How to accurately and hygienically take temperatures on the buffet:
All temporary hot and cold food holding facilities must be checked for their temperature holding abilities. These include but are not limited to bain maries, upright warmers, undercounter warmers, cold displays, ice wells, cold tops, etc. All such holding facilities in the production areas and in all servery areas, including temporary servery areas such as tables set up for conferencing, must be checked.
Ideally four foods from each holding facility or one third of foods from a large holding compliment should be checked and these should be a representative spread of foods across the entire holding facility.
Basic procedure for clients testing the temperature of foods in hot and cold display holding facilities:
- A Digital Probe Thermometer should always be used as these thermometers provide the most accurate real-time temperatures.
- Before the probe is inserted into the food being monitored, the probe must be cleaned and sanitised.
- The probe should be cleaned with a cloth using a food grade detergent.
- The probe should then be sanitised, ideally using the fast-drying hand sanitiser, by spraying two doses of a QAC-sanitiser onto a clean piece of paper towel and then liberally applying the sanitiser to the whole length of the probe.
- The sanitiser should be allowed to dry.
- Once sanitised, the probe can then be inserted into the food until the tip of the probe is approximately in the centre (or core) of the food item.
- Tip: The core temperature is the most important temperature to take so do not let the probe tip be positioned too close to any surface of the food items being monitored.
- The probe should be held in this position until the temperature reading stabilises, that is until the numbers on the reading face stop changing.
- Once stabilised, the reading can then be deemed the true internal core temperature of the food item and the temperature should be recorded, with all decimal values, on the respective hot or cold food temperature checklist.
- For all individual food items being checked, points 2) to 5) above should be followed to ensure temperatures are taken hygienically and accurately.
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