‘You need to check that your fridge is cold enough using a fridge thermometer. This is because the dials on fridges don't always show you the right temperature. Your fridge should be 5°C or below.’
BRCGS Clause 4.15.3, relating to the storage of raw materials, in-process products or finished products is also relevant. It states,
‘Temperature recording equipment with suitable temperature alarms shall be fitted to all storage facilities or there shall be a system of recorded manual temperature checks, typically on at least a 4-hourly basis or at a frequency which allows for intervention before product temperatures exceed defined limits for the safety, legality or quality of products.’ (BRCGS Global Food Safety Standard V8 , Clause 4.15.3)
In addition to food safety and quality, fridge monitoring
systems with alarms offer excellent cost-saving and risk-management, as
instances of non-compliance that would result in stock loss or wastage can be
identified in good time, before stock must be discarded. Particularly with large chillers, which may
contain hundreds or thousands of pounds’ worth in storage, fridge monitoring
systems with audible, visual or SMS alerts have been known to avert serious
loss and even reduce insurance premiums.
How often should I check the temperature of my fridges and chillers?
There is no hard and fast rule on how often the checks should take place; ultimately it depends on your documented site processes. As noted above, the FSA’s guidance does not specify regularity, however the inference would be once per day. Some local government authorities are more specific on their recommendations, such as Falkirk Council in their Food Safety Guidance
, who specify that fridges should be checked at least twice per day. BRCGS recommend checks are conducted at least 4-hourly but leave this open to the site’s discretion, based on the time it would take for product temperatures to exceed defined limits for product safety, legality or quality.
For particularly temperature-sensitive or high-risk products in small pack quantities, especially fresh meat and dairy products, it’s wise to take a worst-case scenario approach. If the fridge was to break down or have the door left open immediately after your temperature check and on a warm day, how soon would the stock become unsafe?
Should I record or log the fridge temperatures?
Again, this is somewhat dependent on the procedures decided at site level, however typically temperature checks must be recorded. This means that in the event of non-compliance or complaints being received, the records are available to prove the storage conditions at the time. For non-logging fridge thermometers, this must be recorded manually. By contrast, logging thermometers such as the LEBI range
automatically log temperatures at set intervals (as often as every minute), and the data can simply be downloaded on a regular basis, which removes the time, hassle and margin for error from the manual method.
What are my options for fridge or chiller logging?