The storage and display of certain foods at inadequate temperatures (especially for extended periods) can result to foodborne illnesses. After all, inadequate temperatures can result to rapid and sustained growth of bacteria that causes food poisoning.
A common practice is to keep cold food at temperatures 5℃ and below. For foods that are intended to be frozen, they should be kept frozen during both the storage period and display. Large deviations in temperatures can cause sufficient numbers of bacteria to grow and spoil the food.
Why sight and odour are unreliable
What makes food poisoning somehow still prevalent is that potentially hazardous foods often have a normal smell and appearance. For instance, chicken has been identified as a source of salmonella bacteria. However, the bacteria don’t affect the chicken’s appearance and odour. Although salmonella bacteria are easily destroyed by heat, the high presence of these microbes on the kitchen can make you question the integrity of the company delivering or selling the chicken to you.
It’s a similar case in canned foods wherein Clostridium botulinum produces a tasteless and yet a deadly toxin. In other words, our human senses are not enough to protect us and our customers from foodborne illnesses. We need something more reliable and consistent so that we can ensure the integrity of our food (including meat, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, seafood, prepared salads, raw salad vegetables, cooked rice and pasta, protein-rich foods).
Preventing food poisoning through tight temperature control
Foodborne illnesses can come from many sources (see the list of foods mentioned above). As a result, the effects could be disastrous and just one incident can drastically reduce the sales of a certain product (and even affect an entire industry).
For example, in NSW alone the agricultural producers’ gross value of production (GVP) was $10.8 billion in 2011-12. Expect this number to have increased and will continue to get higher because of increased domestic consumption and proximity to Asian markets (nearby Asian countries get richer which drives further consumption). As a result, ensuring the integrity of foods through tight temperature control is becoming more important as time goes on.
Although there’s a “safety allowance” for foods to remain safe even when held out in the “temperature danger zone,” it’s always good to ensure tight temperature control especially during transit. Delays can prolong the exposure of food to the temperature danger zone (e.g. must not be longer than 4 hours).
That’s why here at Cooltrans, we ensure tight temperature control and minimise delays. In case of delays and unforeseen circumstances, we can deploy a backup vehicle or fleet so that the goods will still arrive on time. We accomplish this by monitoring the vehicles through GPS and keeping backup vehicles on standby.
Although temperature control is just one factor for maintaining food safety and integrity, it’s a very important one if you want your business to remain strong and reputable. Also, it’s for the safety of your customers so they can truly enjoy the food whether it’s a regular workday or a major celebration.