Are your commercial refrigerators holding food at the right temperature? If not, they could be putting your food in the 'Danger Zone' of potential foodborne pathogens! A commercial freezer that doesn't maintain the proper temperature can result in substandard quality and substantial food waste. Commercial refrigerators are no different and learning the ideal temperature for your commercial refrigerator is important for all foodservice operators to know.
What Is the Danger Zone?
According to the USDA, the temperature range of 40 °F to 140 °F is where dangerous bacteria like Campylobacter, Escherichia coli, Salmonella Enteritidis, and Staphylococcus aureus multiply quickly. They can double in numbers in just 20 minutes within this temperature zone. No wonder it's called the Danger Zone!
Letting food linger in this dangerous temperature range is one of the biggest reasons foodborne illnesses occur. All leftovers should be placed in shallow containers where they can cool down quickly. Then they must be placed in a refrigerator at 40 °F (or lower) within 2 hours. If the temperature in your kitchen is 90 °F or higher, get them refrigerated within one hour.
Since bacteria can grow on food even after it's been cooked, make sure to reheat any leftovers quickly and thoroughly before serving them.
Keep Refrigerated Foods Cold
Consistently cold temperatures help prevent microorganisms from increasing to levels that cause food to spoil. You can even help stop potentially deadly food-borne illnesses if food is refrigerated at a consistent, appropriate temperature (40 °F or below).
Of course, it's hard to maintain those consistently low temperatures in a busy kitchen where the refrigerator or walk-in doors are constantly being opened. Even worse is when they're left standing open for any length of time! The ever-changing contents of a refrigerator can also affect the temperature inside, causing it to fluctuate as the load changes.
Consistent temperatures start with reliable, top-quality refrigeration systems. That kind of dependable, efficient, and cost-effective refrigeration relies on a digital scroll compressor to work properly. This technology is flexible enough to provide precise temperature control even under constantly changing loads.
By always accurately matching your current refrigeration needs, a digital scroll compressor is very energy efficient. It also reduces the compressor cycling which can decrease a refrigerator's life expectancy. These two factors make it an environmentally friendly choice for your kitchen.
... And Frozen Foods Colder
The wrong temperature (or fluctuating temperatures) in your walk-in freezer can not only affect the quality of frozen food but also its safety. Frozen foods must remain at, or below, 0° Fahrenheit in order to prevent bacterial growth.
Even if bacteria isn't growing in your freezer, food quality can go down over time because of freezer burn. The insidious oxidation and dehydration that occur with freezer burn affects the color, aroma, flavor, and texture of food. Previously high-quality food gradually becomes highly unappetizing. The unsavory effects of freezer burn occur when food is exposed to too much air or frost during its time in the freezer.
Improper storage and an inefficient walk-in freezer can turn even the most succulent proteins and flavorful produce into wasted profit potential. Opening the freezer door frequently, allowing warm air to enter, causes temperature fluctuations that just exacerbate the problem.
The Benefits of Eco-Smart Refrigeration
A smart, on-demand defrosting system prevents the harmful frost build-up that also contributes to freezer burn. It also offers significant cost savings in a commercial kitchen because it operates on demand rather than on a pre-set schedule.
Accurate temperature monitoring and reduced food spoilage are just two of the benefits you'll experience when you switch to an Eco-Cool refrigeration system with Eco-Smart technology. Other benefits include energy savings and better compliance with regulations regarding environmental responsibility.
Keep your foodservice operation out of the 'Danger Zone' when you switch to Eco-Smart monitoring.
Are you struggling with your commercial refrigeration unit and want to learn how to save time, energy costs, and labor? Receive our free Refrigeration Review to learn more!