Family Meal Kits – Do Them Safely

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and we are all thankful for our health, continued hope for the future, and especially thankful that 2020 is almost over!!

Make sure your Family Meal Kits are properly cooked AND cooled!!
Probably the biggest growth in your restaurants sale mix are To-Go and Family Meal Kits. To Go orders off your regular menu are usually cooked to order, and sent hot or cold. As long as your team follows the proper cooking temps, etc, there is minimal risk to food safety.

Family Meal kits have become much more in demand at holiday times such as Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years. Since there is cooking, cooling and customer reheating, there is a greater risk to food safety.
It is extremely important that the critical temps in cooking are met or exceeded. Usually, ovens and pans re packed more tightly or may not be fully defrosted, and may not allow items such as Turkey to reach at least 165 deg (If you are not aware of this critical temp, please register for an upcoming ServSafe class!!!)

Cooling is a key component of making sure you do not get whole families sick. Foods must be cooled within specific time frames to minimize pathogenic bacteria growth. Foods must go from 135 to 70 within 2 hours, then from 70 to 41 in 4 more hours. That 135 to 70 is critical because that is the zone that pathogenic bacteria have the most growth. You must be careful, because walkins and reachins may have trouble keeping proper temps when overloaded. Make sure your operation is using proper ways to cool foods..

Monitoring & Documenting temps is a smart way to ensure temps are being met. When cooking, each item in the oven needs to be temped – not ‘looks cooked’ or checking the turkey in the front. The same goes for cooling. Checking the turkey on the outside of a pan that has the most air exposure ignores the inner foods.

Document these critical temps. Email me if you would like some form templates, but documenting your temps lets your team know that the crtical temps have been met, and if adjustments need to be done to your system, you can make them.

Lastly – include a note with each kit that outlines how to properly and safely reheat their meals.
Hopefully, you will receive great comments from your guests that the whole family was stuffed after their meal… and stayed that way.

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