Storage: What do you do when you've outgrown your storage space? by Barry Parsons

The storage of packaging, dry goods, refrigerated, and frozen food products can be a challenge due to the availability of space, whether in a restaurant, a QSR, or even a supermarket. If you have a newer facility, space is probably well defined for the volume anticipated, but that is not what this blog is about. What do you do when you have grown in volume over the years and space is tight?!
Basements - Six-inch high dunnage racks or modular shelving can be used so packaging and dry goods stay off the floor to remain clean and dry. The exterior of packaging and food products must be covered to protect them from being contaminated from dust and other contaminants. It is easy for a worker to tear off the outer plastic of a case of cups or take out containers leaving the boxes exposed to the environment. It shows up on inspections on a regular basis.
Pest control can be an issue in these darker, quiet areas. You need to ensure all access points are sealed, such as under the entrance door, garage door, or the sidewalk cellar doors. Also, seal holes where pipes come through the outside walls or maybe from the businesses next door. The other area where we often see holes is in the ceiling where water pipes or drainage pipes come through the flooring above. If you have an open ceiling, the ceiling joists can be runways for pests to travel unimpeeded throughout the facility.
Walk-in Refrigerators and Freezers - Racking needs to be on wheels to ensure you can clean the floors and walls. Sometimes dunnage racks work better than racking or a combination of both. Many times, your par levels need to be adjusted from a heavy-handed ordering person and lower inventory levels help with product rotation and reduces waste increasing profit.
Another issue with walk-in box storage is the potential for cross-contamination due to poor storage practices or over packing the units. Remember, store products according to their cooking temperatures.
Use the food code as a toolbox talk. Pick a topic, talk about it for two (2) minutes and have everyone date and sign a training paper so you have documentation. Training is not a one and done task. It is a regular practice that keeps everyone reminded of their responsibilities.
Toolbox talk citations:
  • 6-501.111 Controlling Pests
  • 3-302.12 Food Storage
  • 3-303.12 Storage or Display of Food
  • 3-305.11 Food Storage- Preventing Contamination
  • 3-305.12 Prohibited areas for food storage
This blog is not intended to be a substitute for the user's judgement and common sense. Any errors are unintentional.

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