Wouldn’t we all love more storage! Picture this…a beautiful array of storage containers, colour coded, size and alphabetically ordered, separate temperature-controlled storage solutions for raw materials, work in progress and finished products, raw foods, ready to eat foods etc.…do your food storage areas look like this? If not, perhaps this is how you should be thinking!
The way we store food at the various steps of baking can significantly affect the safety and quality of the food we handle and create in more than one way. Hazards associated with storage can be easily avoided if you have undertaken a thorough assessment of your food operation, identifying all the hazards at each process step and implementing effective control measures to reduce the hazards to an acceptable level (HACCP).
Storage hazards can occur at every stage of the baking process, the list below provides some Top Tips to ensure food safety during storage concerning microbiological, chemical, physical and allergenic hazards and how they can be controlled.
Store foods that require refrigeration at or below 5oC (target 5oC is recommended) to prevent growth of bacteria
Store foods that require freezing at or below -18oC, (unless otherwise indicated on the packaging) to maintain product quality
Store foods that are ‘shelf stable’ as per storage guidelines, typically out of direct sunlight to ensure optimal conditions for quality
Check integrity of packaging i.e. not damaged to prevent fraudulent or substitution products being used.
Check durability date to ensure in best condition to use or in a safe stat
Once opened, ensure re-sealed / decanted into food grade air tight container to prevent physical contamination or deterioration in quality
Apply best before / use by date once opened to keep track of when safe to use / of best quality
Ensure adequately covered to prevent physical contamination.
Stock rotation (First In First Out – FIFO) to ensure use in best condition / safe condition
Store raw unprocessed foods beneath ready to eat foods to prevent microbiological contamination
Clearly identify allergens at risk materials i.e. gluten may be in all products, but soya may not, to avoid allergenic cross contamination
Check for signs of infestation / pests i.e. holes, gnaw marks, droppings to avoid microbiological and physical contamination
Sieving of powder-based ingredients before use to remove any physical contaminant
Store foods away from chemicals / don’t use chemicals around foods to avoid chemical contamination, and finally
Maintain traceability i.e. lot numbers, batch of ingredients, quantities used, apply best before / use by dates on finished products to enable you to recall products if required
Good storage practices will mean less waste which in turn will save you money. Failure to adopt safe practices when storing foods can result in enforcement fines and potential prosecution, loss of business through damage to business reputation, civil claims, injury to consumers physically and mentally.
For more information on how Katie can help you sleep at night! …contact her!