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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » BUTTER MACHINES

Allan Barnes
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 102
Registered: Mar 2009

 - posted 05-12-2019 09:00 PM      Profile for Allan Barnes   Author's Homepage   Email Allan Barnes   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I am looking for a BUTTER MACHINE that has a TEMPERATURE display on the outside of the machine... NOT FOR ME.... but for the local HEALTH INSPECTOR. It appears, this a "thing" now. If you have seen one, please post a reply with the MAKE and MODEL. A simple google search failed me.

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Kenneth Wuepper
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1008
From: Saginaw, MI, USA
Registered: Feb 2002

 - posted 05-13-2019 04:24 PM      Profile for Kenneth Wuepper   Email Kenneth Wuepper   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If this is a requirement, then ask the inspector for the source of the required machine.

Is the temperature of the oil all that is in question? Then a small hand held dial food thermometer could be adequate. I doubt that remote measurement thermometers would be accepted.

It is not possible to require a standard temperature without specifying the means of measurement.

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Marcel Birgelen
Film God

Posts: 2980
From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2012

 - posted 05-14-2019 07:14 PM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sometimes it helps to ask those guys to produce the actual text in the health code that implies that it is a requirement for any butter dispenser to show the actual temperature...

I've had similar discussions with those inspector types, but once you're simply asking them to provide proof of their self-made fantasies, they start to back down.

There might be that made-in-china dispenser unit out there that actually has a temperature indication, but I've never seen one myself.

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Randy Stankey
Film God

Posts: 6479
From: Erie, Pennsylvania
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 05-14-2019 08:35 PM      Profile for Randy Stankey   Email Randy Stankey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah, I heard a tale of a fire inspector who barged into a theater on the opening night of a big show and demanded to see proof that the stage curtains had been fireproofed.

As you may know, stage goods have a tag sewn into them that says how and when they were fireproofed. (Or whether the material is "intrinsically fire retardant." i.e. made of fire resistant material.)

So, when the stage manager (my former boss) pulled up a curtain tail and showed him the tag, the inspector demanded to see *ALL* the tags on *EVERY* piece of stage goods in the place. My boss naturally refused the order because he was not about to haul in every line set when it was less than an hour before curtain time.

The inspector, then, took out a cigarette lighter and threatened to "test" the curtains by trying to set them on fire. (Of course, he held his other hand outstretched, palm up, as he flicked the lighter.)

My boss looked him straight in the face and said, "Go ahead... I'll be sure the Fire Marshall knows who set the building on fire."

The guy left in a huff and, a phone call later, that particular inspector was never heard from again.

Point being, there are a lot of self-important A-holes who think they can go around bullying (and bribing) their way through their jobs but don't really know much more than the average person about safety or the laws regarding safety.

Come to think of it, shouldn't the melting temperature of butter be above the safe serving temperature? Doesn't butter begin to melt at 90-something degrees Fahrenheit? In order to be fully liquid so that it can flow through the pump, it would have to be well into the 100's. As long as the equipment is regularly cleaned, I can't imagine how a butter pump would be unsafe.

A reasonably intelligent person should be able to make a visual inspection of a butter pump to see whether it is properly cleaned and maintained. Any decent quality instant read thermometer should be able to tell you whether the butter is at the right temperature.

Don't food inspectors carry instant read thermometers?

It sounds, to me, like this food inspector was walking around with his hand out, so to speak.

I might have told the guy to go inside the auditorium to see if there is anything in there to inspect. That should take, what? About two hours to inspect all the food in the theater? [Wink]

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Stephan Shelley
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 794
From: castro valley, CA, usa
Registered: Nov 2014

 - posted 05-15-2019 04:23 PM      Profile for Stephan Shelley   Email Stephan Shelley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Most popcorn topping products are designed to be stored safely at room temp including Odells butterfat. Only butter that is melted down has to be refrigerated. Don't see why a temp readout is needed.

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Sarah Treichel
Film Handler

Posts: 3
From: Fort Kent, ME USA
Registered: Apr 2019

 - posted 05-17-2019 11:45 AM      Profile for Sarah Treichel   Email Sarah Treichel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I am very new to movie theaters, but weirdly I have a background in microbiology and food service management, so I can speak to this issue a bit. Pathogens can grow at room temp, but they grow really well if you warm things up a bit. In the lab, lots of common bacteria are incubated between 78 and 98 degrees F for fast growth. So even if your topping is shelf-stable, you should store it in a cool place and heat it quickly to at least 140 degrees when serving. When I worked in a restaurant, health inspectors always checked to make sure we had those little quick-read thermometers ready to go and that we documented our food temps several times a day. Even if your butter warmer had a temperature gauge, best practice would still be to stick a clean thermometer into the center of the liquid, away from the sides. Probably why nobody bothers putting a temperature gauge on butter warmers.

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Marcel Birgelen
Film God

Posts: 2980
From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2012

 - posted 05-17-2019 12:47 PM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, yes, local health regulation may require you to log temperatures at regular intervals, but it almost never specifies that your heating or cooling equipment has to be equipped with a thermometer itself. Instant read thermometers are cheap nowadays and are sufficient for most tasks.

Much of the thermometers integrated in equipment isn't really calibrated anyways.

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