Keeping customers safe from foodborne illness starts with a properly organized walk-in cooler. By making sure foods are appropriately sorted, labeled, and stored, patrons have a better chance of enjoying their food without any lingering after effects.
Before storing items in the sanitized cooler, separate foods that require no preparation, like fresh vegetables, from items like seafood, eggs, and meat, which requires cooking before eating. Raw animal products should never be stored above produce. It is best to keep these items on separate shelves in different sections of the refrigerator.
Unwashed produce does not belong in the same bins as cleaned fruits and vegetables. The risk of contamination comes from residue on the unwashed food transferring to the already cleaned items. Check produce bins regularly to remove any potentially spoiled food before it affects the surrounding fruits and vegetables.
Uncooked meats should be arranged according to their required cooking temperature. Items that need to be cooked at a higher temperature, such as poultry, should go on the bottom shelf, followed by ground beef on the next lowest shelf. Venison, whole beef, and pork can go above the ground beef.
Proper organization of a cooler keeps foodborne illnesses at bay. Regular and thorough cleaning and walk-in cooler maintenance is also necessary.