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Freezer and Refrigerator Temperature

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Posted 30 January 2024 - 09:03 PM

Our freezer and refrigerator are showing fluctuations in temperature.  The temperature of the refrigerator is showing up as 45 °F - 51 °F while the temperature of the freezer is showing up as 8°F - 11°F. So far, the thing that I have understood about the freezer is that the temperature of the Freezer is supposed to be 0°F or less (like in negatives) and the temperature of the refrigerator is supposed to be 41°F. When we called the maintenance people, they fixed the refrigerator, but it is still fluctuating and as for the freezer they said that it is normal to have the freezer temperature above 0°F. So, I am a little confused if we need to make sure that the freezer temperature is at 0°F or less.



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Posted 30 January 2024 - 10:46 PM

I'd first get new refrigeration maintenance people and then go from there.


Based on what you store in your freezer and your own target temperature that should be basis enough for dictating to the service people what you want not what they WAG. 

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 08:26 AM

Additional to what has been told.


First, I would suggest keeping another portable temperature data logger to confirm the reading.


After comparing the reading between the fixed and portable temperature data logger you shall explain to the maintenance team what the effect on quality is when storing the frozen goods at a temperature ranging from 8°F - 11°F. Such negative effects can not be seen by the naked eye.


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Posted 31 January 2024 - 03:48 PM

Food service/state food code and general public - FDA advice is to keep refrigerators under 41 and freezers below 0.


Food Manufacturing/Federally regulated: different requirements.


We have a caveat with our refrigerator temps. They are to be under 40 F. If it is above 40 F (FDA has 41, USDA says 40) - product temperature to be taken every 1 hour until the cooler is 40 or below. Product must be below 40. 


Only if the product temperature goes above 40 then a deviation in our process has occurred and requires a corrective action. 


Note: we set our refrigeration temps at 36 or lower. 


Freezer temperatures: I've seen 11 or lower. It depends on your product. If your product is still frozen at 11 then yes it is acceptable. 


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Posted 31 January 2024 - 05:08 PM

The range you're seeing isn't uncommon, but the top end of where those ranges are hitting is problematic.  What do your raw material/finished product specs state for storage temperatures?  I'm with others that over 41F is unacceptable for refrigeration: ideally you'd want a set point below the standard deviation of your thermoprobes to account for fluctuations and always keep product under 40-41F (depending on which agency has jurisdiction over your plant).


For the freezer, 0F is ideal and most specs I've seen call for that temp when discussing freezing.  Could be your unit is undersized for the area it's controlling, could be you're constantly loading hot stuff into the spaces and it's causing temps to rise, etc.  Depending on what your specifications and programs state, this is a major issue.

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