Importance of Temperature Control in Food Safety
Temperature control is highly relevant in the food industry. Without it, both food safety and food quality are compromised. In addition, temperature-controlled food supplies are regulated because they run high risks of bacteria growth.
What foods are considered potentially dangerous and require careful temperature control? Some of these foods include the following:
- Food with either raw or cooked meat as an ingredient
- Dairy products and processed foods with beans, nuts, and eggs
- Pre-processed fruits and salads
- Pre-cooked rice and pasta
Once they are kept at a specific temperature, it minimizes the growth of pathogens and harmful toxins that cause food-borne illnesses. Controlling temperature prevents food from getting spoiled and from culturing bacteria that can cause disease. High temperatures are known to kill bacteria, so cooking them under the appropriate temperatures is vital. Bacteria tend to multiply at a fast rate under mid-range temperatures, while low temperatures inhibit the growth of bacteria and stop it from reaching dangerous levels.
For safety, perishable foods must be held at proper cold temperatures to inhibit bacterial growth or cooked to temperatures high enough to kill harmful microorganisms.
There are four general temperature zones that you should keep in mind.
- Hot Food Zone – As a general rule, food on a temperature reaching 74°C / 165°F or more. However, the temperature mustn’t drop below 60°C / 140°F once displayed or served.
- Cold Food Zone – 0°C to 4°C / 32°F to 40°F is the standard temperature for most refrigerators.
- Frozen Food – This zone is normally held at -18°C / 0°F or even lower.
- Temperature Danger Zone – This is when the temperature drops between 4°C and 60°C / 40°F to 140°F.
Food safety mandates staying far from this danger zone where bacteria proliferate. Perishable foods must either be stored at cold temperatures to halt the growth of pathogens or cooked in high temperatures to kill off the microorganism that might have developed. It must be noted that bacteria can still grow and thrive between 5 – 65 °C (41 – 149 °F). However, harmful bacteria tend to survive best in the aforementioned danger zone.
An Alternative to Temperature Control
Besides temperature control, you can also use the time for food safety maintenance. Known as the two hour/4 hour guide, you must keep records. Similarly, potentially dangerous foods should be held at five °C or colder or above 60 °C wherever possible. Still, ready-to-eat foods are considered safe for consumption between 5 °C and 60 °C for up to four hours. The reason is it takes more than four hours for food poisoning microorganisms to reach dangerous levels. Therefore, while the two hour/4 hour guide can be helpful, it applies strictly to both potentially hazardous and ready-to-eat foods. Another thing to note is the duration mentioned refers to the total lifetime of the food, which includes preparation and cooling, and is not limited to the time it was displayed.
How to Maintain Temperature Control During Transport?
If you are involved in the procurement/preparation of food supplies in Singapore, it’s your responsibility to ensure that food safety guidelines are strictly followed. How do you ensure that temperature control is still maintained from the transport of food supplies from one point to another? A cold chain logistics solution can help you with this. Providing uninterrupted cold storage or ambient temperature, you can rest assured that your food supplies get delivered with quality and safety intact.
TreeDots has developed a new business arm, TreeLogs, that focuses on providing cold-chain logistics support to provide food market bargains and delivery as your one-stop shop. So whether you’re here for the group buys or looking for procurement for your F&B business, sign up with us now to find a suitable service for your needs.