Food Storage & Processing Facilities: Appropriate Temperatures and Procedure

Food storage and processing facilities need to have pre-set guidelines to ensure the safety and longevity of the stored products. Storage facilities help users purchase large quantities of products that may reduce overall cost as bulk buying is universally considered cheaper than individually bought material. Additionally, a one-time purchase of large quantities can reduce costs and time otherwise invested in requisition and delivery management. Businesses in the food industry such as restaurants tend to do bulk buying of their products to help with menu planning for the future. Moreover, restaurant owners agree that having a large variety of materials on hand helps cultivate creativity when designing menus for their customers.

Despite the known benefits of investing in food storage and processing facilities, many people are skeptical about investing in this endeavour because of the increased costs and responsibilities.

Regardless of this, businesses still depend on certain foods that need adequate storage and processing on a regular basis. Here are some guidelines and procedures to help efficiently handle certain types of products:

  1. Dry Foods

    While there is often not much thought given to the adequate storing of dry foods, these need to be ideally kept in a location closer to the main kitchen or processing area. Since these are often not given much thought in service facility designs, they end up being stored in very inconvenient locations. Here are some important guidelines to follow when storing dry foods:

    Guidelines

    • Dry foods need to be stored in a dry and cool area with an ideal temperature ranging between 10 and 15 degrees celsius to prevent spoilage.
    • The storage space should be easy to clean and with proper sealing to prevent rodents and vermin infestation.
    • The place should be well lit to allow for easy navigation.
    • Dry food products should never be stored on the floor but instead on racks that are at least 15 centimeters off the ground.

  2. Refrigerated Products

    Whether refrigerated products are being stored in walk-in facilities or stand-alone units, it is important that they are stored at approximately 4 degrees celsius. This will help delay the decomposition and deterioration of fresh products.

    Guidelines

    • Raw products should never be stored above cooked or ready-to-eat food items.
    • Refrigeration facilities should always have inbuilt visible thermometers to monitor the internal temperature.
    • Refrigerators should have designated sections to store certain products to prevent cross-contamination.</li.
    • There should be a regular cleaning regimen established to ensure hygiene and health.
    • Regular maintenance calls should be established to ensure the good working conditions of the refrigerator.

  3. Dairy Products

    The sensitive nature of dairy products should ensure strict storage and processing guidelines. Ideally, all dairy products should be stored in separate refrigeration facilities specifically designated for them and between two and four degrees celsius. Here are some common guidelines to follow:

    Guidelines

    • The dairy products should have designated spaces in refrigeration facilities as the fat in these products has a tendency to absorb surrounding odors.
    • They should not be stored alongside vegetables in vegetable coolers and crispers.
    • Dairy products have a relatively short shelf life and should not be rendered too far in advance.

  4. Produce

    If stored in refrigerators facilities between two and four degrees celsius, most produce products will be able to stay fresh for longer periods without deteriorating. However, there are certain products that need to be stored at a higher temperature such as potatoes and bananas.

    Guidelines

    • Soft fruits have a relatively shorter shelf life, therefore, should not be bought too far in advance.
    • Most unripe fruits can be easily ripened at room temperatures ranging between ten and fifteen degrees celsius. If refrigerated, the ripening process will slow down significantly.
    • When storing fresh produce, always make sure to remove rotting pieces that can impact the viability of other pieces.
    • Bananas should be ideally stored between 10 and 15 degrees celsius as they can go black if stored at lower temperatures.
    • Prevent moisture from forming on vegetables as it can make them go soft and thus deteriorate faster than usual.

  5. Fresh Meats, Poultry, and Seafood

    Meat, poultry, and seafood are often the most expensive and difficult products to store in food storage and processing facilities. To ensure safe storage and longevity, these should be ideally stored at four degrees Celsius or colder if refrigerated and not frozen. Here are some common guidelines to follow when storing, meats, poultry, and seafood:

    Guidelines

    • Boned meat should be consumed within three days while individual cuts should not be stored longer than 2 days.
    • Individual cuts, steak, and minced meat should always be stored covered and within 2 and four degrees celsius.
    • If refrigerated, fresh poultry should always be covered in ice.
    • Fresh seafood should ideally be packed in ice and stored at a temperature ranging between minus one and 2 degrees celsius.
    • Carcass meats should be stored in a hanging manner to ensure maximum air circulation around them and between temperatures ranging from one to three degrees celsius.
    • Ensure timely a timely cleaning regimen to maximize hygiene.

  6. Frozen Foods

    The ideal temperature for storing frozen products is minus 18 degrees celsius or lower to ensure the viability of vitamin content in the products. Once identified via discoloration of the frozen products, the process cannot be reversed by lowering the temperature settings. Here are some guidelines to follow for frozen food storage and processing facilities:

    Guidelines

    • Wrapped frozen fruits, vegetables, meat, and seafood have a relatively long shelf life.
    • If freezer products are not wrapped properly, they can develop freezer burn which may alter the taste and texture of the food items.
    • Freezing fresh fruit can be time-consuming and costly because if fresh fruit is not properly prepared for freezing, it will spoil faster.

Conclusion

Food storage and processing facilities may be costly to set up but if done properly, can reduce overall and time and costs. By following clear guidelines set for storing different kinds of food products, users can not only increase their shelf life but also reduce overhead costs associated with recurring delivery schedules.

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