We know a thing or two about monitoring the temperature of cold holding units, and here’s a key lesson we’ve learned: don’t take anything at face value.
Or, as the Russian proverb embraced by former President Ronald Regan says: “Trust, but verify.”
Many of our customers opt for our wireless temperature monitoring equipment for convenience reasons: it means they no longer have to manually check and record the temperature gauge on their coolers and freezers. Our devices capture that information automatically and generate an alert if temperatures fall out of spec.
That doesn’t stop restaurants from relying on built-in temperature gauges, however. That reliance can turn problematic. At one barbecue restaurant we know, the gauge on their walk-in cooler indicated 37°F during an inspection. Yet when the inspector walked in and took the temperature inside, it was seven degrees higher than the gauge indicated.
The restaurant argued with the finding, but which temperature do you think the inspector recorded?
You must have independent ways of confirming temperature, whether you have other sensors that are reading temperatures, or you are manually recording and verifying that product temperatures fall within allowable range.
The sample principle affects restaurants outside of inspections too. Restaurant managers and owners make important, and sometimes costly, decisions based on the information available to them.
- Does your cold holding unit need maintenance or replacing? That BBQ place probably thought the answer was no, even though the inspection revealed that the dial was busted.
- Or, do your workers need additional training in operating the equipment? It could be that their usage of the device is behind any discrepancy.
- And of course, the most important decision of all: should you serve that food to consumers? If you think it was stored at 37°F, you’ll say yes; but if it was actually 44°F, it presents a safety risk.
Regardless, restaurants and commercial kitchens will never know they need to take action on a problem, if they’re relying on incorrect, unverified data. That's the cost of monitoring without further action: you could make critical decisions based on wrong information.
Whatever you do – automated monitoring, recording the equipment’s own temperature gauge, doing manual checks of individual foods inside – be aggressive that your inventory is being stored at the proper temperature.
Your local health inspector – and your customers – will appreciate it.