In order to observe the cold chain, you need to monitor the temperatures of refrigerated areas (negative and positive cold) every day. Regulations require that such readings be recorded and kept for one year.
The ideal set-up involves centralised recording coupled with an alarm system. If such an investment is out of the question, an alternative solution is to use a thermometer equipped with a probe to measure and record, on a daily basis temperatures and the time the reading was taken for each refrigerated area.
Food storage in the freezer (-20 degrees C)
Freezing is one of the easiest, quickest, most versatile and most convenient methods of preserving foods. Properly frozen foods maintain more of their original color, flavor and texture and generally more of their nutrients than foods preserved by other methods. Because freezing can be the most expensive method of preserving foods, good freezer management is important and saves money:
- Place your freezer in a cool, dry area where the temperature is constant.
- Keep your freezer at least ¾ full for efficient operation.
- Continue to use and replace foods. Do not simply store them.
- Open the freezer door as rarely as possible.
- Make proper use of energy saving features on your freezer.
- Keep door seals clean and check for proper sealing. Replace when necessary.
- Defrost manual freezers regularly.
- Keep the condenser coils clean.
Food storage in the refrigerator (between 2 and 7 degrees C)
Here are some tips to positioning food correctly:
- The top of the fridge - has an average temperature of 7 degrees. This temperature is good for butters and cheeses.
- The middle of the fridge – is best for fresh fish, cooked meats and dairy products, like soft cheese, cream and yoghurts. This area of the fridge maintains optimum temperature of 5 degrees centigrade.
- The lower levels – are the coldest part of the fridge and raw meats and chilled ready meals are best stored in this area, as the temperature is maintained at 2 degrees centigrade.
- The salad drawers have the perfect temperature of 7 degrees centigrade for your fruits and vegetables. For the best possible storage times fruit and vegetables should be stored separately, as these items give off toxins that can cause other items to deteriorate when stored together.
Keep refrigerated products cold until you work with them. Make sure all hot foods are prepared quickly and that they reach the right temperature (80 degrees C for 3 minutes is safe).