Proper food storage adds to your bottom line

Proper food storage is a critical way to protect the safety of food as well as your bottom line. We're all looking for ways to protect our food and profit. With that in mind, let's review some key food storage points.

  • Check temperatures of all storage areas and equipment at least once a day.
  • Refrigerated storage needs to maintain food at 41 degrees F or below. That means the air temp of the cooler needs to be between 36-38 F to insure the internal temp of the food is kept at 41 or less.
  • Frozen storage areas should be maintained at 0 to -10 F.
  • Dry storage should be maintained at 50-70 F.
  • Record the temperatures and the time they were taken.
  • Keep storage areas clean.
  • Store all food and supplies at least 6 inches off the floor.
  • Keep food in original containers or labeled containers approved for food storage.
  • Use the First In, First Out (FIFO) method of inventory rotation. Dating products and storing new products behind old products will make FIFO easy to follow.
  • To prevent cross contamination store food in a cooler in the following order:
    • Cooked and ready-to-eat foods on the top or highest shelf.
    • Whole meat on the shelf below the ready-to-eat items.
    • Ground meat below the whole meat.
    • Poultry items on the lowest shelf.

Kathy Brandt, Extension educator and Deb Botzek-Linn, former Extension educator

Reviewed in 2018

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