Food storage is a common function of warehouses at various points along the supply chain, and with food storage comes a number of regulations and requirements.

Any warehouse that stores food will have different federal and state regulations that need to be adhered to keep the food, your workers, and your customers safe from disease.

While most warehouses know to use secure storage and sterile shelving such as restaurant shelving or NSF plastic shelves for these storage needs, not as many of them put thought into the employees that handle the food.

Sure, everyone has gloves and knows to wash their hands, but are they being as hygienic as possible? Even if your warehouse just stores the food en route to its final destination, work should be done to keep your staff as clean and safe as possible to prevent cross-contamination or issues with the food being stored. Here’s a few quick tips for more hygienic food handling:

 

Implement a dress code: Any employee that handles food needs to be properly dressed and prepared, even if they’re just moving it from shelf to shelf. Provide your staff with impermeable gloves and clean uniforms as needed, and make sure nobody who handles food is wearing jewelry like watches or rings that could spread bacteria.

 

Provide personal storage areas: By providing equipment lockers for your staff, you can give your team a clean place to keep their personal belongings far enough away from the actual food being handled to prevent cross-contamination.

 

Post food storage requirements as needed: Different types of food will have different handling and storage requirements. Make sure your employees are aware of potential allergens and foods that shouldn’t come in contact with one another, and know when they need to wash their hands between different food items.

 

Enforce correct hand-washing: While it sounds like something your team already knows how to do, there are specific requirements for handwashing during food storage that should be monitored and enforced to keep everyone safe. Place visible instruction sheets in every restroom describing proper handwashing technique, and make sure they know when to do it—after restroom breaks, after lunch, or anytime they touch different food items to prevent the spread of allergens.

 

Remember to clean workstations: No matter how clean your hands and uniforms are, making sure your work areas are clean is an equally crucial step. Clean all equipment like your warehouse shelves at regular intervals to prevent germs and allergens from being spread, and make sure any spills or broken packages are attended to immediately.

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