A recent frequent DoH violation is on equipment temperatures. Are your thermometers doing the right thing? Are they the right type? Why do they always seem to disappear from the reachins??
Thermometers are required to be in EACH refrigeration unit, and are to be easily found and readable. These should be monitored to make sure the unit is keeping your foods below 41deg. Too frequently, they are not there, just the hook is left, the dial or tube is loose and cannot give a proper reading. Most commonly, if there is a thermometer, it is crammed somewhere in the back and is found after a few minutes searching.
A great idea that keeps the thermometers in reachins from having the same fate as above is to get a tube thermometer with suction cups! An example is made by Taylor. These are available from our great suppliers here in Hawaii. Suction cup them to the inside of the door near the hinge side. It will likely not get pushed aside or fall off when the door gets closed.
Built in and stand-alone thermometers are not known for their accuracy. It is great when a new unit has a dial or digital display, but they can easily become inaccurate. You can calibrate your pocket Thermometer, but not so for mounted dial or digitals. I recently visited a facility that was great about keeping the walkin temp log – 40-41 degrees down the line. But when we checked the food and air temps, they were all in the mid 40’s. They were using a clip on dial thermometer, and it was showing 40deg. After sitting in the kitchen for 30 minutes, it was still showing 40deg!!! So, now I recommend to have 2 thermometers in each unit. When they both agree, that is the actual temp.
A tip for line drawers is to keep 1 section with a small pan to hold a thermometer. This way, you don’t have to get down on the ground to check the temp.
Hot Water Sanitizing dishmachines have to meet a minimum of 160deg at the plate on a rack that goes thru the machine. Generally, the temp that you will see on the final rinse dial is in the 180deg range, which would allow the temp at the plate to reach 160. These dials and displays can be notoriously out of range. There are T strips that turn a different color when a certain temp is reached, but they can become pricy, and do not show the exact temperature.
Most kitchens and Chefs use a digital pocket thermometer that is waterproof. Most have a high temp hold function. This mode is usually entered by holding down 1 or 2 buttons – check out the thermometers instructions or website. There is also a high temp recording disk. Place it on a rack, run it thru the machine, and the actual temp shows – Very Cool!! (as shown from ThermoWorks)
Benefits of knowing the exact temp of the rinse cycle is knowing that your dishes are being properly sanitized, and if the water is TOO hot, you can have the booster temp turned down, saving a few bucks in power and wear and tear on the booster. A good temp for your dishmachine is in the mid to upper 160’s. This higher temp allows for when the water temp drops during heavy use.
To set up a Food Safety Audit, please contact Peter Bellisario via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (808)491-7766. As always, Hawaii Restaurant Association members are eligible for a discount on our already reasonable fees.