As it has been weeks or even months since you have been open, it is important to make sure that the high temperature dish machine is clean and operating properly. The temperature of the final rinse as it enters the manifold may not be more than 194°F (90°C) as it will come out as steam and not effectively sanitize the food contact surfaces. Check the thermometer on the machine to assure the final rinse temperature is 180°F (82°C) to 194°F (90°C).
In addition, you should also verify the final rinse temperature by using a temperature measuring device or an irreversible test strip.
It is important to note that the temperature of the water can drop 20°F after it leaves the manifold, so you should check to ensure the temperature at the food-contact surfaces of the equipment is hitting the proper final rinse temperature between 150°F (66°C) and 165°F (74°C) depending on the type of machine in your establishment.
Test strips like the one below are tied to the dishrack and run through the dish machine. The dark-colored stripe will change to orange if the water temperature is 160°F (71°C). These are not reusable. There are many strips on the market, so read the manufacturer’s instructions prior to use.
There are digital temperature measuring devices available and are reusable. These only require battery replacements. (Read the manufacturer’s instructions for these units prior to use).
Here are the requirements for the different types of dish machines per the FDA Food Code:
- For a stationary rack, single temperature machine, 74°C (165°F);
- For a stationary rack, dual temperature machine, 66°C (150°F);
- For a single tank, conveyor, dual temperature machine, 71°C (160°F);
- For a multi-tank, conveyor, multi-temperature machine, 66°C (150°F).
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