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Fridge Tetris: Properly Storing Food in Small Spaces

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

By Zoe Mackey


You open your restaurant, kitchen, or mobile unit; and you have limited refrigeration space. You may be wondering how you’re supposed to store all of your raw meat. You have cooked items. There also needs to be room for your vegetables too. How do you manage it all?!?!

First, let’s look at what is wrong with this GIF.

  • In the door there are raw proteins (what looks like beef, chicken, and shrimp). They’re all stored next to each other without any lids, and they are over cream cheese and other ready-to-eat foods.

  • In your inspection, this would be cited as “VIOLATION OF SECTION 3-302.11(A)(1,2) *PRIORITY* Raw or ready-to-eat food is not properly protected from cross contamination”. The key here is cross contamination. The raw proteins all have different required cooking temperatures, so we want to make sure that the pathogens of concern are properly cooked out. By separating and properly containing raw protein, we're minimizing pathogens of concern from finding their way to prepared dishes served to the customer.

Quick changes to get into compliance:

  • Place tight fitting lids on containers containing raw proteins.

  • Rearrange the refrigerator. Place lidded containers containing meat on the bottom shelf. We still want the ready-to-eat foods and liquids above the raw meats.

  • Consider purchasing food storage containers that are durable, non-absorbent, easily cleanable storage containers that work for the refrigerator. In the short term it's money out of your pocket. In the long term it will help to work best within the constraints of a small space.

You can find this poster to print on our County website.


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