Do You Know the Optimal Food Storage Temperatures?
Food storage temperatures are so critical to food and beverage businesses that many companies insist upon GM's and assistant managers being certified in food handling; or at the very least, insist upon sending them to one or more classes. There are numerous organizations that train and certify individuals in the hospitality/food and beverage industry, covering everything from service to detailed food handling.
If you’ve had any kind of experience in the food industry, you likely know that when it comes to using commercial freezers and refrigerators for the protection of food, safety procedures must be followed closely. Because many foods are susceptible to foodborne illnesses, adequate care must be paid to perishable food items, including proper temperature control.
In a walk-in cooler or commercial refrigerator, more than one temperature may be needed. Different refrigerators excel at varying temperatures. A colder temperature may be present in a walk-in cooler to discourage the growth of bacteria. There, you'll find the perfect environment for vegetables, fruits, cooked meats, and other perishable foods. If you really want to stop the growth of bacteria, however, there's nothing like a freezer.
There are three basic types of perishable foods, and they are pretty self-explanatory. These include the following:
- Long shelf life foods
- Semi perishable foods
- Immediate perishable foods
Optimal Temperatures for Food Storage
As well as different textures and tastes, every food has a storage temperature and guidelines to follow. Some need to be extremely cold to be served safely while others are very sensitive to cold. For storing foods in your walk-in or freezer, here are some guidelines:
- Walk-in freezers – Somewhere between 0° and -10°F is where your walk-in freezer temperature should be kept. Don't forget, a significant defrosting period will be needed for anything you pull out of there. That's important because it's a huge health hazard, not to mention gross, to serve partially cooked meats due to insignificant cooking time as a result of partially frozen food.
- Refrigerators and walk-in coolers – Approximately 36 to 40°F is where most walk-in coolers are set. No colder because dairy products like milk should not be allowed to freeze. Then again, you have to watch out for salmonella and other foodborne illnesses because some foods could spoil easily.
Foods and Temperatures
Foods can be affected by the temperature at which they're stored in the following ways:
- Their safety
- Nutrient content
Naturally, the first of those is where the FDA’s interests lie the most. At 41°F or lower, according to the FDA, is where refrigerated products should be kept. That's the big reason for the recommendation of a between a 36°F and 45°F range for commercial refrigerators. It keeps things from freezing but keeps them cold enough to make the FDA happy.
More Freezer and Refrigeration Guidelines
Based on the type of cooling/refrigeration in your establishment, here are some additional guidelines for temperature ranges:
- 10°F to 20°F for ice cream freezers
- 0°F to -10°F for walk-in freezers
- 5°F to -10°F for reach-in freezers
- 35°F to 38°F for walk-in refrigerators
- 35°F to 38°F for reach-in refrigerators
Keep Your Food and Beverages Cold with Reliable Equipment from Ancaster
So important are food storage temperatures that the food and beverage industry spends thousands of upon thousands of dollars on reliable units to keep their products safe, fresh, and at a tip-top quality level. Fortunately, there is a way to save money and still enjoy all the benefits of high-quality equipment. At Ancaster Food Service, we carry refurbished True refrigerators and freezers (as well as portable sinks).
When you can only trust your foods and beverages to the very best, rely on Ancaster Food Equipment and our refurbished units. We carry numerous styles and sizes so that you can get the precise unit you require. Check out our inventory today or contact us with any questions you may have!