Keeping your food refrigerated will help to slow the growth of bacteria and allow it to stay fresh longer. They grow most rapidly in temperatures over 40 degrees but under 140, and can even double in just twenty minutes. To help keep your food safe in your Tampa commercial refrigeration, the temperature should be below 40 degrees
Different Bacteria Types
There are two separate families of bacteria. The pathogenic, causing foodborne illness and spoilage, which causes food to break down. Pathogenic bacteria grow fast in temps 40-140F, but don’t usually affect the smell, taste or texture of food. With spoilage, you may see mold, have a bad smell, or it may look off. You will not want to, but you could likely eat spoiled food and not get sick.
Safety vs. Quality
Food left on the counter too long can be dangerous to eat while looking great. Food that has been left too long in the freezer or refrigerator may not get you sick but doesn’t taste or look good. Also, Listeria monocytogenes can multiply in cold temperatures and will cause illness.
Safe Fridge Temps
One of the best ways to ensure your food is safe is to keep your refrigerator system at 40 degrees and below. If you do not have a thermometer to check the temp, get one separate from your fridge, so you know. If food has been left warmer than 40 degrees for over a couple of hours, it is not safe for consumption. If you have lost power, check the temp of your fridge or freezer and if it is below 40 degrees, you will not have to replace the food. If it has gotten too warm, you may have to start over. If you need to defrost manually, then make sure to store your food in coolers with thermometers safely, so you know they are at the correct temp.
Food Handling Safety
You can put hot food in the fridge or chill with an ice/water bath before. Once cooled, cover and place in the refrigerator. Large bowls of soup or stew and large cuts of meat should be broken down into smaller portions for refrigeration. You also need to think about how you store the food in your fridge. You need to put raw poultry, fish, and meat in sealed containers on the bottom shelf, so you do not end up with cross contamination. You should also make use of any special features like a crisper or meat/cheese drawer. These are designed to give optimal storage for these foods and will help you enjoy their taste longer. Keep shelves and drawers clean with Tampa commercial refrigeration and make sure to label all your food with dates.