The correct use of a thermometer is one of the most important step in undertaking HACCP monitoring.  Cleaning and Sanitising:

Before and after each use wash, rinse, sanitize and air-dry thermometer stems. Use a sanitising solution that is safe for food-contact items.

Also, don’t forget that before you use your thermometer to check the internal temperatures of foods, you must sanitize the stem of the thermometer. If you don’t sanitize the thermometer first, you will be possibly introducing the very bacteria into the food that you are trying to kill by cooking the food to the proper temperature! For a sanitiser, use an alcohol prep pad, or a wiping cloth that has a chlorine based sanitiser on it.


To use a food thermometer:

Depending upon the food being checked, there are several methods for measuring food temperatures:

  • Make sure the thermometer and case are clean (wash, rinse, sanitise, and air dry thermometer before and after each use.)
  • Ensure you use the correct probe - there are various shapes available for either inserting into products or measuring surfaces only.
  • When cooking, take the temperature in the center of the food.
  • When receiving perishable foods, check the temperature at the edge of the food.
  • Insert the sensor area (bottom 5 cm or 2 inches) of the thermometer into the food.
  • Wait for the reading to stop changing. Take the temperature reading after the reading has been still for 15 seconds.
  • Stick the sensing tip into the center and/or thickest part of the food. Check the temperature in at least two places.
  • Measure different parts of a food as the temperature may not be the same, for example, if food is being cooled in a refrigerator the top of the food may be cooler than the middle of the food
  • If using the thermometer to measure hot and cold food, wait for the thermometer to return to room temperature between measurements
  • Clean and sanitise the thermometer after measuring the temperature of one food and before measuring the temperature of another food.
  • Measure the temperature of different foods in a refrigerator or display unit as there will be colder and hotter spots within the refrigerator or unit
  • For flexible packages or soft bulk dispensers, fold the package around the sensing tip of the thermometer. Do not poke a hole in the package.
  • For individual packages, such as small milk cartons, open one package and insert the thermometer. Throw away the open package or use it immediately for cooking.
  • For frozen foods, stick the sensing area between packages or tightly packed boxes, or use a frozen product probe (which is usually made from a heavy grade of steel so as to not bend).


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