Published Article

Hot Weather Issues

Jun 23, 2014

EcoSure Food Safety Monitor

By Miriam Eisenberg

Each season brings a new set of food service operational challenges; storms, temperature extremes, seasonal pests and of course, vacation crowds effect staffing needs and supply levels. The summer months bring heat and high humidity that can cause condensation problems in your kitchens.

Condensation control measures must be taken through your operation. Excess condensation can create an unusually moist environment that helps bacteria multiply, mold spores grow and produce to wilt, while providing water sources for pests. Drippings from condensers and fans and droplets on packaging can cross-contaminate food and rust metal surfaces.

Think "back door to customer service" for some basics steps to avoid excess condensation:

  • Delivery:
    • Unless you have overnight key drops, try to schedule deliveries for early morning when the temperatures are coolest.
    • Be prepared for deliveries. The quicker food is brought in and stowed, the less time it will be exposed to heat and humidity.
    • Check that frozen items have not thawed and been refrozen.
    • Do not prop coolers open during delivery.
  • Walk-ins and other coolers:
    • Keep cooler doors closed when not in use for temperature and humidity stability
    • Properly load coolers for good air circulation.
    • Wipe down excess beads of moisture in coolers after a delivery.
    • Keep fans clean and clear.
    • Clean and replace door gaskets when needed.
    • Use proper cooling techniques.
  • Ambient Air Temperature:
    • Maintain your HVAC system for optimal functioning.
    • Be sure your HVAC system maintains a positive air pressure.
    • Air-curtains should be properly functioning and used as required.
    • Close doors completely, do not prop open.
    • Properly maintain exhaust fans.

Watch for signs of condensation throughout your operation. Proper equipment and facility maintenance will help minimize impact.

With thanks to David Walpuck of Food Safety News for discussing this topic.

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