How long can milk sit on the counter if it's not in an insulated jug? Not long, according to New York State Department of Health Food Inspector Mr. Hale.
Milk products need to remain a constant 45°F. If it doesn't, there's the possibility that microorganisms that produce illness and disease will grow inside. So if you see clumps, it's more than likely owners and employees aren't minding the Department of Health regulations.
Certainly violations are never intentional, because even the best shops are cited for violations. Recently, health inspectors closed down a popular eatery, Coffee Shop, for several refrigeration violations. This cafe might be recognizable - it was used in the filming of HBO's Sex and the City. The owner disputed many of them, saying that in the 17 years he's been in business, his café had consistently scored very well. Not well enough it seems, because the inspector spent nearly three-and-a-half hours grading the restaurant instead of the usual 60 minutes.
Hale said that regular inspections are an important part of the job. And while busier restaurants and cafés tend to be inspected more often, smaller establishments need to maintain the same level of cleanliness. Risk assignments are given depending on the diversity and complexity of the menu – high, medium and low risk. So if you're a busy, full-service restaurant you'd be assigned a higher risk, making it more likely that you'll be inspected.
So how are customers at a low-risk coffee shop protected by the Department of Health? Hale said seasonal inspectors are hired to examine low-risk facilities and keep up with inspections. The largest culprit is always the refrigeration of food, he said. Keeping things at the right temperature is extremely important. And using equipment that is certified by the National Sanitation Foundation or NSF is important because it ensures certain standards in the food service industry.
We carry both refrigerator thermometers and insulated vacuum stainless steel milk carafes that are NSF certified. So next time you're hosting a party or if you already own a café, you can use these and rest assured that your milk will stay cold, longer.
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