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Preserving and storing food safely

We, the GAMA(York) team, know how important is to give safe and fresh food to your customers. This article aims to give some tips about storing food in the fridge, freezer, or in containers.

For detailed information, we strongly advise you to read the guidelines from UK Government.

According to the law, “the food which is for service or on display for sale, that has been cooked or reheated and needs to be kept hot to control the growth of pathogenic micro-organisms or the formation of toxins must be kept at a temperature at or above 63°C.”

The temperature of a food may "result in a risk to health" where temperature control is essential to the safety of food. For instance, chill holding will not be a must where perishable food has been subject to a process that makes is safe to hold at ambient temperatures, such as types of canning. Nor will it be demanded where raw food will be cooked at a later stage to ensure it is fit for human consumption. An exception will be where it is necessary to comply with product specific hygiene regulations that set out specific temperatures at various stages of the food chain, e.g. for some raw meat.

Storing food in the refrigerator

Keeping food in the refrigerator will prevent bacteria from growing. What kinds of foods? Well, a 'use by' date, cooked food and ready-to-eat food such as desserts and cooked meats.

It may sound very obvious, but before anything check if the commercial refrigerator is cold enough.Most restaurant use a fridge thermometer to check it’s the right temperature.

What your mother have been telling you, also apply to the professional environment:

  • keep the door of the refrigerator closed,

  • do not put hot foods, let them cool first.

It is of course a must to keep in the fridge all foods that have the inscription 'keep refrigerated'. Many jars and bottles need keeping in the fridge after opening.

Special attention for meat

Meat needs to be safely stored to stop bacteria from spreading and to avoid food poisoning. You should:

  • store raw meat in clean, sealed containers on the bottom shelf of the fridge, so they can't touch or drip onto other food

  • follow any storage instructions on the label and don't eat meat after its 'use by' date

  • when you have cooked meat and you're not going to serve it straight away, cool it as quickly as possible and then put it in the fridge or freezer. Remember to keep cooked meat separate from raw meat!

Storing food in the freezer

The freezer is a great tool for making sure you’ve always got some food in stock and for helping to avoid wasting food.You should understand which foods need to be held under temperature control and be aware of the relationship between temperature and the shelf life of food. Temperature monitoring is an essential part of food safety management procedures.

For safety, it's OK to freeze most raw or cooked foods if you do the following things:

  • freeze it before the 'use by' date

  • use a food label

  • thaw it in the fridge so that it doesn't get too warm. Or, if you intend to cook it as soon as it's defrosted, you could defrost it in a microwave

  • try to use it within one to two days after it’s been defrosted – it will go off in the same way as if it were fresh

  • cook food until it's steaming hot all the way through

When frozen meat and fish (and some other foods) thaw, lots of liquid can come out of them. If you’re defrosting raw meat or fish, this liquid will spread bacteria to any food, plates or surfaces that it touches. Keep the meat and fish in a sealed container at the bottom of the fridge, so that it can't touch or drip onto other foods.

Always clean plates, utensils, surfaces and hands thoroughly, after they have touched raw or thawing meat, to stop bacteria from spreading. If you defrost raw meat or fish and then cook it thoroughly, you can freeze it again, but remember to never reheat foods more than once!

Using cans

When you open a can of food and you're not going to use all the food straight away, empty the food into a bowl, or other container, and put it in the fridge.

Don't store food in an opened tin can, or re-use empty cans to cook or store food. This is because when a can has been opened and the food is open to the air, the tin from the can might transfer more quickly to the can's contents.

This advice doesn't apply to foods sold in cans that have resalable lids, such as golden syrup and cocoa, because these types of food don’t react with the can.

Cling Film and Kitchen Foil

Cling Film

Cling film is useful for protecting food but, like many things, it needs to be used correctly.

Not every type of cling film is suitable for using with all foods. Check the description on the box to see what foods it can be used with.

There are three main points to remember when using cling film:

  • don't use cling film if it could melt into the food, such as in the oven or on pots and pans on the hob

  • you can use cling film in the microwave (in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions), but make sure the cling film doesn't touch the food

  • Only let cling film touch high-fat foods when the description on the box says the cling film is suitable for this. High-fat foods include some types of cheese, raw meats with a layer of fat, fried meats, pies and pastries, and cakes with butter icing or chocolate coatings

Kitchen Foil

Kitchen aluminium foil is very good for wrapping and covering foods.

Still do not to use foil or containers made from aluminium to store foods that are highly acidic, such as:

  • tomatoes

  • cabbage

  • many types of soft fruit

Why ? Because aluminium can affect the taste of these foods, especially if they are stored in aluminium containers for a long time.

Please feel free to contact us at for additional information!

15 Alexandra Court

James Street 


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