If you own a restaurant, it’s essential that your food safety precautions are at the highest standards when you open for business, and should continue like this for the future. The commercial kitchen along with all other areas that you store your food should be clean and tidy – clean enough to see your own face reflected back at you.
The way in which you store the food is a technique that not only you, but all of your kitchen staff should understand. You should all be familiar (or familiarise yourselves) with these steps.
Any food that arrives at your restaurant should be labeled with a use by date, and then put away in its appropriate place. Putting a label on everything ensures that whoever next picks it up, they know exactly how long is left until it needs to be used up. This is a lot easier than having to remind every new person that goes to use the ingredient, how long is left before it needs to be thrown away.
There is actually a law that needs to be followed in regards to what temperature your food is stored at in order to follow the guidelines. Firstly, your refrigerator should be at 40° F, or just below, and your traulsen freezer should be marked at 0° F. It’s absolutely vital that all of your employees are aware of this so there is no possibility that someone changes the temperature, as this will damage all of the food and you will have to restock everything that was inside it.
You and your staff should all know what the FIFO rule is. If you aren’t familiar, it means: first in, first out. It’s pretty self-explanatory really – whatever food has been stored away first, it should also be the first thing that is used. That way you don’t risk wasting any food from it passing its expiry date, or even worse – serving your customers spoiled food without realising it.
When storing food, you must make sure it has been properly sealed inside an airtight container. If any air gets in, it will just end up spoiling the food. You should use these for all different types of food, not just meat and fish – you can do the same with fruit and vegetables too. This will just prevent it from getting in contact with any cross contamination and bacteria.
Your fridges, freezers and other storage can only do so much. If you pack and pack to the point that there is no breathing room between containers, not only will it be overcrowded, but you may affect the system because food can then change in temperature, which means you lose valuable ingredients due to having to throw them away. If you choose to keep it and then serve it to customers, you may result in giving your customers food poisoning – and this is the worst possible outcome. You will not only make people ill, but you’ll create a bad reputation and lose business.