Food Grade Storage
Food grade storage refers to storage facilities, containers, or materials that meet specific standards and regulations for safely storing food. These standards are designed to ensure that the storage conditions do not contaminate the food with harmful substances, odors, or flavors that could compromise its safety and quality.
Optimal Storage Conditions
- Ideal Range: Most food-grade products are best stored within a specific temperature range. Generally, refrigerated items should be kept at temperatures between 32°F (0°C) and 40°F (4.4°C). Frozen items, depending on the type, are typically stored at 0°F (-18°C) or below. Dry or non-perishable goods are often best stored in a cool, dry place, ideally below 70°F (21°C).
- Refrigerated and Frozen Storage: The humidity levels in refrigerators and freezers should be relatively low to prevent the formation of ice crystals on frozen foods and reduce the risk of microbial growth. Typically, refrigerators maintain a humidity level of around 40-60%, while freezers are kept at lower humidity levels.
- Dry Storage: For dry or non-perishable goods, maintaining low humidity is crucial to prevent moisture absorption, which can lead to spoilage, clumping, or the growth of mold and bacteria. Aim for humidity levels below 15-20% for optimal dry storage.
- Refrigerated and Frozen Storage: Light exposure is less of a concern in refrigerated or frozen storage due to the absence of direct light. However, it’s still advisable to store items in opaque or covered containers to protect them from potential light exposure.
- Dry Storage: Light can accelerate the degradation of certain food components, such as vitamins and fats, leading to a decline in quality. For dry storage, it’s best to store food items in opaque, airtight containers, or in a dark pantry to minimize light exposure.
Ensuring that food-grade items are stored under the appropriate conditions helps to preserve their freshness, nutritional value, and safety. It’s important to follow specific storage recommendations provided on product labels and consider the unique requirements of different food items. Additionally, proper rotation practices (first in, first out) should be employed to use older items before newer ones, minimizing the risk of spoilage or expiration.
What is required for food grade storage?
Some key requirements for food grade storage include:
- Cleanliness: Food grade storage facilities must be kept clean and free of debris to prevent contamination of food products. This includes regular cleaning and sanitation of the facility, as well as proper pest control measures.
- Temperature Control: Food grade storage facilities must maintain appropriate temperatures to preserve the quality and safety of food products. This includes refrigeration or freezing for perishable items, as well as temperature-controlled rooms for non-perishable items.
- Humidity Control: Food grade storage facilities must maintain appropriate humidity levels to prevent spoilage and maintain the quality of food products.
- Separation of Products: Food grade storage facilities must separate different types of food products to prevent cross-contamination. This includes separating raw and cooked products, as well as allergen-free products.
- Food Safety Regulations Compliance: Food grade storage facilities must comply with all relevant food safety regulations, such as the FSMA, FDA, USDA, and HACCP.
- Labeling and Tracking: Food grade storage facilities must properly label and track all food products to ensure that they are stored and used in a timely manner, and to facilitate recall if necessary.
- Lighting: Food grade storage facilities must have proper lighting to ensure that products can be properly inspected, and that the facility can be easily cleaned.
- Proper Ventilation: Food grade storage facilities must have proper ventilation to prevent buildup of moisture, odors and to maintain a suitable environment for the stored products. Overall, food grade storage facilities must meet strict requirements to ensure the safety and quality of food products.
Some of the customers we serve:
What products require food grade storage?
- Raw Food Ingredients: Ingredients used in food preparation, such as flour, sugar, grains, spices, and raw fruits or vegetables, often need food grade storage to prevent contamination.
- Processed Foods: Finished food products, including canned goods, packaged snacks, beverages, and frozen foods, should be stored in containers and facilities that meet food grade standards.
- Beverages: Both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, such as water, juices, sodas, and wines, require food grade storage to maintain their quality and prevent contamination.
- Dairy Products: Milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products need specialized food grade storage to maintain freshness and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
- Meat and Poultry: Fresh, frozen, or processed meat and poultry products must be stored in facilities that adhere to food grade standards to ensure hygiene and prevent cross-contamination.
- Seafood: Fish, shellfish, and other seafood products require careful storage to maintain their quality and prevent the growth of bacteria that could lead to spoilage.
- Bakery Products: Bread, pastries, cakes, and other baked goods need food grade storage to prevent staleness, mold growth, and other quality issues.
- Confectionery: Candies, chocolates, and other confectionery items require proper storage to prevent melting, sticking, or changes in texture.
- Fruits and Vegetables: Fresh or processed fruits and vegetables must be stored in conditions that preserve their freshness and prevent deterioration.
- Specialty and Health Foods: Products designed for specific dietary needs, such as gluten-free, organic, or allergen-free foods, often require food grade storage to maintain their integrity and meet the expectations of consumers.
Retailers we work with:
Baby Food Storage
Dedicated Storage Areas:
- Designate specific storage zones for baby food to prevent cross-contamination with other products.
- Ensure these areas meet stringent hygiene standards and are regularly sanitized.
- Utilize climate-controlled storage spaces to maintain the freshness and nutritional quality of baby food.
- Adhere to recommended temperature ranges to prevent spoilage and bacterial growth.
- Clearly label pallets and containers with the type of baby food, production date, and any other relevant information.
- Implement a systematic labeling system for easy inventory
- Follow a strict first-in, first-out (FIFO) system to ensure that older baby food is used before newer batches.
- Regularly check and rotate stock to prevent expired products from being distributed.
Bulk Storage Solutions:
- Consider bulk storage solutions such as bins and totes for organized and efficient warehousing of baby food.
- Ensure these containers are made from food-grade materials and are easy to clean.
Dried Canned Goods Storage
Temperature and Humidity Control:
- Maintain a constant, cool, and dry warehouse environment to prevent moisture accumulation, which can lead to mold and spoilage.
- Utilize pallet racking systems for efficient use of vertical space, ensuring stability and preventing damage during storage and retrieval.
- Regularly inspect dried canned goods for packaging damage, including dents, leaks, or bulges, and promptly remove compromised items.
Protection from Contaminants:
- Store dried canned goods away from potential contaminants, such as cleaning supplies, chemicals, or non-food items.
- Opt for sturdy shelving units with proper spacing to allow for optimal air circulation around each dried canned goods.
Regular Quality Checks:
- Conduct routine visual inspections for signs of spoilage in dried canned goods, including discoloration, off-odors, or any unusual changes in texture.
Pest Control Measures:
- Implement and regularly monitor pest control measures to prevent infestations that could compromise the quality of stored dried canned goods.
Types of Food-Grade Storage
Pallet Racking Systems: Sturdy racks designed to store palletized goods vertically.
- Maximizes vertical space for efficient storage.
- Adjustable shelves to accommodate various-sized pallets.
- Suitable for bulk storage of packaged food products.
Bins and Totes Storage: Containers designed for organized storage of smaller food items.
- Stackable for space optimization.
- Clear visibility for easy inventory management.
- Ideal for storing items like grains, spices, and smaller packaged goods.
Temperature-Controlled Storage: Storage areas equipped with temperature regulation for perishable goods.
- Refrigerated or frozen storage options.
- Maintains the freshness of dairy, meats, and produce.
- Complies with specific temperature requirements for different food items.
Shelving Units: Adjustable shelving for versatile storage of various food products.
- Versatile and adaptable for different product sizes.
- Easy access to stored items for efficient picking.
Commonly used for storing canned goods, dry staples, and snacks.
Here are Some Products That are Currently in our 3PL Warehouse That Classify as Food Grade:
- Food grade packaging
- Coconut Milk
- Dried coconut
- Protein powders
- Freeze dried fruit and vegetables.
It’s important to note that, any food grade storage is required for all food products or materials that are intended for human consumption, regardless of the type of food, its packaging, or the stage of production.