Whether you are storing food at home or at work, you need to be aware of health and safety requirements. Know your food facts. Different foods can tolerate different temperatures; put food in a place which is too warm, and you could inadvertently ruin it, or create a food poisoning disaster.
Placing food in a container that allows oxygen seep in could make it turn stale, or allow weevils or other insects to enter. Try explaining to a health inspector, or even your kids, how those tiny little grubs got into the biscuits.
Some foods, if not refrigerated, could be ruined before they are used which is a huge waste of money. However, refrigerating unnecessarily is also an expense you don’t want to create.
If you are dealing with particularly large quantities of food, bulk storage systems are available from companies such as Elbowroom, which sells containers, pallets and refrigeration for storage.
Here are some fundamental food storage tips:
Food grade plastic containers
Containers which will store foods in for long periods need to be “food grade”. Food grade containers do not transfer chemicals into the food, nor do they contain any chemicals which are hazardous to humans. To identify a food-grade container, look for a #2 next to the recycle symbol, or the acronym HDPE (High Density Polythylene) stamped on the base. Before storing food the containers need to be cleaned with warm, soapy water, rinsed and thoroughly dried. Lids need to be air tight and spill proof, such as those with gaskets, or gamma lids, which do not need lid openers.
Shelving and pallets and systems
It is advisable to find a solution from the one source; this ensures containers fit shelf sizes, pallets and refrigerated systems. From a range of container sizes for varying food types, to shelf and cupboard or cool room sizes, ensure there is a good range to provide flexibility and potentially expansion. Shelving which is designed for food storage, such as REA shelving, provides strong, sturdy framework and has a long lifespan. It cleans easily and will not corrode.
Cool rooms are expensive, and if you need one, ensure it can be densely packed and efficiently fit the container-shape you will be using. Refrigerator pallets perform this role well, all you need is a detailed understanding of your usage requirements. Ensure that safely regulations are considered during the initial planning
Hygiene is important, and compliance with industry and government regulations is critical. If you are seeking a solution through one-stop company, you may be able to outsource much of the compliance legwork to a professional consultant. This not only saves you time, but guarantees you will address this aspect correctly.
As obvious as it sounds, labeling is necessary when storing food. Use-by dates are part of required regulations; moreover, finding foodstuffs quickly and efficiently save employees valuable time. A clear, logical labelling system with an easily referenced filing plan needs to be developed.
The best systems for keeping your food safe are those which meet industry standards as well as your individual needs. What are your most innovative or effective food storage solutions?