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In order to kill bacteria completely, food needs to be heated to set levels. As a general guide food must be heated to a core temperature of 75 degrees C for at least 2 minutes, this also applies when re-heating food in order to make sure all bacteria has been killed.

With the temperature of food, there is a danger zone located between 5 degrees C and 63 degrees C. Within this area is where rapid bacterial growth occurs.

When freezing food at minus 18 degrees C the bacteria remain dormant, as the food slowly warms to around 0 degrees C there is slow growth of bacteria or none at all. As we get above 5 degrees C we reach the danger zone and this reaches its height at 37 degrees C, once we reach 63 degrees C we leave the danger zone, however, small amounts of growth can occur but most start to die, at 75 degrees C most are killed and above 100°c all bacteria are dead.

In order to make sure we maintain food at the correct store food at the correct temperature, we need to make sure all the equipment is well maintained and any records kept correctly.

If you notice any problems with equipment this should be reported to your manager immediately. Fridges should be kept clean and doors kept closed at all time, we also need to make sure cookers are kept clean and well maintained and kept in service in line with the manufactures recommendations.

There are general rules when using refrigerators; high-risk foods should be kept at the top, low-risk food kept lower down such as raw meats. Report any problems with temperatures exceeding 5 degrees C or if you notice any damaged seals.

The stock should be rotated with the oldest being used first, make sure food is always covered and do not store opened cans of food instead use plastic bowls and Clingfilm to cover the food, don’t leave the refrigerator door open and do not overload the fridge.

Never put hot food into a refrigerator, you must cool down food as quickly as possible but make sure this process is done in less than 90 minutes, over this time can cause an increase in bacterial growth, which can directly impact the food.