We all know that food storage is an important and basic element of Food Safety and Workplace Hygiene, but how do you know if what you’re storing is being kept safe? Certain foods are potentially much more hazardous than others, so it is important to know how these must be stored, and whether your equipment is up to scratch.
You must store and display Potentially Hazardous Foods (PHF) in a manner that minimises the growth of pathogenic bacteria and any bacteria that can develop hazardous toxins in food.
The simplest and most effective way of controlling bacterial growth is through the control of temperature .The Australian requirements for the storage and display of potentially hazardous foods are:
PHF must be stored and displayed below 5°C or above 60°C
PHF must be thrown out if stored or displayed at temperatures between 5° and 60°C for more than four (4) hours
PHF must be used immediately if stored or displayed between 5° and 60°C for between two and four hours
PHF may be either refrigerated or used immediately if stored or displayed at between 5° and 60°C for less than two (2) hours
Changes to these requirements can be undertaken by food businesses, if they demonstrate that some other practice will minimise the growth of pathogenic bacteria and the toxin production by bacteria. However, this would generally entail an in-depth and consistent monitoring process of the food being stored, with consistent testing for the safety of the food being stored. The safest way is to obviously monitor the storage or display equipment, to ensure safe procedures are being adhered to. Equipment is also much simpler to correct if, by chance, there is a fault and food storage falls outside these recommended “Safe Zones.” Therefore, scientific expertise and laboratory testing is required, to demonstrate that any other practice is effective.
However, some meal ingredients, meal replacements and snacks (often containing preservatives) are not deemed to be potentially hazardous. It is important to remember that all meals, whether served at home or in a food service setting, should be assumed to be potentially hazardous and stored appropriately. Even a single PHF on a plate ensures that the meal is potentially hazardous, but often every component will be a PHF.
Therefore, all food should be dealt with as potentially hazardous. Knowing how to store your food, monitor storage procedures and equipment, and provide corrective actions to rectify any errors in the storage procedures are imperative to running a successful food business. To learn more about how to know your stuff when it comes to food safety and workplace hygiene, visit our website to train online today and become an expert.