Food storage in the fridge is one of the most important principles of food safety. Perishable foods by its very nature do not last as long as we would like. This is why we need to keep foods in the fridge. To prolong the time it takes for food to go off.
But keeping foods in the fridge is not just about temperature and keeping to the cold chain. It is also about storing foods in a way that prevents contamination and food poisoning. One of the biggest problems in the kitchen is storage space in fridges.
The fridge is probably one of the most cramped spaces you’ll find. Everything from ready to eat meals, raw meats and veg to dairy and sauces all need to be stored in a fridge to ensure that foods do not expire before the use-by date.
That leaves us with a large group of foods that need refrigeration and very little space to store them. The most ideal case would be to separate the food groups into their own fridges. That means raw meats should have their own fridge. Fruits and vegetables should be stored separately from dairy products. And ready to eat meals should be separated from each of the above.
The reality is, that most kitchens don’t have the luxury of separating their foods in this manner. One of the biggest mistakes kitchens still make today is that they store raw foods with ready to eat foods. Usually due to restricted space.
So what is the safest alternative?
Food storage in the fridge according to the risks
The most efficient way to use your space effectively is to understand the risks of causing food poisoning. This means knowing what the risks of the various food groups are.
We know that raw meats and vegetables are risky because they have a high amount of bacteria that are naturally present in these foods. These foods are considered to have a high bacterial load. Collectively we will consider these uncooked foods.
Notice that I didn’t mention fruits. Although fruits should be washed before use, they are not considered raw products because they are ready to eat. Meaning no further processing needs to happen before you can eat these foods.