Storing Foods

Storing Foods

As soon as your food is delivered and has been properly checked in, it should be placed into storage. There are 3 types of storage namely refrigerated units, freezers and dry storage. A storage principle that effectively rotates stock of both perishable and nonperishable items helps to prevent foods from spoiling or rotting. This system is known as "First In, First Out" or FIFO. It means that any food or preparation that is newly delivered or freshly prepared goes to the back of the shelf.

 

Refrigeration and freezing units should be regularly maintained and equipped with thermometers to make sure that the temperature remains within a safe range. Although we have seen that chilling foods doesn't actually destroy pathogens, cold temperatures do drastically slow down reproduction. In general, refrigerators should be kept between 36 and 40oF (2 and 4oC), but food quality is better maintained if certain foods can be stored at specific temperatures -

 

Meat and poultry - 32 to 36oF (0 to 2oC)

 

Fish and shellfish - 30 to 34oF (-1 to 1oC)

 

Eggs - 38 to 40oF (3 to 4oC)

 

Dairy products - 36 to 40oF (2 to 4oC)

 

Produce - 40 to 45oF (4 to 7oC)

 

Separate refrigerators for each of the above categories is ideal, but if necessary, a single unit can be divided into sections. The front of the box will be the warmest area, the back the coldest.

 

Before being put in the refrigerator, food should be properly cooled, stored in clean containers, wrapped and labeled clearly with the contents and date. Store raw products below and away from cooked foods to prevent cross-contamination by dripping. Make sure the fan is not blocked and that the doors close properly.

Freezers should be at 32oF (0oC) or below. They also should be cleaned and put in order regularly. Foods need to be clearly labeled and a system for checking and rotating frozen goods should be maintained.

 

Dry storage is used for foods such as canned goods, spices, condiments, cereals, staples such as flour and sugar, as well as for some fruits and vegetables that do not require refrigeration and have low perish-ability. Keep this area clean and be sure that there is proper ventilation. Moisture, direct light, and heat are likely to reduce shelf life for many foods.

 

Foods should not be stored directly on the floor or near the walls. Provide adequate shelving to prevent crowding. All containers (including boxes and cans) should be labeled with a date. Use a separate area for cleaning supplies.

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