What Are The Most Common Restaurant Storage Safety Tips?

Safety is the number one priority when handling food. It is not a chore to appease the health inspector. Safe handling and proper food storage can help prevent your customers from getting sick. Whether you are a veteran of the food industry or you are new, reviewing these three tips can improve your restaurant’s operations and keep your guests safe. 

Remember FIFO

FIFO, or first in first out, should be the mantra when using stock. This rule is followed when it comes to stock rotation and use. When you get a delivery, place the new stock behind the previous stock. Doing so can help reduce waste as you won’t have goods stored past their shelf life. Use the stock at the front to always make sure of the oldest products first. 

Train your employees to track the expiration dates on all of the goods that are in storage. A sheet listing the expiration of new and existing products can easily show this information. Stress the importance of using goods before their expiration date for safety and quality purposes. 

Keep your storage dry and dark.

A dark and dry storage area can maximize the storage time of foods. Whether it is dry goods in the pantry storage or cold products in a freezer or refrigerator, the ideal conditions are out of direct sunlight. This helps control the temperature and prevent the food from degrading. Products with vitamins D, A, K, and E, can also break down in sunlight because they are fat-soluble. 

The humidity levels should stay lower than 15% to help preserve the quality of your product. Packaging that is moisture-proof and air conditioning can maintain the appropriate levels. It is also best to keep a hygrometer in your storage areas to verify the humidity levels remain consistent. To protect your food from contaminants and vermin, place shelves, so food is at least six inches from the walls and floor and one foot from the ceiling. 

Storage temperature is the key.

Depending on the product that you store, temperatures may change from freezing to warm. Maintain a dry storage temperature and freezers must keep food frozen solid with an internal temperature at most. It is best to make sure that the refrigerator has a proper temperature to prevent bacterial growth. 

These temperature ranges are needed to prevent food poisoning. It is best to track temperatures and discard any food that is stored at the wrong temperature. Consider installing alarms that are tied to the thermometers in the storage units to alert you or your employees of critical temperature changes that could affect food quality and safety. 

It is also important to know the temperature that you must cook food because it will determine the shelf where you will store them in the refrigerator. The lower the finished temperature of cooked food, the higher a shelf you store it on. Cooked foods and ready-to-eat ones need to stay on the top shelf, wrapped tightly to prevent cross-contamination. Any ready-to-eat meats and cheeses go on the shelf below. 

Any raw food should be kept on the bottom three shelves. The third shelf from the top should hold raw fish and shellfish. Below that, you can keep raw beef, pork, and veal. These also include cuts and steaks but not ground meat. The bottom shelf holds ground meat and whole eggs. 

Foods that need cooking thoroughly must stay in enclosed pans or shelving that are non-absorbent. You can use airtight containers where it is possible to store food. This can protect the food from drying out and preserving the quality.  

For quality purposes, it is best to have your freezer and refrigerator maintained. It is best to call your local service provider because they can clean your equipment for you and keep the food fresh and clean. Commercial refrigeration repair in St. Louis can fix and clean your equipment for maximum food quality.