Food Thermometers

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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According to many health professionals, food thermometers are greatly under-utilized tools in wholesale, retail and food service operations. Recent surveys report that less than five percent of the population regularly uses a food thermometer when cooking. Equally as important for domestic use as for professional uses, devices to measure the temperature of prepared food are necessary tools for both individuals and many businesses.

According to sources like the USDA, many different food products (especially meats, poultry and seafood) may be unsafe if not heated to a temperature that is high enough to destroy bacteria. Food is also susceptible to bacterial growth during cooling, as well. The danger zone for most food products is between 140° and 40° Fahrenheit--if the temperature of food products stays within this region for more than four hours, many kinds of bacteria may rapidly grow and spread.

Infrared Food Thermometers

IR thermometers and insertion thermometers are reliable ways to insure that food heats to the proper temperature and cools quickly enough to prevent the growth of bacteria. Many food service professionals, including those involved in HACCP inspections, use them regularly. Some non-contact thermometer manufacturers, such as Raytek abd ZyTemp, produce entire product lines dedicated to food service use.

Food thermometers from companies such as Raytek and ZyTemp have built-in presets that alert the operator when the object of a temperature measurement may be in the HACCP "danger zone". In many cases, the machines many also include other features that increase their ease-of-use, such as alarm warning lights, large LCD displays, and a flip-out thermocouple or temperature probes. Most products are capable of reliable readings in quick succession, and response times of half of a second or so. Several models are also waterproof and can withstand frequent cleaning.

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