A super power that most Jamaican seems to possess is the ability to test the temperature of foods with their bare hands. Quite often one would use the back of their hand to test how hot a bottle of feed is or how cold the temperature in the refrigerator is. Funny! But it’s the truth. Despite this practice may not cause tremendous harm in the home setting, when practiced by food service operators it could result in catastrophic health effects on the Jamaican population.
The temperature of food can only be tested correctly by the use of a thermometer. Using a thermometer to monitor the temperature of foods while you process, store and distribute them will give you a clear insight of what is happening to the food. Most food service operators constantly ignore the importance of this instrument in their day to day operation and repeatedly abuse the temperature of the food they prepare.
According to the Centre of Disease Control and prevention, two of the top five risk factors responsible for causing food-borne illness involve temperature control. The risk factors are improper hot/cold holding temperatures of potentially hazardous food and improper cooking temperatures of food. Therefore, when negligence is practiced and food is left out in the danger zone, microorganism will start to multiple in the food and rendering the food unsafe.
The range of temperatures that fall between 4.4 degree Celsius and 63.7 degree Celsius are what the food service industry refers to as the danger zone. Food service operators must minimize the amount of time foods are left at these temperatures to prevent food-borne illnesses. The rule of thumb to always remember is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
As it relates to the thermometer, they are numerous types. However, the two most commonly used types are the probe and the infrared thermometer. The probe thermometer is a thermometer that has a pointy metal stem that can be inserted into food. Use a probe thermometer to check internal food temperatures when you cook, re-heat, cool thaw and keep foods hot or cold. While the infrared thermometer that takes the temperature of the food without coming in contact with the food. Therefore, only the surface temperature of the food that will be obtained.
During a food premises inspection, a thermometer is one device a food service operator is expected to have. This will enable him or her to do their own temperature monitoring of the food they are preparing, as they will be expected to fill out the temperature log of each food prepared. This document is very crucial in an inspection, since the Public Health Inspector will be checking it to asses the safety of the food being sold.
Do you sometimes eat food that is at room temperature? Leave your comments below.