With outbreaks of E.Coli on the increase in the UK, good practice when storing food and drink is essential. Of course, food hygiene at home shouldn’t be taken lightly, but for those involved in the retail food business there are some basic rules that everyone should be following.
Bacteria can survive in a refrigerator and this may cause food poisoning, therefore it is important to keep units clean. Regular cleaning using manufacturers’ recommended products and avoiding harsh chemicals will help minimise the risk. Ensure that all parts of the fridge are cleaned, including the shelving, walls and doors. The external area can be washed down with a mild soap and water. Immediately mop up any spills inside the unit.
Most of us know about the potentially harmful contamination of raw meats when they come into contact with other foods in the refrigerator. If you are unable to keep raw or uncooked meats in a separate unit then these should be stored in the lower part of the fridge, to minimise the risk of dripping juices from the meat. Red meats should be stored above poultry. Salads need a deep, lidded container but never store below uncooked meats. Ideally salads should also be wrapped in cling film to mitigate contamination.
As soon as delivery has been taken, all perishable goods need to be refrigerated to avoid bacterial growth. There are certain temperature zones in which bacteria will grow quickly, therefore the longer these items are left out, the higher the potential risk. Anyone who sells soft or alcoholic drinks may wish to consider commercial bottle coolers. These are available to purchase in single or double door capacities and will keep all drinks at their correct temperature.
When foods are first placed in the refrigerator it is best practice to use labels to record the date. Also, make a note of the use by dates and put newer stock at the back of the unit.
There are a number of companies that sell coolers, such as https://www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/commercial-bottle-coolers/double-door-under-counter-bottle-coolers and most of them will stock a variety of manufacturers ranging from budget to premium brands.
In summary, basic refrigeration hygiene requires cleanliness and sanitisation, separate storage of food and drink in their appropriate cooling place, rotating stock and purchasing the most efficient refrigeration unit within budget.