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Properly use and take care of your restaurant thermometers

Properly use and take care of your restaurant thermometers

Time and temperature control is imperative to your restaurant’s food safety efforts. Keeping TCS food out of the temperature danger zone reduces pathogen growth, which is a key point when building a culture of food safety in your business.

To remove any guesswork from your temperature tracking, monitor diligently with thermometers. Before recording a temperature, allow 15 seconds after you insert the device’s stem into the thickest part of food. To get an accurate reading, always calibrate, or adjust, thermometers at these times:

  • After they’ve been bumped or dropped
  • After they’ve been exposed to extreme temperature changes
  • Before deliveries arrive
  • Before each shift

There are two ways to calibrate a thermometer:

  • Boiling point method: involves adjusting the thermometer to the temperature at which water boils (212° F [100° C], depending on elevation)
  • Ice-point method: involves adjusting the thermometer to the temperature at which water freezes (32° F [0° C]) and can be conducted in an ice slurry (equal parts water and crushed ice)

Some thermometers can’t be calibrated, which means you must dispose of and replace them. Others may need to be sent back to the manufacturer for calibration. Consult the manufacturers’ guidelines for the best method.

Thermometers are considered food-contact surfaces. Remember to wash, rinse, sanitize with a solution specifically for food-contact surfaces, and air-dry these devices as well as their respective storage cases before and after use. Avoid using glass thermometers, as they can contaminate food if they break; if you must use a glass thermometer, enclose it in a shatterproof casing.

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