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Is your food business summer safe?

08 January 2024

Did you know that summer is the most common time of the year for food poisoning? Implementing these tips will ensure your business meets food safety standards and guarantee a safe summer for everyone.

While Food Safety should always be top of mind in your food business, the temperature control of potentially hazardous foods is particularly important during the summer months and must be monitored throughout the entire food handling process from preparation to cooking, serving and storage.

Cold and hot food temperatures should be checked daily with a calibrated digital food thermometer to ensure that cold foods are kept under 5 degrees Celsius and hot foods are kept above 60 degrees Celsius. Check the internal temperature of at least 1 food item per storage unit and consider the use of a data logger system if you have several different cold units.

Potentially hazardous foods include raw and cooked meat, small goods, dairy products, seafood, processed fruits and vegetables, cooked rice and pasta, eggs, sandwiches, rolls and pizza.

What you need to know

The Food Standards Australia website has useful information on Food Safety for businesses including fact sheets on topics like:

2-hour / 4-hour rule
Using the 2-hour / 4-hour rule is a good way to keep food that’s taken out of the fridge safe.

Cooling and reheating food
When cooling or reheating food, it’s important to do it right to keep it safe from harmful microorganisms and toxins that can cause food poisoning.

Keeping food at the right temperature
Potentially hazardous food must be kept at certain temperatures to make sure it stays safe to eat.

Displaying food
If your business displays food, it’s important to protect it from contamination and keep it at the right temperature so it stays safe to eat.

Storing food safely
Food businesses must keep food protected from contamination and at the right temperature so it stays safe to eat.

Transporting food safely
If your business transports food, you need to keep food protected from contamination and at the right temperature so it stays safe to eat. 

Cleaning and sanitising
Cleaning and sanitising are important ways to prevent harmful microorganisms or other things contaminating food and making it unsafe to eat.

Remember to calibrate

Calibrate your thermometers
Thermometers must be maintained to an accuracy of at least plus or minus 1ºC and and should be calibrated every 12 months. If there is more than 1 degree difference they should be replaced.

Check your dishwasher
Commercial dishwashers should operate between 49°C and 60°C during the washing cycle and between 82°C and 88°C during rinsing.  Temperatures can be checked using a thermometer or colour indicators. When you get your dishwasher serviced, make sure they check the temperature too.

  • Make sure you are using a dishwasher that can sanitise (using the longest, hottest setting)
  • Make sure that dishes and utensils are rinsed and physically clean prior to going in the dishwasher. Sanitising in a dishwasher is not effective for dirty items
  • Check that the dishwasher is dosing sanitiser correctly
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the right detergent or sanitising chemical. Make sure to understand the difference between detergent and sanitiser (by checking labels)
  • Use clean hands to unpack the dishwasher
  • Clean and service the dishwasher regularly (including filters)
  • Remember that air-drying is best. Avoid using tea towels and store the items in a clean area to prevent contamination

Need more help?

For any questions the Environmental Health Team is able to assist,  phone 5950 1373 or email via the link below.

Regulations and permits

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