There are two typical mistakes an owner makes with storage refrigerators and walk-in refrigerators that leave them susceptible to major code violations.
The first one is putting hot or warm food items into the fridge without considering how it changes the overall environment temperature. Putting hot pots or pans into a refrigerated storage unit raises the ambient temperature of the food around it, sometimes to unsafe levels.
Be sure to allow time for hot items to balance out in temperature before you place them in the refrigerator. This will save you from serving food that was stored at an unsafe temperature, which is a serious code violation.
The second common storage violation is dripping. By storing chicken above a pan of beef, the chicken drippings will get into the beef. Potential bacteria in the drippings need to reach a temperature of 165 degrees in order to die. However, beef only needs to be cooked up to 145 degrees. The 20-degree difference could mean that salmonella survived the cooking process and put your customers in danger. To combat this problem, store meats with the most harmful or dangerous bacteria on the bottom of your refrigerator. This way, you’ll never need to worry about more heat-tolerant drippings not getting cooked off.
Your top-to-bottom storage order should look like this:
- Cooked seafood and meats
- Raw seafood
- Raw chicken
Make sure you always use well-sealed containers for all your stored food. All these steps will help avoid a storage violation and make sure you avoid pests and needing to hire a pest control company.