Management of temperatures in storage, serving and sale of foodstuffs

Temperatures affect the safety and stability of foods. Some of the bacteria, viruses and other microbes contained in foods may cause food poisoning. However, their amount in foods can be controlled with the help of temperatures.

Temperatures can be managed both through one's own actions and with equipment. Good temperature control also always includes the monitoring of temperatures. 

If foodstuffs that are sold hot or food that is served hot have not been cooled, they must be stored in such a way that the temperature throughout the food is at least +60oC.

Easily perishable foods that require cold storage must be stored in cold. Different cold storage temperatures have been laid down by decrees for different groups of foods in food premises. These temperatures are based on the properties of the foods. Different temperatures are needed for foods that require cold storage so that their safety and quality can be maintained. For example, fresh fish must be stored in a lower temperature than many other foods, such as milk, cheese or chopped vegetables. It may therefore be sensible to reserve separate refrigeration equipment for different foods and set the temperatures clearly according to these foods. A rough estimate is that one cold room set to +3°C can be reserved for fish and meat, and another cold room set to +6°C for other foods. See examples of food storage temperatures.

As a rule of thumb, it can be remembered that the favourable temperature range for microbial reproduction, in other words the danger zone for the stability of the foodstuff, is +6oC–+60oC. The safety and stability of foods is ensured by avoiding this temperature range in all stages.

In cold storage, attention must also be paid to the storage instructions given by the manufacturer. The use by date or the best before date determined for the foodstuff requires keeping the foodstuff in the storage temperature given by the manufacturer during its entire life cycle. A break at some point in the cold chain may ruin the product or at least significantly shorten its shelf life.

The temperature of the refrigeration cabinet must usually be set to a temperature that is slightly colder than required to ensure that the temperature is definitely cold enough in everywhere in the cabinet and the foods can be kept cold enough.

Keeping the foods cold enough also requires that the refrigeration equipment is maintained in good condition, its thermometers are checked and calibrated regularly and the filling capacity of the refrigeration cabinet is not exceeded.

Page last updated 8/14/2023