Frequently asked questions on temperatures

Who is permitted to freeze foods?

Foods may be frozen in all food industry operations. For example, meals, ingredients and other foods purchased for use at a restaurant may be frozen for later use. For example, ready-made meat dumplings and the minced meat and bread used as raw materials may all be frozen at the restaurant.

Furthermore, operations such as farms that practice the direct sale of meat may freeze it to extend its shelf life.

Can food be frozen on its last date of use?

Raw materials to be used in food preparation may still be frozen on their last date of use if the preparation includes heating. Cold-smoked or cured fish is not recommended for freezing. If this is done, however, the thawed fish must be used in a meal that is heated during preparation. Food that has been presented for serving may not be frozen for later reuse.

What type of equipment is needed for freezing food?

Any type of refrigerating appliance, such as a household freezer, may be used for freezing food. The quality of frozen food is best preserved if the freezing takes place quickly. For this reason, the freezer should not be stocked too full, and the portions should not be too large or wide.

For example, ready meals and their raw materials at a restaurant should not be stored frozen for more than two months after the date of freezing. Mushrooms, wild berries, garden products and game meat may be stored for longer, provided that their quality does not deteriorate. The party freezing the food is responsible for determining and recording the shelf life of frozen foods.

If a restaurant is freezing foods that have already been packaged, these should not be stored for more than two months after the date marked on the package, even when frozen. Spoiled foods and frozen or deep-frozen foods with an expiration date, best before date or freezing date older than two months must be disposed.

There are no strict limits on the storage temperatures of frozen foods in establishments other than those approved by the food control authorities. In other words, frozen foods in a restaurant or shop may be stored at a temperature above -18 °C. However, a warmer storage temperature may need to be taken into account when determining the shelf life.

What happens if food cannot be kept sufficiently cool during serving?

The storage, sale and serving temperatures of foods are important for their safety. If the temperature control at a buffet table is out of order, an alternative means of serving the food is to use dishes that are small enough to ensure that the food does not sit out for too long.

The same method applies for display cases. If a product sold from a display case requires a temperature of +6° C but this cannot be attained for each shelf, you should consider which products have the least risk of becoming spoiled (such as a cheese sandwich) and use the warmer shelves for such products. Another option is to ensure that the products are sold quickly. Products that are sold within moments are suitable to be stored on such shelves.

The temperature of products is also affected by the means of protection used. If the product is not protected while on display, it may warm up faster.

Page last updated 3/12/2019