Monitor Food Storage Better With Checklists
When storing food, you should follow the food storage guidelines set by your local government. Having proper procedures in place is of interest to any business in the food and hospitality industry to maintain food safety
Inappropriately stored food is associated with the risk of causing foodborne illness in consumers. In addition, diligent storage is associated with costly consequences, such as fines, penalties, product recalls, the complete shutdown of production facilities, or the closure of food service establishments.
Using checklists helps with planning, implementing and monitoring food storage. This makes it easier to set uniform standards for food storage and comply with legal regulations. As a result, companies in the food industry can guarantee the safety and quality of food. It also reduces costs by reducing the amount of food that expires and needs to be disposed of before it is consumed. It’s also important to take regular and accurate food temperature logs using a template.
This article covers the topics:
Simple Guidelines for Proper Food Storage
Safe food storage is an essential aspect in the food industry. It is important for smooth operations that food safety and quality standards are maintained at all times. As a food retailer, producer or restaurant, it should be a top priority for your business to always have food storage controls in place.
You should always follow these guidelines for storing different types of food:
1. Dry Foods
Dry foods include baked goods, cereals, cerials and canned goods. These products are stored in dry storage areas. The following guidelines should be followed:
- The storage area should be cool and dry. An ideal temperature range is between 50 °F and 59 °F (10 °C and 15 °C) to prevent swelling and spoiling.
- Walls, ceiling and floor openings should be sealed and protected.
- The storage area should be easy to clean and free of rodents and vermin.
- It should be well lit and have adequate air circulation.
- Food should not be exposed to direct heat and sunlight, and should be stored with sufficient off the floor and walls.
- In a food storage should not be stored toxic substances. This means that cleaning products and chemicals should not be stored in the same room as perishable food.
- The storage room should be equipped with a lock that can be locked to prevent theft.
2. Refrigerated Products
Products that need to be stored in a cool place include raw food or fresh produce. Refrigeration extends shelf life and prevents the growth of bacteria. These guidelines should be followed when refrigerating food:
- The refrigerator temperature should be 4 °C (39 °F) or cooler.
- The temperature should be monitored throughout with a thermometer to allow for easy and accurate readings.
- Refrigerators should be in good condition and serviced at regular intervals.
- Refigerators should have sufficient open, slotted shelving to allow air circulation.
- Refrigerator cleaning should be done regularly. This should include checking the expiration dates of the goods.
- Refrigerated products should be stored in containers or sealed storage bags to prevent spillage and cross-contamination.
- Refrigerators should always be tightly closed and seals checked regularly to ensure that appropriate temperatures are maintained.
3. Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are often stored in the refrigerator, with some exceptions. Cold season crops such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts and potatoes should be stored at cooler temperatures, while warm season crops such as corn, cucumbers and tomatoes should also be stored at warmer temperatures. Below are tips for storing these foods:
- Unripe fruits will ripen at a storage temperature of 50 °F to 59 °F (10 °C to 15 °C)
- Rotting fruit should be removed from the crate to prevent so that it does not affect the quality of the other fruit in the crate.
- Products that should not be stored in the refrigerator must be stored specifically.
- The different shelf life of product varieties should be kept in mind.
- Several berries should not be stored for too long.
4. Dairy Products
Dairy products should be stored at temperatures between 2 °C and 4 °C (36 °F and 39 °F). In addition, to protect these foods from spoilage and contamination during storage, the following guidelines should be followed:
- Dairy products should be stored in a dedicated area.
- Protective covers or containers prevent the absorption of strong odors from the storage environment.
- The type of goods should not be ordered too far in advance of the date they will be used.
- Ideally, dairy products should be delivered daily. You can use a food delivery checklist to determine the correct safety procedures when transporting food depending on the type, distance, and available storage containers.
5. Fresh Meat, Poultry and Seafood
Fresh meat, poultry and seafood are the foods that need the most attention during storage. These products should be stored at a temperature of 39 °F (4 °C) or cooler. This will prevent the growth of bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.
The following guidelines should be followed for goods of this type:
- Cooked products belong on the lower shelves of the refrigerator, under the cooked products.
- Meat from the butcher should be unwrapped and hung, stored at a temperature of 34 °F to 37 °F (1 °C to 3 °C), and placed over absorbent paper to catch drips.
- Fresh meat should not be stored for too long.
- Deboned meat should be stored for only 3 days.
- Individual cuts should be consumed within 2 days (better still on the day of cutting).
- Individual cuts of meat should be stored at a temperature of 2 °C to 4 °C (36 °F to 39 °F) in plastic or stainless steel trays.
- Fresh poultry should be stored wrapped in ice in the refrigerator.
- Fresh seafood should be packed in ice and stored at 30 °F to 34 °F (-1 °C to 2 °C) and consumed quickly.
6. Frozen Food
Frozen food includes all foods that are preserved by freezing to maintain quality and freshness. These are mainly fruits and vegetables or fish and meat. Without proper storage and temperature, these foods discolor during storage, or lose their nutritional content, or cause food poisoning in consumers.
The following factors should be considered for frozen foods in food storage to prevent freezer burn, moisture loss, and the transfer of odors from other foods:
- Goods should be stored in freezer-safe containers or freezer bags with as little air as possible inside.
- Freezer bags or freezer containers should be labeled to help monitor shelf life.
- Hot foods should be cooled before freezing.
- Freezers should have a temperature of 17 °C (0 °F ) or below.
- Freezer units should be equipped with thermometers for continuous monitoring.
- Save thermometers should be provided for temperature monitoring in the event of a power failure.
For an all-round internationally recognised food safety standards accreditation, look into the requirements and benefits of a FSSC 22000 certification.
Use a Digital App & Software for Your Food Warehouse
Lumiform’s powerful inspection app allows you to impose and monitor consistent food warehouse standards across your organization. By doing so, you ensure that your live foods meet safety and quality standards.
With Lumiform, you can conduct real-time food warehouse audits via mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets – online and offline. The tool helps you standardize food safety and quality in your organization by conducting inspections that provide accurate and comprehensive results. This significantly reduces the risk of quality losses, documentation errors, and reputational damage.
Digitize your food storage with Lumiform:
- The flexible form builder helps you turn any custom paper list into digital checklists in minutes
- Lumiform offers you pre-made templates to help you get started digitally quickly and securely.
- Using the super intuitive mobile app, you can complete any exam on-site with your teammates a foolproof, time-saving way.
- All audit results are automatically bundled into one report and can be sent to stakeholders.
- Extensive analytics help you uncover inefficient areas in food storage faster and thus continuously improve audit processes.
Try Lumiform for free