Food Storage is an important aspect everywhere – be it home, restaurant or an industry. Bad storage practices would lead to loss of our food items, along with wastage of time and storage space. Also, we can’t turn away our customers for lack of stock. It’s like being stuck between a rock and a hard place!
But do not worry. We provide you some simple tips that should be kept in mind for both households and industrial storage areas , so that you can achieve super-efficient food storage (along with happy guests and customers!)
1. Rotate the stock
The most effective use of dry food storage is to rotate. That is, date all foods and food containers and make the “use by” and “sell by” dates of the foods and the shelf life in general more visible easily. We do not want to let old stock to continue well past its expiry date and eat up our space, do we?
2. Keep a check on Temperature
Storage rooms should be cool, dry and well ventilated. The cooler, the better. By cool storage the respiratory activity and the degradation of enzymes is reduced thus also reducing internal water loss and inhibiting the growth of decay producing organisms. In the case of fruits and root crops, it slows the production of ethylene, a naturally occurring ripening agent – which means fruits would last longer!
For maintaining optimal temperature, adequate ventilation should be provided (some air exchange rate is absolutely essential). In addition, the storage room should not have steam and water pipes, water heaters, transformers, refrigeration condensing units, steam generators or other heat producing equipment.
3. Control Humidity
Ideally, storage areas should have a humidity level of 15% or less. De-humidification is essential, unless you’re planning storage in a desert or dry area! A second option is to use moisture impervious packaging. However, there is no reason not to use both.
Whenever possible, stored foods should be kept in their original packages since most packaging is designed for the food it contains. For instance, the cardboard box will help cushion jars and other glass containers from breakage. If no such packaging is provided, the best alternative is air tight containers (for regular items like turmeric powder(haldi),chilli powder and various masala)
4. Be ‘sun-proof’
Direct sunlight should be avoided since it promotes oxidation and the subsequent loss of the food’s nutritional value and quality. Also, fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E and K are particularly sensitive to light degradation. Instead, storage rooms can rely on artificial illumination. Sun isn’t always friendly to food.
5. Beware the risks of food storage
Storing dry foods at least six inches off the floor and at least 18 inches away from outer walls reduces the chances of condensation due to temperature differences between the container and the wall.
One common mistake is also made when look-alike condiments (like Salt and Sugar) are stored together. We all know what would happen when our beloved Biryani seems sweet suddenly!
6. Keep the animals away
The food storage rooms should also not be a sanctuary for insects, rodents and birds .This can be done by having the doors and windows sealed and insect-proofed, kept closed whenever possible.
7. Size matters
Finally, we come to size of the storage room ! With growing population and demand, the food needs have skyrocketed, so has the need for more food storage. We don’t want a stink of unused food items in the inventory, but hey! That doesn’t mean we should not be prepared for any sudden surge in guests (or customers)!
So you see? Food Storage ain’t all that tough. Some simple things to keep in mind, and you’re ready to have a nice, efficient storage facility!
This Food Safety Month 2016 , learn more about all the aspects of Food Handling – Personal Hygiene, Food Storage, Food Processing, Cleaning & Sanitation and Packaging & Labeling.
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