Tip of the Week

What is the difference between an infrared temperature scanner and a probe thermometer?

An infrared scanner takes a surface temperature and a probe thermometer takes the core temperature of a product.

We recommend a kitchen has both an infrared temperature scanner and a probe thermometer.  They do different jobs and using the appropriate temperature device will reduce any cross contamination between raw and ready to eat foods.

An infrared thermometer takes the temperature of the outside surface of the food only, so does not tell you the internal temperature of the item.  Therefore, it is only suitable for checking the temperature of cold foods where we just need to check the surface temperature.

Ideal uses would be checking the temperature of cold food deliveries, such as raw meat or fish or chilled ready to eat foods.  We recommend you use an Infrared scanner rather than a probe to check the temperatures of deliveries.  Advantages are that the temperature is checked without disturbing the packaging and there is no potential for cross contamination caused by probing raw foods.

An infrared thermometer is also good for checking the temperature of chilled ready to eat foods in display fridges (sandwiches, salads etc.) as it avoids potential cross contamination.

A probe thermometer must be used to check the core temperature of cooked food.  When cooking, the outside of the food will be a lot hotter than the core.  To ensure the food is cooked through, we need to check the core cooking temperature with a temperature probe.


Calibrate your scanner and probe each week to ensure they are working correctly.  Scan/probe ice water and the temperature should record 0°C (or a maximum tolerance of 1° either way), then scan/probe boiling water and the temperature should record 100°C (or a maximum tolerance of 1° either way)

Weekly Food Fact

Did you know that Leeks are at their very best in the month of February. Leeks are surprisingly good for you as they are very high in vitamins and antioxidants that help fight off those winter colds. They also help reduce bad cholesterol. This is why leeks feature in many “national” dishes – Cornish pasties, the Welsh soup dish – Cawl. Leeks are considered good luck in Wales.

Do you run your school catering in-house? Download the brochure below for information on keeping your catering team compliant and up to date with the latest legislation

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