Most companies cool hot food properly, but some infringements were found during inspections in Denmark.
The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen) examined whether shops, restaurants and caterers control the refrigeration and cooling process and its management.
Overall, 91 percent of sites with unannounced visits knew how to cool hot foods. However, problems were noted in the remaining 9%, including too slow cooling of heat-treated foods and failure to follow procedures.
“Every year we see epidemics caused by the slow cooling of heat-treated foods. When this happens, it is more often than not because the company produced large portions that did not cool quickly enough. Therefore, it is important that the amount of hot food matches the capacity of the cold room, ”said Ulrich Pinstrup, from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration.
Importance of cooling
Although proper heating kills most bacteria, Clostridium perfringens and Bacillus cereus can survive high temperatures and form toxins if they grow at favorable temperatures, such as lukewarm foods or items left at room temperature too long time.
Heat-treated foods need a rapid cooling process, followed by storage at refrigerator temperature. Proper refrigeration is crucial to prevent the growth of bacteria and the formation of toxins in food.
Over 1000 companies were visited from March to August as part of the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration campaign. A total of 103 companies received penalties and re-inspections for which they had to pay for breaking the rules.
The action looked at the handling and ability of companies to refrigerate heat-treated foods, checked their risk analysis and written self-control procedures for refrigeration, comparing them to what happens in practice, and a introduced a digital tool available on the agency’s website that helps with temperature and time combinations when cooling food.
Several companies were unaware of the possible consequences that improper or insufficient refrigeration can have and what they need to do to produce safe food.
The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration also uses social media to advise consumers on how to avoid food poisoning during the holiday season.
Washing hands before cooking, properly heating food, and keeping raw meat away from ready-to-eat foods such as salad are some of the tips the agency posts on Facebook and Instagram in December.
Taking the advice can especially help young people who have not heard the advice before and older generations who have forgotten it to avoid infection with Salmonella or norovirus.
“Unfortunately, every year we see many people getting sick from the food they eat in December and January. Probably because many people at home in their kitchens forget some of the basic hygiene tips when they are very busy and have to cook for many people, ”said Niels Ladefoged Nielsen, consultant for the Veterinary and Food Administration. Danish.
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