Pests need food to survive, and, unfortunately, restaurants tend to serve as attractive food sources for unwelcome pests. Rodents, flies, cockroaches, and a range of other unsightly pests can infiltrate a Bronx, NY, restaurant that hasn’t taken the proper precautions, potentially ruining its reputation. Some carry diseases like salmonella and E. coli, which can make customers terribly ill if transmitted to the food on their plates. Some pests can breed within bags of grains and other food, causing the entire product to go to waste. Dealing with pests once they have been discovered can be a time-consuming and costly process, so prevent their presence by ensuring that there is no accessible food around to attract them. Here are a few tips from an exterminator for storing food properly to optimize its cleanliness, freshness, and overall safety.
Don’t Store Food on the Floor
This simple rule must be adhered to regardless of how tempting it may be to set a box down on the floor as opposed to making space for it on the shelf. Storing food at a minimum of 6 inches above the floor makes it more difficult for pests to access it without being spotted. Being kept at a significant distance above the ground also protects the food from contamination by any dust or water that may be on the floor.
Store Food in Airtight Containers
All food should be stored in containers with tightly fitting lids. This prevents the exposure of food to air, which may cause it to spoil. It also prevents pests from accessing safe food and contains any infestations that may have occurred while the food was still exposed to air. Food storage boxes and ingredient bins are just two examples of products that can be obtained for this very purpose. Inspect them regularly for any cracks or loose seals that may allow air or small pests to pass through.
Keep All Surfaces Clean
Any scraps of food laying around on the floor or on shelves will attract unwelcome pests. Prevent infestations by ensuring that the shelves where you store containers of food are impeccably clean. Treat all surfaces with the same attention to detail and cleanliness.
Control the Temperature
Food should be kept at specific temperatures to prevent it from spoiling and to keep it safe from pests. Refrigerators are, therefore, essential to ensuring food safety and must be maintained at an appropriate internal temperature. Educate staff on proper food storage practices and train them to check the temperature of the fridge every so often. You should also ensure that the refrigerator is never overstocked, as this can make it difficult for the appliance to maintain an adequate temperature. Cold spots may form and the refrigerator may eventually malfunction completely.
Keep Food Moving
The “first in, first out” system of storing food ensures that it is kept in constant motion. This method of storage makes it difficult for pests to scout areas of the kitchen for something to eat and return to the same accessible food source, time after time, without anyone noticing. This system also prevents old food from accumulating at the back of shelves or at the bottom of freezers where it is free to become spoiled or infested by pests. The main advantage of this system is that it ensures that most food is prepared and served before its sell by date; its deterrence of pests is as an added bonus.