For restaurants, chefs, supermarkets and butchers, a health kitchen or starts with the way food, particularly meat, is maintained and handled. Storing meat at the wrong temperatures can and has caused serious illness in the past so meat industry cold storage should be of paramount importance.
Guidelines outlined by authorities such as the USDA, United States Department of Agriculture can be used as a guideline to adhere to in the event of short-long term meat cold storage. Maintaining and monitoring your refrigeration and cold storage facilities ensures that the food you are storing is safe to consume.
The USDA recommends perishable foods such as meat, dairy and egg products should be refrigerated and kept in cold storage two hours after the time of cooking or purchase. This time frame fluctuates with the seasons as greater care should be taken in the hotter months, reducing the time to one hour.
With regards to temperature, most perishable foods need to be kept in cold storage between 32 and 40 degrees (equalling 4.4 Celsius) and consumer within 2 days (if cooked).
Your meat cold storage unit should be checked regularly to make sure that the temperature remains at the optimal conditions. Make sure your cold storage unit comes equipped with full temperature controls to provide additional protection and insurance that the cold storage unit is working correctly.
Frozen meats need to be kept at temperatures below 0 degrees as more protection is needed.
Not all meats have the same meat cold storage requirements and it is important that you check each meat individually to avoid contamination.
Meat can be frozen for an unlimited period of time according to the USDA however, the freshness and quality of the meet will greatly decline and it is not advised to be kept for several months.
Meat cold storage requires specialised equipment if you are to maintain the correct meat industry guidelines. CRS based in Ireland is a company that provides meat industry cold storage as well as a wide range of bespoke solutions for several sectors. CRS have storage facilities available for rent, lease or purchase at competitive prices. For more information please visit the CRS Cold Storage website.