All of the world’s population are born into this world, surviving on their first beverage of choice: milk (minus, of course, those who are lactose intolerant). As people grow older, their dairy choices expand into different flavours of milk, cheese, ice cream and other related consumable foods and beverages.
Contrary to its innocent appearance, dairy is considered a perishable or high-risk food product. This means that for every item of dairy purchased, there are proper ways to store it and proper ways to handle it with special care.
Because foods bought and stored within food businesses are usually done so in bulk amounts, all high-risk food must be monitored closely and stored properly to prevent perishables from spoiling or worse, causing those dreaded cases of food poisoning.
With such a large amount of different foods, ingredients, cookware and people to always be aware of in an industrial kitchen, the overall thought can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming to employees. By keeping the biggest and most important points in the front of your mind, though, it will help keep track of the smaller but equally important rules of thumb.
Try following these important tips to help in remembering what to do when handling dairy products:
- Keep out of the danger zone: Bacteria that causes food poisoning grows and multiplies the fastest in temperatures that run between 5 degrees Celsius and 60 degrees Celsius.
- Never assume the expiration date: All dairy products come with an expiration date printed on the container – ALWAYS check this date before purchasing dairy product and before using them for consumption!
- Keep dairy products away from the freezer: (See the danger zone above) There is a common misconception that the freezer keeps everything fresh. While it works for certain food groups, dairy is definitely not one of them! Freezing dairy products creates an oasis for bacteria allowing it to migrate at the bottom of the food container. For certain dairy products, such as cheese and yogurts that contain good bacteria, freezing will make this type of food lose its flavour.
- Stay away from unpasteurised (raw) dairy products: Sure, it may be richer in taste but pasteurised products destroy the E. coli and other bacteria found in raw dairy products. When serving customers or clients, always stick with pasteurised dairy products!
The bottom line is that dairy products are extremely risky and spoil the faster with greater results than the other food groups. Making sure that all of your food business staff is well informed about providing the proper storage and care when handling or cooking with these ingredients will keep your kitchen much more organised and your food always tasting its best!