Making headlines is a dream come true for any business owner or restaurateur unless it’s for making customers sick due to improper food storage. Preventing critical issues related to safe-holding temperatures in walk-in coolers and freezers is an essential part of keeping food safe. According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, bacteria grows most rapidly between 40 and 140° F (4 and 60°C) and can double in number in just 20 minutes within this temperature range. That’s why keeping food out of the temperature danger zone is extremely important and relies on a steadfast commitment to food safety practices.
The most successful restaurants, convenience stores, and other businesses that sell food use a combination of safety programs, best practices, and newer technology, like IoT, to prevent their products from becoming unsafe due to contamination. Most companies adhere to a systematic process known as HACCP, or Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points.
As its name suggests, HACCP aims to address critical control points in food production that are most at risk for introducing hazards. However, there are many limitations to standard food-safety management procedures, including employee error, minimal data sampling, inaccurate data, and inaccessible records, which we discuss at length in the whitepaper, Better and Faster: Reinventing Food Safety Management with the Internet of Things. In addition, many managers are pressured to do more in less time, and this only makes food safety and data collection more challenging. To make food safety easier and more attainable, here are some best practices for avoiding the food temperature danger zone.
- Install wireless sensors to monitor refrigeration and other temperatures.
So food is always safe, it’s crucial to monitor refrigeration and other temperatures on a 24/7 basis. However, this takes time and energy, which puts a lot of stress on managers and employees. Using wireless sensors that track temperatures to ensure food safety is a game changer. A solution like Open Kitchen goes a step beyond temperature monitoring by capturing and analyzing kitchen equipment data to deliver an end-to-end, on-premises food safety solution.
- Use real-time alerts for walk-in coolers and freezers.
The Meat and Poultry Hotline advises that food should never be left unrefrigerated for more than two hours. So when a walk-in cooler or freezer isn’t working properly, there can be serious consequences. Connected equipment offers alerts that catch failure before it happens. When food is not being stored or prepared at the proper temperatures or for the right amount of time, real-time escalating alerts make employees immediately aware of any problems.
- Rely on automated data collection.
Automation reduces the burden on store managers. With automated data collection, there is no need to step away from the pressing demands of running a restaurant or convenience store to take data samples (a responsibility that can sometimes take hours). Data automation also helps eliminate clerical errors, which can yield inaccuracies in recorded data points.
- Shift from reactive maintenance to proactive maintenance.
Reactive maintenance causes a domino effect that can lead to food shrinkage, unexpected downtime, and a host of other problems. Connected equipment makes it possible to shift from reactive to proactive maintenance by using real-time alerts and digital checklists that make it possible to automate, archive, search and distribute HACCP Food Safety reports.
Curious how connected equipment can help your establishment avoid the food temperature danger zone and keep customers safe? Send an email to one of our experts.