Don’t let this happen to your cooler

KNOXVILLE (WATE) — Knox County health inspectors were forced to temporarily close a North Knoxville deli this week over a walk-in cooler that was way too warm.

When the inspector found the walk-in refrigerator at 60 degrees and not working properly, she ordered a lot of food thrown away including ham, turkey, meatballs, pepperoni, bacon, eggs, and cheese.

Nearly 100 pounds of food were ordered thrown away because they weren’t safe to eat. Garelli’s was closed until the refrigerator was repaired.

Plus, the inspector found a roach crawling on the kitchen floor. Garelli’s pest control company was ordered to pay a visit.

Maybe the roach was attracted to the moldy grapes, celery and rotten tomatoes the inspector found in the refrigerator.

Mold was also found in the ice machine and water was leaking onto the kitchen floor.

Garelli’s is open again.

Here are some tips to help you pass your restaurant inspection.

Make sure your walk-in has insulation that will retain it’s r-value well over time. And always make sure your refrigeration unit is functioning properly.

Walk-in Cooler Maintenance Tips

Maintaining your walk-in coolers and freezers is pretty simple. For starters, a clean walk-in is an efficient one. Your staff is likely are trained to keep both the interior and exterior clean and sanitary (use a mild soap detergent and damp mop), but key components can sometimes be overlooked. Pay particular attention to:

Door gaskets. Keep clean and pliable. Replace when worn.

Hinges and door closers. Check regularly for proper opening.

Condenser and fan. Keep clean and free of grease so they can do a more effective job of transferring heat. Since most of you will use remote refrigeration systems, that will mean a trip up to the roof for someone on a regular basis.

Condenser and drain lines. Keep them clear and schedule checks of the seals where they enter the building.

Beyond checking these areas, it makes sense to schedule servicing every three months if your system is self-contained and every six months if it’s remote.

These tips come from the February 2009 issue of Foodservice Equipment Magazine. Find the full article here. The article also details the new government EISA rules and new innovations in walk-in component technology from glass doors to compressors.