Safety is going to be a top priority in your restaurant. This is partly because of liability, but it is also about doing things the right way. You want your employees to be safe, which is why you have policies and procedures, and everything is up to code. You also want your guests to be safe. Some of this comes down to the physical environment – making sure there are wet floor signs up after someone mops and that there are clear signage and lighting on steps and walkways. The other way you look out for customer safety is by safely storing food in your restaurant. Read on for tips!
First In, First Out
“First in, first out” or FIFO is the golden rule of food storage, without a doubt. When you are restocking food, you never put the new items in front of the old things. You want to move the older items up and put the newer items behind them. Why? This is because what is in the front is what that will get used and come out first. Most people do not pull from the back. So if you are “burying” older stuff behind new stuff, that older stuff goes unused and continues to age until it is not usable anymore. FIFO ensures that ingredients are rotated continuously to stay fresh, and nothing gets too old accidentally. For food safety, make sure that all of your employees know about and understand FIFO and adhere to the policies. Gravity flow racks, or even just simple slanted wire shelves can help with this since the older stuff slides down to the front automatically.
Temperature and Humidity
A lot of food storage safety comes down to maintaining temperatures. Some foods need to be kept cold in a fridge or freezer, but not everything. A lot of your products will be stored in a food storeroom. That storeroom should be between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit with about 15% humidity. Too much moisture can lead to mold growth. You should also make sure food is stored away from the walls. If there is condensation from temperature differentiation (especially in fridges), the condensation could drip down the walls and wet the food items or cause mold.
Make sure that there is a proper place for everything and that those things go back into their places. Meat should never be stored above other food in a fridge (in case it drips). Containers should all have clear labels with dates. Finally, absolutely no food can be stored on the floor, or even within 6 inches of the floor, no matter how it is packaged. This code was passed by the FDA in 2009 and is designed to limit the amount of food that gets contaminated by dust, moisture, or other contaminants.
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