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.