Temperature is a powerful weapon food handlers have to keep food safe. Most foodborne illnesses are caused by temperature abuse, such as improper storage in the refrigerator or hot holding in steam tables at improper temperatures.

How to Calibrate your Thermometer

It’s important to make sure your thermometers are accurate. Calibration will ensure this. Thermometers should be calibrated regularly, especially after any extreme temperature change or if it has been dropped.

Thermometers may be calibrated by one of two methods.

Ice Water:
To calibrate, place the thermometer in the center of a bath of ice and water slush (a 50 – 50 mix), making sure the tip does not touch the sides or bottom. Wait until the needle is steady and then turn the calibration nut to adjust the unit until the thermometer reads 0°Celsius (32°Fahrenheit).

Boiling Water:
Be careful to use an oven mitt to avoid burns. Place the thermometer in boiling water until the needle is steady. Adjust calibration nut until the thermometer reads 100°Celsius (212°Fahrenheit).

And remember, as with all equipment, thermometers need to be cleaned and sanitized between each use.

Temperature Requirements for Hazardous Foods

ProcessDescriptionTemperature
Cold holdingKeep cold foods coldfour degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit) or below
Hot holdingKeep hot foods hot60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) or above
CookingMinimum internal cooking temperatures:
Whole poultry82 degrees Celsius (180 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 seconds
Poultry pieces, ground poultry, stuffing in poultry74 degrees Celsius (165 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 seconds
Food mixtures containing poultry, egg, meat, fish or other hazardous foods (soup, stew, stock, casserole, gravy)74 degrees Celsius (165 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 seconds
Pork, cured ham71 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 seconds
Ground meat, meat mixtures (burgers, sausages, meatballs, meatloaf, casseroles)71 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 seconds
Fish, shellfish70 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 seconds
Other hazardous foods (leftovers, hot dogs)74 degrees Celsius (165 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 seconds
CoolingAll food: improper cooling is the most frequent cause of foodborne illness. Divide into small portions to speed cooling.60 to 20 degrees Celsius (140 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit) within two hours. Then, put it in the cooler. Cool from 20 to four degrees Celsius (68 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit) within four hours in the cooler.
ReheatingReheat quicklyReheat to the original cooking temperature outlined above.

Keep foods out of the danger zone (four to 60°Celsius).

Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

March 6th, 2014