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National Restaurant Association - How to reduce pathogen growth in marinades

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How to reduce pathogen growth in marinades

Used to flavor foods, marinades can add dimension to restaurant recipes. They can also present food safety issues if food handlers do not follow protocol. Here, ServSafe offers insight regarding these topics:

Cross-contamination. Never reuse marinade that’s already been used once. For example, when a food handler removes raw chicken from marinade, he or she should not add more chicken to the leftover solution due to possible pathogen introduction. Wash, rinse and sanitize the container and utensils between each treatment.

Time and temperature controls. Most commercially prepared marinades do not require refrigeration prior to opening. Once the seal has been broken or a housemade batch has been prepared, care for it as you would a TCS food. If a restaurant intends to not refrigerate a marinade with a pH lower than 4.6, the operator must obtain a variance from the local health department and implement a HAACP plan.

When refrigerating raw proteins steeped in marinade, the container should remain covered and positioned below covered, ready-to-eat food.  Do not use copper containers, as acids in the marinade may extract the mineral, creating an environment conducive for chemical poisoning. When cooking the marinated protein, hit minimum internal temperatures and time requirements outlined by the Food and Drug Administration to lessen the chance of foodborne illness.

Labeling. If a health inspector arrives at your restaurant, he or she will inquire about the contents of containers chilling in the refrigerator. Clearly label the container with marinade and protein names as well as the time and date prepared.

Also indicate any allergens included in your marinade on back-of-house prep labels and on your menu.

Expiration. When whipping up your own marinades, aim to create only enough to last that day. When utilizing a commercial product, abide by the use-by date.  

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