% full, which will allow for optimal air circulation. Different food groups should be stored separately with air gaps between them, to allow the air to move and to prevent cross-contamination. The effects of poor food hygiene can be severe – in some cases, fatal. Good food hygiene is essential if you want to maintain your reputation and your business.

Monitor and maintain for good food hygiene

So, how do you ensure your team maintains good food hygiene and stores your food correctly? First, ensure all your employees are fully trained and understand what will happen if food isn’t stored correctly. Check the temperature of your commercial refrigerators regularly and record the checks, for your own assurance. Make sure that your commercial refrigerators are serviced regularly so that they are operating correctly, and are less likely to breakdown. Food should be stored correctly, and again, all employees should know where everything goes. Meat, dairy, fruit and veg should all have distinct areas where they’re stored. Your commercial refrigerators should be cleaned and checked regularly, to keep them free from spillages and pick up any signs of wear and tear before major problems develop. The golden rule is that if you’re in any doubt about the quality or safety of your food, don’t take the risk, and throw the food away. The potential damage to your business is far more expensive than the cost of replacing the food.

Invest in a Fridgesmart fridge to ensure good food hygiene

If you have an older commercial fridge, you may find it’s struggling to maintain consistently low temperatures. Investing in a new modern commercial refrigeration is a wise business decision. Modern refrigeration is far more energy efficient than older styles, so you could well see a reduction in your energy bills, too. Investing in a new commercial refrigerator will give you peace of mind about the storage of your food, and will reduce the risk of your refrigeration breaking down and causing business disruption. Here at Fridgesmart, we have an excellent range of commercial refrigerators to suit different businesses and budgets, you can take a look here. We’re always on hand to discuss the best solution for your business needs. Call our friendly, helpful team on 01792 677169.