Stop Summer Heat from Endangering Food

Hot weather has officially arrived! Great for summer fun, but not so great for summer food.

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Naturally, foodborne illness occurs most in the summer when outdoor dining and events are in full swing, and cold, refreshing foods are a menu staple. We all know about the importance of safe holding temperatures any time of year, but after months of cooler weather, most of us could use a refresher on how quickly hot summer weather can make good food turn bad.

According to the USDA, bacteria grow fastest at temperatures from 90 to 110°F which makes summer weather the perfect breeding ground for food poisoning. recommends no longer than a 1-hour period of food sitting outside without an active cold source. That hour goes fast.

How can you make sure the food you serve is kept safe at all times? An active cold source, whether electric or nonelectric, is a best practice to follow every step of the way, starting at receiving.

Refrigerate right away.

Process food deliveries as quickly as possible, transporting cold, perishable products from receiving to your walk-in or reach-in cooler within one hour.

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Make sure your walk-in is serviced and in tip-top shape for summer and keep the area around evaporators clear to prevent obstruction and ensure proper airflow throughout the cooler. To prevent downtime, spoilage, or both, contact your service agent right away if you notice any temperature inconsistencies, ice build-up, or other concerns. See Is Your Walk-in Haunted? for more on this topic.

Delfield’s Coolscapes with GreenGenius line provides reach-in refrigeration options that increase the capacity and workflow of your kitchen, putting fresh foods right where they’re needed while keeping them safely out of dangerous heat. Coolscapes reach-in’s offer exclusive features like full integral door length handles, self-closing doors up to 90˚, LED interior light, easy-to-read electronic display, and the GreenGenius reach-in refrigeration system that helps preserve the environment, save energy, and decrease utility costs.

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To help you configure your reach-in to fit your space and operational needs, Delfield offers a variety of sizes designed to maximize storage space while minimizing footprint.

Keep it chilled on the go.

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Mobile commercial refrigeration units are the perfect solution for holding cold foods and transporting from central kitchens or commissaries, an application that puts too much stress on stationary or reach-in models with casters not designed for transport. FWE refrigerated transport cabinets are built tough to easily handle the demands of transport, making them ideal for satellite operations, on-site catered events, and backup cold holding for buffets and cafeterias. With excellent “pull-down” times that are required to reach safe operating conditions, they feature extra insulation to hold cold temperatures and protect perishables wherever they travel, from hot kitchen to transport vehicle to serving location.

Non-electric Cambro insulated transporters help maintain safe temperatures for at least four hours, whether for cold food or hot food. This versatility makes them a valuable investment year-round. To ensure maximum temperature retention, make sure gaskets, latches, hinges, door pins, and venting caps are clean, in place, and in good working condition. Pre-chilling transporters before loading is recommended for best results and to extend cold holding time.

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Commercial grade re-usable chiller plates like the Cambro Camchiller provide an extra line of defense against cold loss. The Camchiller can be used to pre-chill Cambro carriers or carts before loading, maximize cold food holding by using with chilled food, and minimize temperature gain when door is opened and closed.

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Prior to use, freeze the Camchiller flat for 8 hours. To pre-chill a carrier or cart, slide a frozen Camchiller (or a full-sized, uncovered pan of ice water) onto the top rails and close the door for 15-30 minutes. If you use the Chiller during transport and holding, be sure to move it down to the lowest open rail as pans are removed to minimize open space and maximize performance.

Lastly, if you have the space in your walk-in, it’s also effective to pre-chill transporters in your walk-in overnight with doors open or lids off.

Serve safely.

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ColdFest Pans are ideal for use in Versa Salad Bars and buffets, or to help keep condiments and creamers chilled on service counters or outdoor events. ColdFest pans and crocks have an impact-resistant shell filled with non-toxic refrigerant gel to help keep cold foods cold. Prior to use, freeze ColdFest upside down overnight and fill with pre-chilled foods to keep contents cold for hours. Clear, flat covers are available to help prevent cross contamination while keeping contents visible and accessible.

Buffet Camchillers can be used in a variety of serving applications to support cold food temperatures. This ingenious device can be flipped one direction to act as both a chiller and a riser for a 2″ deep food pan so it’s level with the rail or flipped the other direction to snugly hold a 4″ deep food pan, all without the hassle or mess of ice. Like other Camchillers, freeze Buffet Camchillers overnight prior to use.

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This summer is coming in hot, and it’s not letting up any time soon. Whether you’re dealing with urgent operational needs to keep cold food safe, or you’re planning ahead for fall and back to school (more important than ever this year), help is just a click away. Contact us.