Are your commercial refrigerators or freezers holding food at appropriate temperatures? If you don’t store food at the right temperature, it could enter the danger zone and potentially contain foodborne pathogens.
Reach-in refrigerator installation and food-safe temperatures
The purpose of commercial refrigerator installation is to provide a space to keep foods at cooler temperatures to slow down the growth of bacteria. They’re ideal for perishable foods like produce and cooked meats.
The average operating temperature for a commercial refrigerator (whether reach-in or walk-in) should stay between 35°F and 38°F. If temperatures fall below this range, you run the risk of freezing food that shouldn’t be frozen, like milk or dairy products. If temperatures reach above this range, the food could enter the danger zone, i.e., a temperature range between 40°F and 140°F where dangerous bacteria, including campylobacter, E. coli, salmonella enteritidis and staphylococcus aureus, multiply incredibly quickly.
You should never let food linger in this temperature range, since the food could spoil and cause foodborne illness. This applies to leftover food, too, since bacteria still grows on food even after it’s cooked.
You and any employees working at your business need to monitor temperatures regularly to ensure food never enters the danger zone in terms of temperature. Always shut the door to the unit when you’re not using it, since this leads to instant cooling loss.
Keep in mind that the bigger the refrigeration unit you have, the longer it takes to stabilize temperatures. If you’re planning to adjust the temperature of the unit, wait a full day, and check for an appropriate temperature before storing food inside.
Walk-in freezer installation and food-safe temperatures
Unlike a commercial refrigerator, which only slows the growth of bacteria, a commercial freezer is meant to halt the growth of bacteria completely. Different types of freezers should be set at different temperatures, and your installation technician will be sure to discuss safe operating temperatures with you. Here are the general guidelines:
- Reach-in freezers: Between -10°F and 5°F
- Walk-in freezers: Between -10°F and 0°F
- Ice cream freezers: Between -20°F and -10°F
The wrong temperatures impact food safety for frozen foods, too. You also need to account for food quality by preventing freezer burn. Freezer-burned foods lose their color, aroma, flavor and even texture—it’s completely unappetizing. Freezer burn occurs when food is exposed to too much frost or air as it sits in the freezer. Make sure you’re properly storing your food and that your freezer is running efficiently; otherwise, you run the risk of turning your inventory into wasted profit potential. Keep the freezer door closed, and you’ll avoid temperature fluctuations that can spoil food.
Want to know more about commercial refrigerator or walk-in freezer installation? If your current unit isn’t performing as well as it should, contact American Refrigeration Inc today. We’re the top choice for commercial refrigeration installation and repair, ensuring worry-free operation and protecting your inventory.