Food_Storage_in _refrigerated_Condition

Food Storage Condition

For retaining the quality and texture of raw material before processing or food product after processing, it is necessary to have them stored in condition which repress or hinders the growth of microorganism, helps in retaining flavor, color, texture and nutrients and reduces the chance of contracting food borne illness. When food is not properly stored or it is not used in a timely manner, it could become unsafe to eat as they could allow for contaminants to get into food by allowing for bacteria, naturally present in food to grow. To keep food safe during storage, make safe storage practices part of your food safety plan.

Foods are generally categorized into three steam of highly perishable foods, semi-perishable foods and staple or non-perishable foods, which makes easy to designate type of storage condition for each on basis of their perishability rate. Time and temperature can be set on the basis, before selling or before being used up, after which they should be discarded properly to prevent any cross contamination from them to healthy foods.

Factors to be Considered

  1. Food Rotation: The best advice in the effective use of a dry goods storeroom is to rotate. Hence it’s advisable to have dates on all foods and containers so that FIFO can be employed. It takes a bit of imagination and craft to position foods within a storeroom to best implement this principle. Keep a handy and readily visible record of the “use by” and “sell by” dates of the received foods and the shelf life in general.
  2. Humidity: Ideally, storage areas should have a humidity level of 15% or less and most packaging is designed for the food it contains and will remain in good condition for their given shelf-life in the absence of temperature and humidity abuse. For instance, the cardboard box will help cushion jars and other glass containers from breakage. Oxygen is a major threat to the quality of food. The chances are that moisture-proof packaging is also airtight. The less head gas (<2% O2) in a package, the longer its shelf life is maintained.
  3. Temperature: Keeping storerooms cool, dry and well ventilated is key requirement. The temperature should be between 50°F and 70°F. The cooler, the better. The storage lives of most foods are cut in half by every increase of 18°F (10°C). Cool storage reduces respiratory activity and the degradation of enzymes; it reduces internal water loss and inhibits the growth of decay producing organisms. For maintaining optimal temperature, adequate ventilation should be provided (some air exchange rate is absolutely essential). The storeroom should be free of un-insulated steam and water pipes, water heaters, transformers, refrigeration condensing units, steam generators or other heat producing equipment.
  4. Sunlight: Food products should be always avoided from storing foods in direct sunlight as sunlight promotes oxidation and the subsequent loss of the food’s nutritional value and quality. Fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E and K are particularly sensitive to light degradation. It is far better to block sunlight on windows and skylights and rely on artificial illumination for the time the storeroom is in use
  5. Vermin: To prevent the entry of insects, rodents and birds into the storeroom, doors and windows should be rodent and insect-proofed and kept closed whenever possible. Any opening to the outside should be sealed and all structural cracks and crevices promptly repaired. Bait boxes, if needed, should be regularly monitored and any damaged bait boxes and spilled bait should be carefully cleaned up and removed.

Types of Storage

  1. Dry Storage: For dry storage of food material storerooms needs to be cool, dry, and well ventilated. Dry stored food should be away from walls and at least six inches off the floor. They should not come in direct contact with sunlight. Durable containers that cannot be damaged by water or pests should be used for storing and temperature should be set between 10°C and 21°C and humidity levels should be maintained between 60% and 70%.
  2. Frozen Storage: Freezer temperature should be kept at -18°C and it should be periodically checked by placing a freezer thermometer near the front of the freezer. Freezers should never be overloaded with products. Frozen food deliveries should be placed in the freezer as soon as they have been inspected and no warm food should be directly put into freezer. Placement of food in store should be such that they allow for good air circulation. Defrosting of freezer at regular interval of time is very important.
  3. Refrigerated Storage: Temperature should be kept at 4°C or below and potentially hazardous food must be at 5°C or colder to prevent bacterial growth. Refrigerator thermometer should be placed on the top shelf near the door and should be checked periodically. Shelves should not be lined with foil because this prevents air circulation.

Good Warehousing Practices

  1. All items should be stored to avoid direct contact with the floor (e.g. on pallets, slip sheets, or racks). Sitting or standing on product shipping cases is not acceptable. Over stacking of product must be avoided.
  2. Products must not be stored immediately adjacent to containers for waste or non-product items (e.g. cleaning compounds).
  3. Soiled and dusty exteriors of cartons or other product containers shall be cleaned before they are conveyed into the warehouse or to customers.
  4. Broken or spilled product should be cleaned up in a timely manner.
  5. Doors and gates (e.g. cargo doors) should not be left open when not in use.
  6. Fork lift trucks (FLT) shall be in good repair, clean, free from leaks. FTL utilized inside a facility shall preferably be electric powered. Though Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) is also acceptable but gasoline or diesel powered FTL only allowed outside facility.
  7. FLT batteries shall be stored in a designated area in such a way as to avoid risk of material or product contamination.
  8. All materials and products should be properly identified and labelled.
  9. Activities like eating or drinking, chewing gum or tobacco, smoking, holding objects in the mouth (e.g. toothpicks), and spitting shall not be allowed.
  10. Controls shall be in place to ensure that employees wash their hands when necessary.
  11. Garbage facilities / compactors shall be adequately covered.
  12. Pallets must be stored in areas that are free of moisture, dirt and litter and free of bird, insect or rodent contamination.
  13. Pallets should not be stored outside.
  14. A pallet inspection program should be in place to verify that pallets are suitable for use.

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