Here are suggestions for energy savings and compliance with the Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations:
1. Ensure efficient door closers for coolers. I frequently observe cooks open doors on line coolers and the doors are left standing open until someone thinks to kick them closed. What a waste of cold air and increased compressor run time! It equals $$ lost, plus foods can warm up above 41 F.
2. Obtain and use the Comark PDT-300 thermometer. The regulations require a thin probe thermometer if you serve “thin foods” such as patties. I use it, it is NSF approved, and in my opinion, it is the best one for the money.
3. Use overhead glass hangers for 3-compartment sinks if drain board space is lacking. The regulations specifically allow for “alternative methods” for drying in lieu of drain boards.
5. Ensure tight fitting pivot lids on prep table coolers. If yours have gaps or are loose fitting, this allows warm air in, energy $$ are lost, and foods can warm up above 41 F.
6. Be aware that due to the increased emphasis on hand washing and the prohibition of bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food, it is more and more common for additional hand sinks to be required, especially in existing facilities. The smaller modular hand sinks with integrated splash guards are a great and relatively inexpensive solution.
7. Use nail brushes…although they are not required, clean fingernails are required. I know of no other way to clean under nails than with a brush.
8. Purchase color codedutensils. They are a great way, if used properly, to separate raw meats from ready-to-eat foods, preventing cross contamination. They are a convenient, easy for non-English speaking employees to comprehend, and easy for managers to verify their proper use by employees.
9. Install additional shelving in your walk-in cooler. Step back and look at your shelves and the food containers on them. Do you have unused vertical space? Get the most out of your walk-in!
10. Use walk-in cooler curtains. They help maintain the temperature of foods in the walk-in and result in $$ savings in energy costs.