I want to talk about some products that can really help your food safety efforts:
1. Stainless steel 1/6 pans for your prep table coolers. Stainless is a much better conductor than plastic, so keep your foods in them and it will help you avoid critical cold holding violations from the health department. Additionally, do the following:
- Ensure that foods are 41 F or below BEFORE placing them in cold holding units. These types of coolers are designed to hold cold foods, not to cool them.
- Do not overfill inserts. Mounding foods is a near guarantee that the top portion rises in temperature.
- Keep the pivot lid closed during slow periods. I regularly see open lids during afternoon slow periods, and foods are warming up unnecessarily.
2. Additional epoxy wire shelving for your walk-in coolers. I often observe shelves in walk-ins with considerable unused vertical space between the shelves. In a walk-in, this is wasted space that you can easily reclaim for the one time expense of adding shelving. And if you’re going to buy new shelving, make sure it’s epoxy coated. This prevents rust from forming and keeps your shelves clean.
- If you normally cool foods in several 2” pans, then install shelves close enough for the pans to slide in side by side.
- If you store vegetables in 6” food storage boxes, then install your shelves close enough for them to slide them in side by side:
I hope you are visualizing your walk-in cooler and considering how you can maximize your space. Installing extra shelving eliminates the tendency to stack containers and will ensure airflow around each container.
Just so you know, this is not just a theory to me … I have customers who have successfully done this, solving longstanding cooling and cold holding problems in their walk-in coolers.