Meat Storage | 4 mins read

Meat Storage Tips for Growing Restaurants

meat storage tips for growing restaurants
Dakota Sheetz

By Dakota Sheetz

Preventing Cross-Contamination

Calculated food storage is essential as meat products have the highest amount of harmful bacteria of any other food product. Meats are the most likely to cause foodborne diseases, ranging from E. Coli to Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis if improperly stored.

Always consider the potential for cross-contamination during meat storage, as raw meat contaminates everything it comes into contact with. Store meat in accordance with the safety hierarchy, below ready to eat RTE foods and raw produce.

Maintain proper safe food storage temperatures by carefully monitoring the temperatures of all of your meat products and avoid time spent in the danger zone. Discard meat that is stored at the wrong temperature to avoid foodborne illnesses.

Ensure that proper food safety techniques are met when storing meat. This includes gloves and hand washing, which are practiced in a sanitary area when handling meat. With 21% of restaurant food waste due to food spoilage and 48 million Americans getting sick as a result of foodborne diseases every year, proper food storage etiquette is essential to running a sustainable and safe business.

Tips for Storage

Wrap, mark, and store meat properly to prevent food poisoning, decrease food wastefulness, and increase overall food safety.

1. Wrap it-

  • Never leave raw meat open in your refrigerator to avoid the spread of harmful bacteria
  • Securely wrap meat in cellophane to prevent juice leakage. Consider the purchase of a food vacuum which increases meat's hygiene and shelf life. Vacuum packed meat should always be stored in the refrigerator or freezer
  • For meat about to be prepared in a short period of time, keep aired under a piece of cloth (eg a clean kitchen towel) in your refrigerator. Don't worry about moisture loss if the surface of the meat appears dry, it will disappear when cooked
2. Mark it-
  • Keep food contents clearly labeled in any package and indicate the date made and the use-by date
  • Although these markings are helpful, always trust your nose and eyes more than the given use by date. Err on the side of caution, if you suspect meat is unsafe and could cause food poisoning, throw it out
3. Store it-
  • Place raw meat and other raw food stored in its correct hierarchy refrigerator shelf position- below prepared foods, fruits, and veggies, and seafood but above ground meat and poultry
  • Position meat in the coldest part of the refrigerator
  • To prevent food poisoning employ a proper stock rotation system such as the first-in, first-out FIFO system
It is important to consider the differences between frozen and refrigerated products in order to prevent cross-contamination and correctly wrap and store your meat.

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Freezing Your Meat

  • When you freeze meat, roll the meat in plastic foil
  • Force out as much air as possible as excess oxygen is problematic
  • Freeze meat as swiftly as possible to avoid the danger zone. Ice crystals are at their largest and cause the most damage at temperatures around 32 degrees Fahrenheit
  • When freezing meat, make sure to spread out the meat to create many small packages instead of one large one to freeze safely and efficiently

Meat Storage Cheat Sheet

FoodRoom temperature such as in a pantry or in a cupboard (50 to 70F)Refrigerator at 40F or belowFreezer at 0F or below (storage times are for quality only)
Fresh meats- beef, veal, lamb or pork (steaks, chops or roasts)Not safe3 to 5 days4 to 12 months
Ground meats (beef, veal, pork, lamb, stew meat)Not safe1 to 2 days3 to 4 months
BaconNot safeWithin 1 week of "Use by" date (unopened); 1 week (opened)1 month
Sausage, raw meat from pork or beefNot safe1 to 2 days3 to 4 months
Ham, fully cooked, store-wrapped, slices, half or spiral cutNot safe3 to 4 days1 to 2 months

Conclusion

  • Meat products have the highest amount of harmful bacteria of any other food product and are the most likely to cause foodborne diseases, ranging from E. Coli to Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis.
  • Always consider cross-contamination potential during meat storage, as raw meat contaminates everything it comes into contact with
  • Position meat in the coldest part of the refrigerator
  • With 21% of restaurant food waste due to food spoilage and 48 million Americans getting sick as a result of foodborne diseases every year, proper storage etiquette is essential to keep food safe and ensuring a food business is sustainable and safe
  • To prevent food poisoning utilize a proper stock rotation system, the first-in, first-out FIFO system is beneficial for optimal food safety
  • Wrap, mark, and store meat properly to prevent food poisoning, decrease food wastefulness, and increase overall food safety

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

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