Food safety is crucial for the success of a business in the food industry. It is a significant concern for consumers, the government, and regulatory agencies. The goal is to keep food safe from food borne illness, spoilage, or incurring costly health-code violations.
Vital to your food safety management operations is ensuring you control temperature. You do this using the proper selection of temperature-measuring devices. The items help you measure food temperature, which is vital in keeping food safe.
Here’s why measuring temperature is essential for food safety.
1. To Avoid Danger Zones
Measuring temperature helps maintain Food safety by avoiding danger zones. FDA regulations set the minimum storage temperature for hot foods on steam tables at 135 degrees Fahrenheit. And 14 degrees Fahrenheit or lower for cold foods. Harmful bacteria that lead to illness thrive in the “danger zone” between the two thresholds.
All perishable foods being heated or cooled should spend minimum time in the danger zone to reduce the risk of bacteria. FDA guidelines recommend that all cooked food placed in storage be cooled from 135 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit in two hours or less. Further, you should cool from 70 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit in four hours or less.
2. Better Storage
Improper cooling is one of the leading causes of foodborne illness. The bacteria are everywhere, meaning they can be introduced to the food and reproduce even after cooking to a safe internal temperature. Therefore, you should put the leftovers in a shallow container for quick cooling and refrigerate them within two hours. Measuring the temperature will guide you in maintaining the quality of the leftovers.
3. To Prevent Food Poisoning
Improperly cooked food is a significant cause of food poisoning. Different types of meals require exceptional heat levels to cook correctly. Measuring temperature will help you know the proper heat to kill the pathogens that result in foodborne illness ultimately. Also, measuring temperature enables you to avoid guesswork and prevent under/overcooking.
4. To Maintain Quality
The quality of food is a unique aspect of food safety. Quality food is safe for consumption and observes all the regulatory guidelines. Measuring temperature helps maintain the procedures to prevent the meal from becoming dry, rigid, or losing flavor.
5. To Make Delicious Meals
If you’re serving a barbecue buffet, remember that some dishes will last longer. Additionally, people have different preferences for how they love their steak cooked. If customers want undercooked steak, measuring the temperature will help you serve them using valid criteria.
Devices Used to Measure Food Temperature
Food temperature can be measured using a diverse array of devices and sensors. All of them infer temperature by sensing changes in the physical characteristics of the meals. The items are numerous and include:
A thermometer is a reliable way to ensure safety and determine the doneness of various foods. Doneness refers to a meal being cooked to the appropriate state and indicates the subjective sensory aspect of foods, like texture, juiciness, and appearance. The thermometer is easy to use and read and affordable. Also, you’ll get numerous types of food thermometers in the market, such as;
- Thermistors: Thermistors are ideal items that provide fast and accurate readings. You can use it to measure temperature in both thick and thin meals. However, some are not calibrated, and you can use them in food while cooking.
- Thermocouples: A thermocouple scans food temperature in as little as 2.5 seconds and has easy readings due to calibrations. They are versatile, and you can use them to measure thick and thin foods. However, they can be inaccurate when cooking or oven usage and are best used when the food is nearly cooked.
- Refrigerator thermometer: If your fridge does not get cold enough, pathogenic bacteria can grow. A refrigerator thermometer displays the temperature of your coolers. It helps you identify when your fridge has a problem to avoid food issues.
- Oven probe cord thermometer: Oven probe cord thermometers are versatile tools that you can use to measure the temperature of most foods. Their design is specifically for oven use or covered pot while cooking.
- Digital instant-read bimetallic thermometers: Digital bimetallic thermometers are handy supplies for fast and accurate readings. You can use them in thick and thin meals but avoid using them while the food is cooking. Most are calibrated and will help you achieve accurate results.
2. Cold Temperature Logging
The device monitors the products that are in a temperature-controlled environment. It provides an unbroken temperature record to guarantee your food’s quality, freshness, and viability.
3. Disposable Temperature Indicators
Disposable temperature indicators are single-use items that provide accurate readings in 5-10 seconds. You can use them in liquid foods and allows you to measure temperature while cooking. They are designed to detect a specific temperature, changing colors when that temperature is attained.
4. Temperature Data Loggers
Measuring temperature throughout the journey is crucial when transporting sensitive food items. Data loggers help in tracking the temperature of the products at each step of the transportation. You can use them in warehouses, refrigerated containers, trucks, cold storage, and sensitive temperature packaging.
Tips for Choosing Food Temperature Measuring Devices
You’ll get various items in the market and must evaluate the best and most practical one. The following tips will help you select a suitable temperature-measuring device.
Accuracy and Operating Temperature
The goal is to get a device that provides accurate readings. Also, you should check the operating temperature limits to ensure the item can record high temperatures depending on your food.
A suitable device should have a fast response to a change in temperature. You can compare the response time of multiple tools and pick the best one.
If your instrument is exposed to extreme cold or heat, you must ensure the design and materials can withstand those conditions. Ensure it doesn’t come up against its limit in extreme ambient conditions.
The cost of the devices ranges from low to high. If you’re tight on budget, try to get a suitable one within your budget. But don’t let money limit you because the benefits of measuring food temperature are worthwhile.
Temperature control is vital to guarantee food safety in the food industry. It helps prevent pathogens, comply with guidelines, and prevent food wastage and spoilage. But before that, you need to acquire the best technological food temperature measuring device. The items will help you to adequately heat, cool, store, and transport meals or food items.