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Storing food safely

If you're a food business, you need to keep food protected from contamination and at the right temperature so it stays safe to eat.

What are the requirements?

Under Standard 3.2.2 - Food Safety Practices and General Requirements, food businesses need to store food in a way that keeps it safe and suitable.

Reduce your risk

  • keep storage areas clean, dry and free of pests
  • use food-safe containers, covers and packaging to protect food
  • store potentially hazardous food at 5°C or colder - check it with a thermometer
  • store raw food like meat and seafood separately or below ready-to-eat foods to avoid contamination from meat juices etc.
  • make sure frozen food stays frozen hard
  • check that food packaging is undamaged
  • don't store food in warm or humid areas or in direct sunlight if this could spoil the food or make it unsafe
  • store food, containers and packaging off the ground and away from chemicals like cleaners and insect sprays.

How long can I store food?

Follow the manufacturer's storage instructions to be sure food stays safe and suitable for its expected shelf life.

Generally, unpackaged potentially hazardous ready-to-eat food should not be stored for more than 5 days. Food containing raw or low-cooked eggs should generally not be kept longer than 24 hours.

Tips for refrigeration

  • regularly maintain and service your refrigerators
  • don't overstock refrigerators, so chilled air can circulate
  • check food temperatures directly with a thermometer to make sure food is at the right temperature
  • check date marks on stock, sell older food first and discard food that is past its 'Use by' date
  • don't leave food out of the refrigerator for any longer than you really need to
  • don't open refrigerator doors too often or leave them open for long periods
  • if opening packaged food, make sure you can still read the date marking and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Need more information?


Page last updated 6 December 2023