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Meat Storage Tips Every Restaurant Chef Must Know

Keeping your cooking raw materials fresh and contamination-free is crucial if you want to provide your customers with the most mouthwatering & healthy dishes possible. Especially, owners of restaurants serving meat are well aware of the importance of meticulous meat storage due to the potential dangers of meat ruining & rottage. If you are a restaurant owner confused of the same then you’ve come to the right place if you want to learn how to safely keep the meat in your restaurant kitchen storage.

Before we get into how to properly preserve meat in your restaurant kitchen storage, let us first understand why it is so important to pay more attention to meat storage than any other food product.

Meat being wrapped in plastic wrap for proper meat storage.
Wrapping meat in plastic wraps can help prevent juice leakage.

Why is Meat Storage Crucial?

Improper meat storage leads to two different problems. 

1. Bacterial Growth

Bacterial growth in meat could lead to many serious diseases. Diarrhoea is the least of your customer’s concerns when he/she/they consume inadequately preserved meat. Unsafely stored meat has been linked to diseases like-

  • Salmonellosis
  • Digestive disorders
  • Food poisoning
  • Shigellosis Trichinosis

In the worst instance, these organisms could lead to hospitalisation and even death. That’s why it’s crucial that your eatery strictly adheres to all regulations regarding the storage of meat.

2. Cross-contamination

Cross-contamination of meat with other foods, equipment, or people could also have dire consequences. It can cause a variety of symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and sometimes even death. There is a considerable danger of food poisoning from improperly stored, prepared, or cooked poultry, shellfish, deli meat, eggs, unpasteurized dairy, rice, fruits, and vegetables.

Now that we know the consequences of improper meat storage, let’s talk about ways to avoid such a situation with proper meat storage and restaurant kitchen management.

Meat storage needs to be very organised when it is being sold in shops on a daily basis.
Leftover meat can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days after cooking.

How to Store Meat Properly?

When we talk about effectively storing meat, it boils down to two things; wrapping and storing. Let us understand both of them one by one.

1. Wrapping

  • Meat, like other perishables, must be wrapped before being placed in the refrigerator or freezer. Simply said, it’s not safe to eat raw meat if it’s been sitting out of the fridge for any length of time or even inside the fridge without any packing because of the risk of cross-contamination. To prevent meat juices from leaking out of the packaging and contaminating other foods, make sure the meat is well packed inside the wrapper before sealing it.
  • When you have to marinade a portion of the meat, this presents a particularly difficult challenge for restaurants. Make sure that the cellophane is wrapped around the meat in whatever container it may be in.
  • When the meat is appropriately wrapped, the levels of humidity and oxygen, as well as the exposed parts of the meat, are controlled. This will help in preventing the spread of infections that are dependent on these conditions.

2. Storing guidelines

  • Remove the meat from the plastic packaging, pat it dry with a paper towel, and then put it in a tightly closed glass or rigid plastic container instead of keeping it in the package in which you bought it.
  • Put the meat in the lower section of your refrigerator, where the cooler temperature will prevent the growth of bacteria.
  • The critical temperature range for keeping meat securely refrigerated is 38F to 40F.
  • Use hermetically sealed plastic, glass, or freezer-safe bags to preserve fresh meat in the freezer. If you don’t have access to particular containers, you can vacuum pack the meat using a machine that you can easily purchase or wrap it in plastic film multiple times.
  • Always label the meat you plan to keep in the freezer with the date it was frozen.
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Now you know that for the meat to be safe and preserved for a long time in kitchen storage, it must be properly wrapped and stored, but there are a few other details that must be paid for as well.

Meat storage of a departmental store exhibiting boxes of meat on the counter.
Checking the containers for air leakage is very important before buying from stores.

Additional Measures

  • Keep in mind the “packed on” or “use by” dates so that you can consume meat before it gets spoiled. The ideal qualities of meat include a vivid colour (not grey), a juicy texture, and a pleasant aroma.
  • Once frozen, the expiration date on a perishable item is irrelevant; food that is kept frozen in cold storage forever is safe even if it has gone bad.
  • To kill bacteria and germs, unwrap the meat, wash it under running water, remove any excess fat or tissue, and then soak it in a bowl of tepid water seasoned with a bit of turmeric or salt before putting it in the restaurant kitchen storage.
  • Never allow raw meat to come into contact with cooked meat in the kitchen storage since doing so might spread harmful bacteria from the raw meat to the cooked meat.
  • Follow the FIFO principle while dealing with ground meat. It is standard practice to use the oldest ingredients in stock first if they are still within their designated use-by date.
  • Whole cuts of meat and fish should be stored in cold storage at a lower level than ready-to-eat foods. Lightly seared, injected, and ground meat should be stored below complete slices.

By following these safety measures, you can confidently feed your customers tasty meat without worrying that they will become ill from eating spoiled food. Carefully wrapping and storing meat will eliminate most of your issues.

Hope this helps! Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for more restaurant industry-related updates.

Kushank Joshi
Kushank Joshi
Kushank is a content writer for Petpooja. He thinks he has a good sense of humour, but he constantly cracks lame jokes while sipping his tenth cup of chai for the day. You can contact him at kushank.joshi@petpooja.com; he's fun to talk to (minus the jokes).

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