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When we talk about storage of food we are generally referring to refrigerators, pantries, larders and storage cupboards. Below is a set of principles that will help you maintain a correct food storage policy.

1) Wash out and defrost your fridge at least once a week. Clean up spillages immediately.

2) Keep all cupboards, pantries and larders spotlessly clean.

3) Check regularly for signs of mice and cockroaches, ants and such like pests. Deal with them promptly.

4) Do not keep highly perishable foodstuffs in the larder, put them in the fridge. E.G. Eggs, milk, cheese, meats.

5) Keep all cleaning chemicals out of food storage spaces. Put them in a special cupboard under lock and key. Do not use cleaning chemicals when you are preparing foods, especially concentrated acids used for removing sediment from stainless steel and de greasers such as caustic soda (NaOH) based substances or anti fungal cleaners which are usually used to clean work surfaces and walls. I will include pesticides into this category also. Store all food away safely. In professional kitchens use these substances at the end of a shift only when no food at all is out. Make sure that all these substances have been thoroughly washed away before resuming work with foodstuffs. For your own safety wear thick rubber or neoprene gloves (not surgical gloves), eye goggles, and breathing filter (a surgical mask is not sufficient) when using strong chemicals. If you are using de greasers in a commercial kitchen on large pieces of equipment or on overhead steam vents or ventilators wear a one piece plastic suit that completely separates you from the environment. If you do not you will suffer irritations, burns and/or allergic reactions to these substances. You can also damage your eyes, respiratory tract, mouth and skin. If you feel a reaction to these substances was immediately with plenty of cold water then seek medical advice if the problem is more than very superficial or if there is continued irritation. (caustic soda gives the skin a slimy feel and one can know it had been washed off successfully when the sliminess has gone).

6) Food storage spaces should be designed to stand against interior walls only. This will serve to ensure that these places will always be cool and dry.

7) Do not run water or drainage pipes through places where food or food utensils are being stored.

8) Be sure to rotate your supplies thoroughly. Remember this saying, “last in, last out”.

9) Keep animal food, such as cat food and dog food, separate from human food! Also keep animal eating dishes separate from human eating utensils. Do not wash your dog bowl or cat bowl together with dishes that humans eat from. Animal dishes should not be put into dishwashers.

10) Try to keep raw and unclean root vegetables in a separate storage area but failing that keep all root vegetables at the very bottom of the storage area in suitable closed containers. (special storage solutions can be found on the market that allow the vegetables to breath)

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