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The proper storage and movement of food items within the kitchen will help control the chance of bacterial growth and cross-contamination. It is important for you to store food items in a logical and neat manner that will promote proper flow of perishable and non-perishable items alike.
1. Before you store new food items in a walk-in or refrigerator, you should either move the previous stock forward for immediate use, or discard stock which should not be used for food service.
2. The ideal temperature range for bacterial growth is between 40 and 140 F ., and food should not be kept within this range for more than a total of four hours. You should keep refrigerated foods refrigerated until you are ready to prepare them, and cooked foods hot until you are ready to serve them. Keep the four hour rule in mind whenever you serve food buffet style as well.
3. When you are storing food items, keep them and their storage unit a minimum of 6" from the floor to prevent contamination from pests, condensation or spills.
4. Store all food in proper food storage containers, making sure they are properly labeled with the food name, date and area of usage. Insure that these containers are well-sealed.
5. Separate your raw food items (high protein in particular) from your cooked items in the refrigerator to avoid cross-contamination. Pay particular attention to poultry and dairy products, making sure that you do not stock these items above other products, as they may drip and cross-contaminate them.
6. When you are in doubt of a food being wholesome to eat, throw it out.
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