Management of holding times is imperative for food safety. But, in a high-volume, busy food production area, safe holding in the kitchen can be difficult to control.
Here are some ways to set up the design and layout of your production areas so that you have a practical and realistic flow of products during processing, which will help minimize the amount of time products reside in the danger zone.
Time and Temperature Monitoring and Control
Time and temperature monitoring and control are particularly important when foods are in your production area. Create an effective safety plan by taking some time during a busy production day and observing the handling of products.
Consider these factors when making your observations:
Is your staff effectively batch-processing items to minimize time-temperature control for safety (TCS) products in the ‘danger zone?’
Review your prep procedures and equipment needs for each recipe along with the amount of time ingredients will need to be in the danger zone. Factor in the temperatures that must be achieved at each step. Then, consider whether an equipment change or simple rearrangement will minimize out-of-temperature holding times.
If necessary, include temporary cold-holding areas in your design and layout and, if needed, hot-holding areas as well. It is important to maintain as short as possible distances between refrigeration and hot-holding. This minimizes the inclination of staff to remove large quantities of products out of refrigeration and bring them into their preparation areas.
Handling of Utensils
Holding or in-process times and temperatures should also be maintained for utensils. As you observe your production processes, consider how long a piece of equipment is “contaminated” before it is washed and sanitized again.
How are your production utensils being held? Are they contaminated and allowed to reside in the danger zone for extended periods of time only to be “washed off” by manipulating another product? Control the time they reside in the danger zone and switch them out at least every four hours.
Guest Buffet Utensils
Utensils on your buffet will need much more frequent change-outs and tighter controls given the number of guests that are potentially handling and/or mishandling them. If you change the utensil, change the utensil rest as well.
With these suggestions, you can use your powers of observation to ensure you have a handle on food safety in your busy production environment.
At Johnston, we hold food safety as our highest priority within the Food Service industry. We consider food holding time and temperature, as well as contamination, to provide customized products to help address these issues. Our heritage means years of accumulated industry knowledge, the ability to see the bigger picture, and the know-how to determine the best possible approach. Combining this mastery with the drive to deliver exceptional results, Johnston goes beyond sales, developing strategic, end-to-end tailored solutions for each customer since 1881.
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