Some Cook-Chill Questions Answered

Questions from FE&S Cook-Chill Webcast Answered by Panelist Paul Hysen, FACHE, FAAHC
President, The Hysen Group.

Would you address storage temperatures and length of holding time?
We recommend 28 degrees F to 30 degrees F for holding cook-chill product. FDA Food Code 2013 allows a 30-day storage length but a variance for a specific product may allow for a longer period.

Is there any interest today in old style cook-freeze systems?
Yes. Many products can be frozen for later use.

Pumping product and product viscosity levels: What can we pump and what can't we pump?
Depends on the product, the ingredients, size of ingredients and the pump system.

At what temps should you hold foods prepared using cook-chill prior to usage or distribution?
We recommend 28 degrees F to 30 degrees F for holding cook-chill product.

Can you give some names of labs to use for testing?
Depends if you want to stay local or go national. Try searching for the term "food testing laboratories" on the Internet — it should turn up a big list.

What is the proper formula for sizing an ice builder for a cook-chill job?
Generally speaking figure 1 Btu per pound of product per degree Fahrenheit. With a temperature drop of 140 degrees F (water has 144 Btu per pound) equates to approximately 1 pound of ice for one pound of product.

What is the most efficient equipment to rethermalize chilled product?
No specific equipment required. Depends on product and desired appearance of finished product.

What are some of the recipe modifications needed to ensure the best formulation?
Generally the type of starch used and to some extent to lessen the amount of spices used.

With a cook/chill process how complex is traceability?
All cook-chill products must be tagged with a production date, discard or last use date, and list of ingredients. Standardized batch size and recipes make record keeping a straightforward matter.

Do state or county health codes take issue with cook-chill? Any challenges in passing a health inspection?
Regulatory agencies should not have an issue if the 2013 FDA Food Code is followed.

How do we identify companies that can work with us in monitoring pathogen growth and recipe development?
Experienced consultants are available as are research chefs and food technologists.

What resources are available to assist converting standardized recipes to be compatible with cook-chill process?
Experienced consultants are available as are research chefs and food technologists. Ingredient suppliers and cook-chill equipment suppliers can also provide assistance.

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