What is HACCP?

How Does HACCP Protect You and Your Food?

What does HACCP mean? How does it safeguard your food? What are the obligations placed on the food industry to ensure compliance?   HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points. Let’s look at this food safety system and see how it works. Set up by the European Union HACCP has been mandatory in the food industry since 2006, HACCP origins date back to the 1960’s space program where it was decided early in the process that maintaining food for prolonged periods of time in space was essential. It was defined as an overview more than ten years before that by the World Health Organisation’s Codex Alimentarius Commission.   The principles behind HACCP are best described as PDCA. Plan, Do, Check Act. A terminology that should be familiar to those familiar with process control. This means that for most businesses … Read more

How to defrost chicken

How to defrost chicken safely

To avoid food poisoning it is essential that food be defrosted safely before use. It is especially important to know how to defrost chicken safely. Why is this step so important? There are two issues to consider when  defrosting food, both of which will affect the quality of the food once prepared and, more important, add a risk of food poisoning to whoever eats the food. If you want to know how to defrost chicken and other foods, read on. The first issue is if the food is not properly defrosted.  For example, joint of meat or poultry may that is not properly defrosted may appear ready to cook from the outside, but the meat at the may still contain ice crystals. This means that, after following the cooking instructions for a de-frosted piece of meat of that type, the … Read more

C12 Thermometer used on MasterChef

Comark’s C12 Thermometer on Celebrity MasterChef

It’s always exciting to see our products being used and this week’s spot was no exception.  One of our eagle-eyed staff members spotted the C12 HACCP Thermometer being used to check meat temperatures on Celebrity MasterChef. This handy thermometer was seen in action at Smith & Wollensky, the iconic American fine dining steakhouse in London, being used to check cooked meat temperatures.  Comark’s C12 HACCP Thermometer can be used for core food checks to make sure that safe minimum internal temperatures have been reached to avoid food poisoning.  It is a great choice for any kitchen and perfect for catering, food service and other food uses. If you are a budding MasterChef, you might be interested to know that the C12 HACCP thermometer is supplied complete with a penetration probe for core food temperature measurements and an air probe for measuring … Read more

Regularly check your refrigerator, fridge or freezer

The truth about your refrigerator and freezer

Have you heard any of these snippets of advice about refrigerators and freezers? A refrigerators is more cost efficient when it’s full. Your refrigerator is much warmer at the top and colder at the bottom. When the seal on your refrigerator begins to decay you should replace the appliance. Which of these are true and how should you use your appliance to get the best, safest and most cost-effective performance? Let’s take a look. A refrigerator is more cost effective when it is full This commonly held view comes from one of two ideas. The first is that the air inside your appliance needs to be cooled by the compressor to attain the correct temperature. The more air, the more the compressor needs to work. Alternatively, that, solid objects, once cooled to the correct temperature take longer to warm up … Read more

Celebrate the fourth of July

Fourth of July Independence Day Celebrations

Do you have plans to celebrate Independence Day with family and friends on the fourth of July or saving your celebrations until the weekend? Whenever you host your get together, it is time to get out the red, white and blue decorations and plan your holiday menu. When it comes to Independence Day food, it is usually time for a picnic or barbecue as family and friends gather. You’ll want to make sure there are plenty of dishes to share and that there is something for everyone. When you are preparing your holiday feast, it’s a good time to remember a few food safety tips. Make sure that salads and other cold dishes are not left standing outside of the refrigerator or cooler for too long.  The summer temperatures can rise in July.  Warm, humid weather is the ideal environment … Read more

Campylobacter and Handling Raw Chicken

Safe handling of chicken to minimize campylobacter contamination

Handling raw chicken requires attention to some basic food hygiene principals to reduce the chances of eating food contaminated with campylobacter. The Food Standards Agency quote that about four in five cases of campylobacter food poisoning in the UK come from contaminated poultry, especially chicken and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are an estimated 1.3 million illnesses in the United States each year caused by campylobacter. Campylobacter has a low infective dose, meaning it takes very few germs (fewer than 500) to make someone ill (source). That means a single drop of juice from raw chicken can have enough Campylobacter in it to infect someone. How to reduce the risk from campylobacter when handling chicken Clean Make sure your hands are washed and that the kitchen worksurfaces, cutting boards and utensils are thoroughly clean.  Immediately after being … Read more

Acrylamide in Food

Reduce Acrylamide by Going for Gold

Acrylamide is a chemical substance formed by a reaction between amino acids and sugars.  It is found in a wide variety of foods such as chips, roast potatoes, crisps, toast, cakes, biscuits, cereals and coffee. Concern regarding the carcinogenic potential of acrylamide has eventually led to new legislation that comes into force in April 2018.  Commission Regulation (EU) No 2017/2158 requires that food business operators apply the acrylamide mitigation measures set in the Annexes in this Regulation. When foods with a high starch content are fried, roasted or baked at high temperatures over 120°C acrylamide is formed. The recommendation for cooking food with a high starch level is to “go for gold” as generally, the darker the appearance of a starchy product, the higher the acrylamide level is found to be. It is advised that the temperature of cooking oil … Read more

Hazard Analysis for Butchers

The Importance of Hazard Analysis for Retail Butchers

All food businesses must develop documented food safety management procedures based on HACCP.  This is particularly important in premises that have higher risks such as butchers handling raw and cooked food. Butchers’ shops will require more in-depth record keeping than lower risk food businesses.  It means that butchers must identify where risks to food safety could occur and how they will control those risks. By conducting a hazard analysis, the critical control points are identified then procedures based on the HACCP food safety management system are put in place to implement and maintain a food safety plan.  When carrying out the hazard analysis assessment, the business owner must ensure that it will work in practice and that every step can be continually implemented. Keeping HACCP records up to date may help you establish a defence of due diligence should you … Read more

5 Temperature Safety Tips

5 Temperature Safety Tips

 Accurate measurement and control of temperature is critical to the quality and safety of food products. Throughout the supply chain of any food business there will be critical control points (CCPs) identified in the HACCP plan.  There will be temperature safety checks at each of the CCPs identified.  1. Why is temperature control important? Harmful bacteria are a hazard present in many foods handled in homes, food service and food processing businesses.  Growth can be controlled by keeping food hot or cold.  Harmful bacteria can be reduced or destroyed by cooking or reheating to the correct temperature. 2. Handling temperatures on receipt of goods When accepting deliveries of food quick temperature safety checks can be made with infrared thermometers.  These thermometers take surface temperatures and do not damage packs.  They are particularly useful for checking frozen goods which may be … Read more

Wireless Monitoring for food businesses

How Wireless Monitoring Helps Your Food Business

Food businesses want total food safety assurance and this is where a wireless monitoring system for temperature can help. When the heat is on in the kitchen, do you know what is happening in your temperature sensitive storage? When it gets busy front of house, you want to know that your staff have time to perfect the customer experience.  With wireless monitoring in place, they can do so safe in the knowledge the necessary back of house temperature checks are taken . The vital temperature records of cold and frozen storage areas, coolers, hot and cold holding stations are automated through a series of wireless data loggers that automatically and continually monitor temperatures to provide real-time data on storage conditions. Automatic alerts can be set up via email or SMS notifications for when exceptions occur and temperatures fall outside of … Read more

Festive Safety Tips

Festive Safety Tips from Comark Instruments

Ho Ho Ho….It’s that time of year when everybody is getting into the festive and holiday Christmas spirit. Gathering with family & friends, exchanging gifts and enjoying the feast.  Food poisoning isn’t on anyone’s Christmas list, so make sure you only give people what they want this year – i.e. not food-poisoning! We’ve done all the hard work for you and put together some canny little Festive Safety Tips for you to follow   Keep things clean: Wash hands before and after handling any food. Wet or damp hands can spread bugs between food and surfaces! Wash all surfaces (cutting boards, dishes, utensils and countertops) before and after preparing each food item. Wash dishcloths and tea towels regularly, and let them dry before you use them again. Dirty, damp cloths are the perfect place for germs to spread. Don’t wash raw … Read more

C28/P21 Sous Vide Kit

Sous Vide Cooking with Comark Instruments

The Sous Vide cooking method has recently taken the restaurant industry by storm – and is even becoming popular among home kitchens. So, what exactly is Sous Vide cooking? Sous Vide is a method of slow cooking in which food is cooked in vacuum sealed bags, submerged in a constant temperature-controlled water bath. This technique of cooking the food inside vacuum sealed bags ensures the food will stay juicy and tender. The temperature controlled method of this style of cooking is another unique feature providing a tasty outcome for chefs and diners, as the food cooks at the constant desired temperature all the way through. This temperature is achievable and monitored with the help of Comark’s Sous Vide Kit. This method of cooking has become so popular among restaurants, chefs and home kitchens because different temperatures of the water baths (by even just one … Read more