Storing goods and materials safely

Storing food safely


Food and catering businesses must ensure food is correctly stored to comply with food-hygiene requirements - and protect their customers, staff and reputation.

They must:

  • observe temperature controls in all storage areas, including display cabinets
  • store dried food off the floor
  • observe use-by dates
  • ensure all areas are clean
  • avoid overloading refrigerated units - if they become too full, air doesn't circulate properly, causing food to deteriorate
  • follow any storage instructions on food packaging

You must supervise or properly train staff handling food. Your local authority's environmental health department can advise you on training courses. Find your local council in Northern Ireland.

Take care not to cross-contaminate food. For example, don't store raw and cooked food next to each other. Wash equipment you have used to handle raw food before using it on cooked food. 

You can reduce the risk of storing food by buying from reputable businesses which supply food that has been stored, processed and treated safely before it gets to you.

If you have any concerns about the food when it is delivered, you should refuse delivery.

You should also assess any possible food storage manual-handling risks, such as employees stacking crates of bottles or lifting heavy bags of potatoes. See safe manual handling at work.

You must store all food and drink in a way which minimises the risk of pollution.