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Food Handling & Retail

Food Handling & Retail

Regulating temperature

The U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) publishes the Food Code, a scientifically sound technical and legal basis for regulating the retail and food service segment of the industry. A large segment of the Food Code is dedicated to temperature—mandating the correct temperatures required to protect the safety and quality of food. FDA studies have shown the most common "out of compliance" occurrence is associated with improper cold holding of potentially hazardous food.

An FDA Food Program Survey on foodborne risk factors emphasized the importance of consistent refrigeration temperatures. The survey reported that many retail food stores, restaurants and institutions are not meeting federally mandated temperature standards. Results showed that 72 percent of all potentially hazardous foods in deli departments of retail stores, 81 percent of all potentially hazardous foods in full service restaurants, and 45 percent of all potentially hazardous foods in elementary schools were observed at a temperature greater than 41 degrees F.

Why it's important

Bacteria exist everywhere in nature. They are in the soil, air, water, and the foods we eat. When they have nutrients (food), moisture, and favorable temperatures, they grow rapidly, increasing in numbers to the point where some types of bacteria can cause illness. Bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees F, the "Danger Zone," some doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes. Refrigeration slows bacterial growth. A refrigerator set at 40 degrees F or below will protect most foods.

There are two completely different families of bacteria: pathogenic bacteria, the kind that cause foodborne illness, and spoilage bacteria, the kind of bacteria that cause foods to deteriorate and develop unpleasant odors, tastes, and textures.

  • Pathogenic bacteria can grow rapidly in the "Danger Zone," the temperature range between 40 and 140 °F, but they do not generally affect the taste, smell, or appearance of a food. In other words, one cannot tell that a pathogen is present.
  • Spoilage bacteria can grow at low temperatures, such as in the refrigerator. Eventually they cause food to develop off or bad tastes and smells. Most people would not choose to eat spoiled food. It comes down to an issue of quality or safety.

Both of these bacteria are a concern to those who handle and sell food. It's important for the health of their consumers that they protect the safety of their food. And it's important for the health of their bottom line that their products do not shrink or spoil.

How XDX can help

XDX X-Stream valve technology improves a cooling system's performance and capacity, reducing energy and stabilizing temperature to ensure food safety and decrease spoilage and shrinkage.

The growth rate for spoilage bacteria under conventional refrigeration is 35 percent faster than with the addition of XDX. And refrigeration systems that originally were unable to meet the FDA Food Code for Product Temperature are able to exceed performance requirements following conversion to the XDX system.

XDX can also deliver a significant increase in product shelf life by helping traditional systems maintain consistent temperatures Studies show that products with a traditional shelf life of three days have a five-day shelf life when the temperature is held constant.

XDX also delivers:

  • Less condensation
  • A 30 percent improvement in pull-down rates for a faster return to desired product temperature
  • Decreased defrost cycles
  • Energy savings of 15 percent or more
  • Lower maintenance costs and longer equipment life
  • Better system performance

XDX improves the performance of:

Low Temp Equipment

Blast Freezers
Display Freezers
Reach-in Freezers
Storage and Walk-ins

Med/High Temp Equipment

Air Conditioning
Chillers
Deli Service Counters
Rack Systems
Reach-in Coolers
Refrigerated Cases
Refrigerated Display Cases
Refrigerated Drink Machines
Shell & Tube Evaporators
Walk-In Coolers