Products that stand the test of Time(strip)

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Products that stand the test of Time(strip)

When presented with food at a restaurant, we rarely stop to consider the careful planning required to plate our particular dish. That delicious seafood meal has been carefully selected, preserved, and transported in accordance with regulations so that it is safe to eat. As consumers, an awareness of food safety practice in restaurants is important to encourage correct procedure.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United States of America, consumers are well within their rights to “expect that the foods they purchase and consume will be safe and of high quality.” If unsatisfied, they have a right to “voice their opinions about the food control procedures, standards and activities that governments and industry use.” Make sure to make informed decisions and feel safe in the knowledge that your restaurant or food supplier is following the right practices.

Food safety protocol

But what exactly are the appropriate standards when it comes to food safety? The manner in which food is stored and transported matters, as does the temperature at which it is stored. In order to familiarise ourselves with protocol, let us review the major food groups and the basic requirements for each.

 

Dry foods

Storage: a cool, dry area that is free from vermin.

Ideal temperature: 10°C – 15°C (50°F – 59°F).

Note: liquor and wine may also be stored under lock and key in the dry food storage area.

Refrigerated products

Storage: a walk-in or standard upright refrigerator.

Ideal temperature: 4°C (39°F) or colder.

Note: refrigerators must be cleaned regularly, and their temperatures monitored daily.

Dairy products

Storage: a separate refrigerator to other goods as dairy products absorb odours.

Ideal temperature: 2°C – 4°C (36° – 39°F).

Note: the gap between delivery date and time to use these products should be as close together as possible.

Fruits and Vegetables

Storage: a walk-in or standard upright refrigerator.

Ideal temperature: 2° – 4°C (36° – 39°F) except potatoes and bananas which can be stored at higher temperatures.

Note: root vegetables such as carrots and cabbage can last a lot longer than delicate vegetables such as lettuce which should be bought fresh as they don’t keep long.

Frozen Foods

Storage: a regularly serviced freezer

Ideal temperature: –18°C (0°F) or lower.

Note: fresh fruit and meat must be prepared and wrapped for freezing or it will ruin in storage due to freezer burn.

Fresh Meats, Poultry, and Seafood

Storage: a regularly serviced freezer, or poultry can be stored on ice in refrigerator.

Ideal temperature: 4°C (39°F) or colder.

Note: fresh seafood should be packed in ice and stored at –1°C – 2°C (30°C – 34°F) and used as soon as possible.

High-quality temperature control

Correct temperature maintenance is of vital importance to the quality of a product. Failure to invest in high quality indicators and monitors may ultimately cost a restaurant or food supplier more, due to spoiled stock. Customers will also pay the price of lesser quality dining experiences, and potentially even damage to their health.

Timestrip is a well-known brand which supplies temperature monitoring devices to clients internationally. Tesco, a large chain of convenience stores in the UK and Ferme Marine de Mahebourg, a high-quality fish farm in Mauritius are both loyal Timestrip users.

The latter was the first seafood exporter to use Timestrip Time Temperature Indicator (TTI) labels when shipping produce to the US in 2015. Over 1,000 tonnes of fish are harvested annually, and this number is constantly growing. Most of the fish is exported to the EU and US with the rest going to high-end hotels in Mauritius. Tommy Sawmy (MD) has seen positive results using Timestrip TTI’s saying that they have “not only allowed for access to the US domestic seafood market, but also led to more sales.”

He is confident that customer trust has increased due to their satisfaction with the fish upon receipt, something which he holds the Timestrip indicators responsible for. Before the use of the indicators, customers had complained that they were receiving “old (looking) fish” but these concerns are now a thing of the past.

Timestrip Seafood 3°C TTI labels resolved this issue with ease as they were designed for vacuum packaged products which ensure that goods look fresh until they reach their final destination. This means that the fish was able to be monitored in vacuum packaging, which made the process much more effective. The high risk of Clostridium botulinum toxin growth in vacuum packaging when exposed to temperatures above 4 – 5°C for more than 4 hours is also prevented through monitoring.

The success of Timestrip Seafood TTI labels for Ferme Marine de Mahebourg demonstrates the positive difference small changes can make. These labels are easy to use and are not exorbitantly priced, yet they validate the quality of the product and foster consumer loyalty. Timestrip products can be trusted with the quality of your food from storage, through transport, and finally onto your plate.