Before you begin delivering hot food off-site, there are a few important things you should do. Make sure to cook the food freshly when you deliver it. If you do not have time to cook it on site, reheat the food to 165 degrees upon arrival. Once you arrive, maintain the temperature above 135 degrees. You should also use an off-site label to properly identify the temperature of the food.
Using a food thermometer
Food thermometers are a valuable tool for cooking and delivering hot food. They can help you determine the internal temperature of food, which is especially important when food is being brought to a large group or is delivered to a client’s location. It is important to keep the food hot after cooking, as bacteria thrive at lower temperatures. Foods that have been reheated in a microwave can reach temperatures of 165°F or more.
Using a food thermometer to cook off-site is a good way to protect yourself from potential health risks associated with cold or hot food. While food may not be hot when delivered to a client, it is still safe when the temperature is between 40°F and 140°F. This temperature range is the “Danger Zone” for bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Many people use color and texture alone to determine whether a food is safe or not, but this isn’t the case. Foods are safe only when the temperature kills bacteria and prevents foodborne illnesses.
Using off-site labels
Unlike conventional labels, off-site labeling can help caterers keep their food in a safe zone. Off-site labels must be printed with the name of the food, its use-by date, and reheating and serving instructions. Using a first-in, first-out rotation system will ensure that food with the earliest dates is used first. It is important to rotate foods in the same manner.
Protecting the interior kitchen
The best way to protect the interior kitchen when delivering hot food off site is to follow proper sanitation and food handling procedures. Ensure that the kitchen has been approved by an appropriate government agency and follows proper standards for food handling, storage, and quality control. Use standard household equipment whenever possible, and install sneeze guards around the kitchen counter. The guards should be placed at least 14 inches above the serving area.
To protect the interior kitchen when delivering hot food off site, use insulated containers. These containers prevent spills, leaks, and mixing. Also, make sure the delivery vehicle is clean, and label the insulated containers with the use-by date and reheating instructions. When possible, use disposable gowns and shoe covers. This will help keep the interior kitchen clean and protect the drivers and customers from cross-contamination.