Category Archives: HACCP

How to save money and guarantee cooking oil quality

Whilst many have now adopted technology to test their cooking oil, still a significant number of restaurants and food service providers don’t have a suitable system in place for when to change the oil in their fryers. Generally, restaurants fall into one of 2 categories; either they are changing their oil too frequently, or in some cases not often enough. Both cases create serious issues for the affected company, issues which ironically, are very easily rectified.

Without a system in place, there is no way you can guarantee you are being economical in terms of oil consumption. If you change your oil on a particular day of the week for insurance, or even just sporadically as and when you remember / see fit, you are likely not being as economical with your oil as you could be. In this case, you would certainly benefit from employing a system to optimise frying oil usage.

Often companies simply change cooking oil based on mundane things like the colour of the oil, which is by no means an effective indicator of the stage the oil is at. A change in colour could be caused by something like colouring in the food, which then has no bearing on the oil still being usable. In which case, you may find you losing money, and again would benefit massively by optimising your oil usage. In some extreme cases, we have found companies save as much as 20% on oil consumption, simply by testing it on a regular basis. This soon adds up, especially when you think about this expenditure over the space of a year.

 

Many food service companies aren’t changing thier oil regularly enough

 

“But what if I discover I’m not changing my oil enough?” I hear you say. Well here you have an even bigger incentive to test your oil regularly. Using oil which is past the curve has potential to create a number of major issues. Firstly, you run the risk of producing a poor standard of fried food. With overused oil the fried shell is less crisp and the food absorbs much more oil than usual. The batter can become saturated with oil, giving you a greasy end product. This can then leave a bitter, unpleasant taste and very greasy due to a higher content of saturated fats.

Secondly, as the oil continues to age, the product produced is can become hard, oily and there is an added risk with using such aged oil, as this can also cause problems with the inner food (for example chicken, potato) not actually cooking properly. This, of course, could lead to a whole new list of problems for any company serving food, and can then cause problems from a food safety point of view.

 

This video shows just how simple it is to test you cooking oil

 

Thirdly and perhaps most importantly, you won’t produce a consistent level of product quality. Ever wondered how multinational fast-food companies able to supply such consistent, fried products across the world? The answer is regular cooking oil testing.

In this situation, yes ok, you may not necessarily save money in the short term; but when you consider the long-term reputation of your restaurant or restaurant chain, you absolutely will be protecting your brand’s image. Producing a consistent, quality fried product, supports restaurants in their ongoing pursuit of being seen as a trusted, reputable and sustainable food brand.

 

Like some more info?

For more information on the cooking oil quality management or any of our products please visit our website www.testo.co.uk or give us a a call on +44 1420 544433 and we’ll be happy to help

Food quality and HACCP in restaurants (Free Whitepaper Download)

Would you like to further understand how restaurateurs can ensure food quality and adhere to HACCP regulations? Download testo’s exclusive guide now.

This application guide provides the perfect support for those responsible for food quality in restaurants. Testo discuss adhering to HACCP regulations, temperature limit values, guidelines and practical advice.

Just some of the many topics we cover include:

  1. Which legal limit values have to be observed?
  2. How can such values be measured efficiently?
  3. How can automated climate monitoring save both time and money?
  4. How can the use of alarm functions reduce risks?
  5. In deep-frying, how can money be saved whilst ensuring consistent product quality?

 

Get your free download now.

Testo’s exclusive guide helps you to further understand the key factors of quality management in restaurants

 

About testo Food Safety

Testo offer our industry knowledge as well as a wide range of equipment for food safety which will help you meet your quality requirements and give you the reassurance you are storing and cooking your food safely. Our instruments include temperature monitoring systems, data loggers, thermometers, cooking oil testers, PH meters and more.

Whether it is for spot checks or long-term monitoring, from farm to fork, Testo has the right instrument for the job. Want to find out more about testo food safety equipment? Why not visit our website www.testo.co.uk or give us a call on +44 1420 544433 and we’ll be happy to help.

How the food industry is taking advantage of automated monitoring to optimise working procedures and decrease workloads

When it comes to the food industry, no matter which area a company works in, food safety is always a major concern. The sheer scale of end-customer demand, coupled with strict time restraints, puts a huge amount of pressure on the food industry to ensure all produce is carefully monitored and regulated from farm to fork. Practically every point of the process, throughout production, preparation, storage and transport, has potential danger areas regarding spoilage through mismanagement or poor temperature regulation.

Monitoring temperature is a particularly important part of this process. Incorrect climatic conditions can have devastating consequences, and businesses often leave themselves at risk of incurring needless costs should there be a power cut, or system malfunction. This can lead to wasted stock or worse; a legal dispute.

Such costs can be detrimental to both production and reputation (should the tainted stock be distributed) and will ultimately have a negative effect on profit margins.

Within the food industry more and more businesses are opting to use automated temperature monitoring. For certain applications simply using a data logger and noting down readings manually is sufficient, for instance building monitoring where there is no danger of damage to stock and you simply need the records for reference purposes. When dealing with climate sensitive stock though, as is more often than not the case in the food industry, using an alarm fitted system which monitors conditions continuously is fast becoming a necessary requirement. With such a system in place, if there is a problem, you will be notified immediately, so you are able to react straight away, before it is too late. This is particularly useful if you don’t have staff on site 100% time, which let’s face it, most companies don’t the have resource for.

When first introduced, whilst the logic and practicality behind this type of solution is somewhat undeniable, systems were very costly and the quality manager or person responsible for food safety simply couldn’t justify the cost. This has often proved to be the stumbling block for companies looking to move to an automated system, instead sticking with more traditional temperature loggers, and taking manual readings. To an extent this is understandable, “if it’s not broken don’t fix it”, right? Admittedly, in the first instance investment is needed for such a system. In the long run, however, it will likely save the business valuable time and manpower.

For example, if in the current regime a member of staff is required to go around and take checks at numerous locations, this is a needless additional task which could be used for something more productive. And of course, as mentioned previously, the overriding advantage of employing such a system is to act as a contingency measure and protect your operation in the event of a problem or system malfunction. This could end up saving money in the long run, on wasted stock, potential product recalls etc. Another saying comes to mind: “But we’ve always done it that way”. This has been described as the 7 most expensive words for any business; failure to adopt new methodologies can hurt a business in the long run.

 

The above video explains the advantages of an automated temperature monitoring system

What’s more, as technology continues to advance at an astonishing rate, such systems are now becoming available for a fraction of the cost when this type of system first hit the market. Testo’s Saveris 2 for example offers a fully automated temperature monitoring system from under £100 with no additional costs for software. Therefore, it doesn’t cost as much as you’d think to ensure your peace of mind.

 

About testo Food Safety

Testo offer our industry knowledge as well as a wide range of equipment for food safety which will help you meet your quality requirements and give you the reassurance you are storing and cooking your food safely. Our instruments include temperature monitoring systems, data loggers, thermometers, cooking oil testers, PH meters and more.

Whether it is for spot checks or long-term monitoring, from farm to fork, Testo has the right instrument for the job. Want to find out more about testo food safety equipment? Why not visit our website www.testo.co.uk or give us a call on +44 1420 544433 and we’ll be happy to help.

How major fast-food chains ensure consistent quality of fried foods on a global scale

Consistency is one of the most important factors in the fast-food industry. In order to keep loyal customers satisfied, restaurants need to be able to supply the same great product their customers have come to know and love, every time, without exception. Whilst this is hugely important in the food service industry, it is not limited to this, and is something which has become an expectation in many areas of today’s society, as outlined in George Ritzer’s much-publicised ‘McDonaldization of Society’.

Now you might think for the larger chains this is an easier feat, due to the highly regimented quality management in place. In actual fact, there are issues in maintaining standards at both ends of the spectrum. On the one hand, larger chains can have difficulties because of the sheer scale of their business. Those which are nationwide or even international need to ensure they have the same standard of fried product, across all their restaurants. Whereas, for individual restaurants and small chains budget is often tight, and this becomes one of, if not, the highest priority. In both instances, it is important not to lose sight of the most essential thing for any business responsible for serving food, and this is of course customer satisfaction. In today’s saturated market competition is fierce, and with digital review platforms such as TripAdvisor becoming more and more influential, customer opinion has never been more transparent and important.

With mass produced fried foods, from chicken and chips, to pastries and doughnuts, it is of particular importance they maintain the right consistent level in terms of look, taste, and overall quality. One way they can do this is of course, is by using the same ingredients and cooking oil to fry with. However, as we will explain, this is only half the battle.

One assumption we often hear is “If you’re using the same initial ingredients and oil, the end result should be the same right?” In short no. There are other factors which come into play when re-producing fried foods, one of the most significant being the age of cooking oil, and by this we don’t simply mean number of days, but also age in terms of usage. Cooking oil, like most things, ages as a result of many factors. With relation to deep frying, these can include what food was fried, the heat at which the oil was heated and the amount of times it was used. In scientific terms, this is referred to as thermal oxidative modification. The quality of cooking oil also decreases due to time spent at room temperature, causing an oxidation reaction between the air and the oil.

Until recent years, there hasn’t been any sure way of knowing when to change cooking oil, with many businesses either changing it on a certain day of the week for instance, or even something as simple as “it looks a funny colour, better change it”. There are two major risks involved with these types of imprecise methods; first of all, in many cases restaurants are changing their oil too frequently, in which case they are wasting money on oil costs (this can be significant, in some instances we have found this to be as high as 20%). More worryingly, sometimes restaurants are using oil which is way past its best, which can result in very oily, unpleasant foods, and in some extreme cases the product not being cooked properly (despite it looking the right colour on the outside).

 

Only by testing your oil regularly can you ensure both product consistency and optimised oil consumption

 

One major difficulty is, whilst in some countries in Asia and other parts of Europe, cooking oil quality is a much more recognised factor, in the UK not a lot has been done to improve the education of frying, outlining the necessity to ensure the products created are of the highest standard and that food safety is always considered. This is partly down to the lack of official legislation in the UK for cooking oil quality, as there is in countries where this is more widely recognised (such a legislation is tipped to be on the way however). With the uncertainty around cooking oil testing, when to change oil, and how to tell whether it is past its best, it is no wonder restaurants sometimes struggle to produce the ‘perfect’ fried product 100% of the time.

So this then begs the question, how are these massive, multinational companies able to supply such consistent, fried products across the world? The answer: regular cooking oil testing. Whilst this seems obvious, a significant number of restaurants in the UK are yet to introduce a process for measuring their oil, and many are even unaware such a solution exists.

Well the good news is, as of a few years ago, scientists discovered an accurate way to measure quality. Extensive research revealed the most effective way to check the age or quality of cooking oil is to test the Total Polar Materials (TPM). Without going into unnecessary levels of technical detail, in essence, with regards to TPM, too high levels of polar components illustrates that the cooking oil has been over-used and is no longer of acceptable quality.

Using an instrument such as testo’s 270 cooking oil tester on a regular basis, you can determine within seconds whether cooking oil needs changing. By simply inserting the tip into the oil, depending on the screen colour, the user can determine whether the oil needs changing or not. A green screen means the oil is perfectly fine, amber is when it’s on the brink, and red means the oil needs changing immediately. With an instrument such as this, the process of testing cooking oil is now just a simple spot check for restaurants, and is fast becoming an essential part of any quality management process which involves frying.

 

The above video gives a short overview of the testo 270 Cooking Oil Tester

 

If you’d like further information on cooking oil testing, please go to https://www.testo.com/en-UK/products/cooking-oil-testing

 

About testo Food Safety

Testo offer our industry knowledge as well as a wide range of equipment for food safety which will help you meet your quality requirements and give you the reassurance you are storing and cooking your food safely. Our instruments include temperature monitoring systems, data loggers, thermometers, cooking oil testers, thermal cameras, PH meters and more.

Whether it is for spot checks or long-term monitoring, from farm to fork, Testo has the right instrument for the job. Want to find out more about testo food safety equipment? Why not visit our website www.testo.co.uk or give us a call on +44 1420 544433 and we’ll be happy to help.

 

3 common bacteria caused by incorrect food temperature control

If you operate within the cold chain, in production, transportation, as a food laboratory, or anywhere where you are responsible for food handling, you need to be in complete control of your business at all times. Even the slightest change in atmosphere can result in harmful (sometimes even deadly) bacteria spreading through your products.

As with all workplace hazards, prevention and preparation are absolutely key. Providing you are aware of the dangers and have sufficient protection methods in place, such as a digital monitoring system, you can ensure safe and effective service.

 

With a temperature monitoring system you can ensure produce is kept at the correct conditions throughout

 

If you decide not to set up measures for temperature control, you run the enormous risk that your products will be exposed to a number of disease-creating bacteria and pathogens. With most forms of bacteria forming through inadequate storing methods, there is no room to take chances.

If you are found to be liable for causing sickness to the general public, the consequences will be severe, both financially and in terms of the business’ reputation. As we saw recently with the tragic case of the Clock and Key Pub in Tristen, even a small-scale lapse can have devastating repercussions for all involved.

 

Here are three of the most common examples caused by temperature monitoring oversights.

 

  1. Salmonella

This is one of the most common bacterial infections, and has become a notorious threat worldwide, so you would think people would have learned their lesson by now. And yet, time and time again, food vendors and preparation facilities throughout the UK and internationally fail to account for it when handling, storing and cooking food.

Salmonella is most commonly present in raw and undercooked eggs, poultry and meat but has also  been found in fruit and vegetables that have become contaminated. Facilities which prepare milk should also be on the lookout as it has been known to gestate in unpasteurised milk.

Because the presence of this bacteria is dependent on how the food or dairy product in question is cooked, the temperature of your working environment needs to be stable and accurate at all times. If not, the disease has more of a chance to form and spread, which could land you in trouble if the contaminated product hits the shelves.

These lessons should be followed even if the laboratory is only handling raw foods, as rapid temperature fluctuations can still impact the integrity of the product.

 

  1. Campylobacter

Some food laboratories specialise in storing foods before they are transported somewhere or analysed. If these facilities cannot guarantee reliable temperature measurement then there is little point in their operation.

Correct storage is one of the most vital parts of food safety. If it is done incorrectly, the risk of contamination rises greatly, and jeopardises the whole business.

This is especially true with poultry and meat, as both are incredibly sensitive to temperature whether they are in storage or being cooked. Both are susceptible to Campylobacter bacteria, which is known to form during storage and causes cases of food poisoning if it is not eliminated in the cooking process.

 

Meat must be kept at the correct temperature at all stages of the storage and preparation process

 

Even in freezing temperatures the bacteria is not always completely eliminated, however, it is a good place to start. Freezers are one of the areas where a temperature monitoring system is most beneficial, as this can alert managers of any unplanned temperature changes, and ‘nip it in the bud’ so to speak, before it becomes a real issue.

 

  1. Listeria

While Campylobacter can survive freezing temperatures, Listeria can withstand the slightly warmer climate of a refrigerator, where most other illness-causing bacteria perish.

Although Listeria doesn’t quite have the range of Campylobacter and Salmonella when causing illness, it does target those who are vulnerable to sickness in general, meaning it still needs to be taken seriously.

Elderly people, pregnant women and young children are at particular risk of catching the disease, as are those who already have a compromised immune system.

Listeria mainly affects ready-to-eat foods that are commonly stored in the refrigerator, a place that people normally associate with food safety. As the appearance of this bacteria is heavily dependant on cooking, storing and reheating temperature, food laboratory managers need to be cautious at all times.

Again, as with all of these bacteria, as long as the appropriate processes are observed and preventive measures are put in place, food laboratories should be able to produce products that are safe and ready for human consumption.

 

About testo Food Safety

Testo offer our industry knowledge as well as a wide range of equipment for food safety which will help you meet your quality requirements and give you the reassurance you are storing and cooking your food safely. Our instruments include temperature monitoring systems, data loggers, thermometers, cooking oil testers, thermal cameras, PH meters and more.

Whether it is for spot checks or long-term monitoring, from farm to fork, Testo has the right instrument for the job. Want to find out more about testo food safety equipment? Why not visit our website www.testo.co.uk or give us a call on +44 1420 544433 and we’ll be happy to help.