An important factor in ensuring food safety is effective temperature control through both heating and cooling. Current legislation from the Food Standard Agency states that:
Cold Foods must be kept at 8°C or below. This is a legal requirement in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland food must also be kept cold.
Hot Foods must be kept at 63°C or above. This is a legal requirement throughout the UK.
When you reheat food, make sure that it is piping hot all the way through. In Scotland, there is a legal requirement for reheated foods to reach at least 82°C.
Additionally: When you are serving or displaying food, you can keep it out of temperature control for a limited period of time: Cold foods can be kept above 8°C for up to four hours. You should only do this once. If any food is left after this time, you should throw it away or keep it chilled at 8°C or below until it is used.
Hot foods can be kept below 63°C for up to two hours. You should only do this once. If any food is left after this time, you should throw it away, reheat it to 63°C or above, or cool it as quickly as possible to 8°C or below. Remember to keep the food at a safe temperature until it is used. Remember you should only do this if you need to and it is very important not to keep food out of temperature control for longer than these times.
As you can see from these requirements being able to keep food at an appropriate and controlled temperature is a very important issue. To achieve this it is important that you have good quality and well maintained refrigeration and cold storage equipment. New equipment and servicing may sound like an expensive proposition but it is an investment well worth making, when you consider the cost to your company and reputation should you be involved in a food safety issue. It is also worth considering the potential loss of stock should an old unreliable freezer or refrigerator breakdown. New refrigeration equipment is also more energy efficient helping both the environment and your profit margin.