Refrigeration Equipment: The Role It Plays in Food Safety

Like if this guide is helpful
Refrigeration Equipment: The Role It Plays in Food Safety

Food safety is important for any restaurant, caterer, or other food service company. Proper care and handling can prevent food poisoning, which in severe cases can be fatal. The Food Standards Agency estimates that there are more than 1 million cases of food poisoning every day, resulting in 20,000 hospitalisations and 500 deaths. These incidents cost the economy £1.5 billion each year. One of the keys to proper food handling and safety is refrigeration: keeping food cold mitigates the growth and spread of harmful bacteria.

Restaurants, caterers, and other food service companies have a variety of options when it comes to choosing refrigeration equipment. However, they should also understand which options best suit their needs and what features to look for. Business owners who wish to purchase industrial and commercial refrigeration units can visit eBay, which has a large selection and great deals to suit the needs of all food professionals.

Food Safety

Handling food safely is important for health reasons, but there are also legal standards for food safety. Food service establishments are subject to inspection by government authorities to ensure compliance with these standards.

Legal Standards for Food Safety

It is important to keep up to date with the legal standards for food handling. For example, the government stipulates that cold food must be stored at a temperature of 8 degrees Celsius or below. Listeria, a rare but particularly harmful bacterial source of food poisoning, has been linked to cold ready-to-eat foods, so these should be stored at a temperature of 5 degrees Celsius or below. This is because listeria can grow even in refrigeration temperatures.

Maximising Food Safety

There are other processes that can maximise food safety. For example, always store foods immediately, rather than leaving them out. If receiving a large delivery of food, check the temperature of the items on arrival and if it is not within acceptable parameters, reject it. Raw meat should be stored separately from other goods or kept on the lower levels of refrigeration units to prevent dripping onto non-meat products. Red meat can be stored above poultry, but never the other way around. After packaging is open, always place food in covered containers for storage.

Storage Time for Refrigerated Food

Foods have a maximum recommended storage time. Use the guidelines in the table below to determine the maximum storage time in the refrigerator for meats.

Uncooked Food

Storage Time (days)

Cooked Food

Storage Time (days)

Large cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork)

3

Large cuts of meat (beef, pork, lamb)

2

Chicken (whole or portions)

2

Chicken (stuffed or non-stuffed)

2

Steaks and chops

2

Ham

2

Bacon rashers

7

Casseroles

2

Cubed or minced meat

1

Meat pies

1

Offal (liver, heart, kidneys)

1

Sliced meats

2

Sausages

3

Pâté

2

Refrigerate food as soon as possible to preserve its shelf life. Also rotate stock frequently so that the kitchen staff can reach the products that must be used first easily. Make a note of use by dates each time something is removed from storage.

Types of Refrigeration Equipment

There is a wide variety of refrigeration equipment and the appropriate model to buy depends largely on the needs of the kitchen. Upright refrigerators provide a great deal of space, but refrigerated prep stations and under the counter models are better when space is limited. Other options include display cases, back bar refrigerators, and cold rooms.

Upright Refrigerators

Upright refrigerators come in many different forms, from single door to more spacious double door models. When space is limited, but an upright is still the best option, look for slimline models that are narrower than traditional units. Models with castors are essential for mobility and makes cleaning the refrigerator and rearranging a kitchen easy.

Refrigerated Prep Stations

Refrigerated prep stations make it much easier to cook and prepare food by placing everything close at hand. A prep station is great for pizza or sandwich shops because small amounts of fresh vegetables and other ingredients can be kept chilled, but still within easy reach and refilled from supplies below the counter as needed. These refrigerators come in a variety of lengths to suit any setting and can support a variety of tray configurations.

Under Counter Refrigerated Storage

Under counter refrigerated storage can make the most of limited space. It comes in a variety of lengths. Some extra low models are even designed to sit underneath kitchen worktops to keep supplies close at hand. Check the maximum weight supported by these counters and look for features such as castors and lockable drawers.

Display Cases

Display cases are a convenient way to display ready-to-eat foods that must be kept cold. Multi-shelf models make it easy to display plenty of products, but check the capacity to ensure it meets the needs of the business. Also look at the lighting to make sure the products are lit well to make them more appealing.

Back Bar Refrigerators

Back bar refrigerators are great for storing cold drinks. They have glass doors that make it easy to see exactly what is in stock and how many of each item is left.

Cold Rooms

Walk-in cold rooms are essential when a larger amount of storage is needed. They vary in size and require a more complex installation than other refrigerator models. However, they can be the most efficient solution for some food service businesses. When investing in a cold room, check space requirements and any other applicable issues.

Factors to Consider when Buying Refrigeration Equipment

There are many factors to consider when buying refrigeration equipment. Buyers should spend some time working out a budget and ensure that they buy a model that adheres to the legal food standards.

Budget for Refrigeration Equipment

Firstly, buyers should set a budget and determine exactly what items they need and how much they can afford to pay for each item. Consider buying used or refurbished equipment to save money when funds are limited.

Food Safety for Refrigeration Equipment

The refrigeration equipment must be in line with current or future food safety and environmental regulations. If the regulations are about to change in the near future, it may be better to invest in new appliances that meet these requirements rather than having to replace outdated models after a short time.

Temperature for Refrigeration Equipment

All foods have different storage requirements, so rarely is there a universal solution. When resources are limited, look for a refrigeration unit able to maintain temperatures below 5 degrees Celsius. Also pay attention to the environmental temperature and verify that the refrigerator can function in temperatures up to 43 degrees Celsius. Look for an automatic defrosting feature for greater convenience.

All refrigeration equipment needs to have an easily readable display to indicate the current temperature inside. A digital display is the best option as it is immediately readable and difficult to ignore. It is also possible to buy thermometers to add to the equipment.

Appearance of Refrigeration Equipment

The finish of the refrigeration equipment is also important. The best quality models are made from stainless steel or heat-reflecting aluminium. The equipment should also have a tight seal and rounded corners on the interior for easy cleaning. Check the dimensions of the unit and make sure it fits within the allotted space. There should be sufficient room for air to circulate, which is important for the best performance.

How to Buy Refrigeration Equipment on eBay

You can locate all the refrigeration equipment that you need on the online auction site eBay. To start browsing the items available, just enter a keyword, such as "upright refrigeration" in the search box on the home page or any other page on the site. eBay displays all of the products that match the description. Use the product filters see the most relevant listings. The filters can specify a price range or condition, whether new or used.

Helpful Tips for Shopping on eBay

If you already know exactly which refrigeration equipment you want, find it quickly by taking advantage of the advance search feature. This lets you select how keywords are used and specify other criteria. You can also visit the eBay Help Centre to learn more about making the most of advanced search. Feel free to contact a seller if you have any queries about a potential purchase using the "Ask a question" feature. It also helps to research the product and the seller before buying. Check review sites and look at an eBay seller's feedback history to see what previous buyers have said about their experiences. You can also learn more about how feedback works in the eBay Help Centre.

Conclusion

Refrigeration equipment is an essential for maintaining food safety. To minimise the growth of listeria, a particularly harmful bacteria, food must be kept below 8 degrees Celsius, but 5 degrees Celsius is preferable. There is a variety of refrigeration equipment to choose from, including upright units, preps stations, display cases, and back bar refrigerators. Cold rooms are beneficial if there is a substantial amount of space. Each type has its own purposes and benefits, so buyers need to consider their requirements carefully.

Pay close attention to regulations for food safety and environmental friendliness, but also look at the temperature the units can maintain and what temperatures they can operate in. Buyers may choose to purchase stainless steel or aluminium designs. It is important to ensure that there is plenty of room for air to circulate around the unit. When it comes to choosing a place to shop eBay is a great choice, with a variety of new and used refrigeration equipment and great deals.

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides