Many restaurants employ a secret weapon that some food safety certified professionals call their digital chef. The digital chef refers to a facility’s microwave, and while most restaurants and food producers prefer to cook everything as fresh as possible, instances occur when microwave cooking becomes unavoidable.
Proper Microwave Use for Food Safety Certified Workers
All food cooked in a microwave needs to maintain an internal temperature of 165 degrees before being served. No food cooked any lower than well-done can be served if cooked in a microwave, and reheated precooked food must meet the 165-degree requirement. Once food reaches the temperature requirement, the Minnesota Food Code states that cooked product needs to stand for two minutes before serving in order to maintain temperature.
The method used for microwave cooking depends on what type of food your digital chef must prepare. The following guide shows specific rules that the food code requires you to adhere to.
- Rotate all product must halfway through cooking
- Stir liquid foods such as soup periodically to achieve an even temperature
- Cover raw product to maintain moisture
When we discuss the thawing of raw proteins in ServeSafe training courses, we recommend that food safety certified professionals use a microwave as a last resort. Any frozen item thawed in a microwave needs to be cooked and served immediately. Product thawed in a microwave cannot be stored for later use.
Microwaves can sometimes be a lifesaver in the kitchen, but every food service worker should be aware of safe procedures to prevent food-borne illness as a result. Do you rely on your digital chef, or do you prefer to cook 100 percent of your product from scratch?