One of the most common causes of foodborne illnesses is negligence regarding temperature control. Either food is not cooked to the right level in order to remove any existing and dangerous bacteria, or it is left to sit within the "danger zone" for too long - between 40 and 140 Fahrenheit. The danger zone typically occurs when food is not cooked to the recommended minimum temperature internally, not held at the correct temperature while waiting to be plated, or is not cooled and reheated properly.
The longer food sits within the temperature danger zone, the more time there is for pathogens to grow, multiplying the chance for foodborne illness. In order to reduce the amount of risk surrounding food in a fast-paced enterprise, it's crucial to have an effective temperature monitoring system in place at all times. But how can you determine what you need in your system, and whether the available resources you're considering are up to standard?
Finding a Comprehensive Solution
The first thing to recognize, before we cover which tools your temperature monitoring system should include, is that a comprehensive approach to food safety doesn't mean simply investing in a thermometer and nothing else. Today, technological innovations have been created to help you monitor your food service constantly, ensuring that the risk of illness thanks to bad temperature control is limited.
Your temperature monitoring system should therefore include a range of the following items.
1. Real-time Temperature Monitoring Tools
Since you can't be everywhere at once, your temperature monitoring system should include tools that allow you to monitor the temperatures throughout your kitchen, in freezers, fridges, and coolers, constantly. Those systems also need to record the data that they collect, so you can watch over the way your kitchen runs, and reduce the risk that partially thawed food allows for dangerous bacteria to grow.
2. A Temperature Probe
Temperature probes make up a basic, yet essential part of all temperature monitoring systems. The best bet is to go for one that is wireless - as this will give you the freedom to move quickly around your kitchen, without causing a safety hazard. If you can integrate your temperature probe with an application on your phone or computer that records information for you, then this could also be a way to protect your food-based business from undercooked-food accusations.
3. A Food Temperature App
Today, you don't need to manage the mess of paper checklists that get covered in food, torn, or crumpled within the kitchen. There are plenty of apps available that you can sync with the various tools throughout your kitchen, including your probe, and real-time temperature monitoring tools. These apps allow for data to be recorded instantly, which means you have more time to focus on making incredible food.
4. Cloud Storage
No matter the business, today it is more important than ever to protect your data from unexpected disaster. That's where the cloud comes in - allowing you to automatically upload updated information into a secure bank, where you can access it from any location with nothing more than a username and password.
Preferably, your cloud storage should sync automatically with the other technological apps you're using throughout your kitchen, as this will promote a more efficient overalls system.
Don't Underestimate Your Responsibility
Running a kitchen is hard work, and it requires a great deal of focus, dedication, and quick-thinking. However, just because you have a lot to think about, doesn't mean that you'll be let off the hook if you fail to monitor temperatures properly. It's your responsibility to provide the tools and training your staff need to monitor temperature throughout the kitchen space.
The more user-friendly and connected your temperature monitoring system of choice is, the quicker your team will be able to adapt to it, meaning that they can spend more time focusing on the things that matter, and helping your company to thrive.