Use of thermometers
All food businesses that store, transport, prepare, cook or sell potentially hazardous food must have a thermometer to measure the temperature of potentially hazardous food.
Potentially hazardous foods
Potentially hazardous foods include all of the following:
- foods containing raw and cooked meats including casseroles, pies and sandwiches
- dairy products and processed foods containing eggs, beans and nuts
- processed fruits and salads such as prepared salads and ready to eat fruit packs
- cooked rice and pasta.
Type of thermometer required
Food businesses must have a thermometer that:
- has a probe that can be inserted into food
- is accurate to +/- 1 degree Celsius.
Buying a thermometer
You can buy thermometers from companies that sell electronic testing equipment or catering equipment.
Most probe thermometers can be bought for about $20 to $50.
Using a thermometer to measure the temperature of food
You can measure the temperature of food accurately by:
- making sure the thermometer is clean and dry
- waiting until the temperature reading has stabilised before reading the temperature
- measuring different parts of a food as the temperature may not be the same everywhere
- cleaning and sanitising the thermometer after each use
- waiting for the thermometer to return to room temperature between measurements
- measuring the temperature of different foods in a refrigerator or display unit as there will be colder and hotter spots within the refrigerator or unit
- measuring the approximate temperature of packaged chilled food by placing the length of the thermometer between two packages.
Cleaning and sanitising a thermometer
You should clean and sanitise the probe of a thermometer before each use by:
- washing the probe with warm water and detergent
- sanitising the probe in an appropriate way (alcohol swabs are often used)
- rinsing the sanitiser away if necessary
- allowing the probe to air dry or thoroughly drying it with a disposable towel.
Remember you can't tell the temperature of food by looking at it. You must use a thermometer.
For more information contact Environmental Health.
Last updated: 21 September 2015
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