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Proper food storage chart

With the principles of correct storage conditions, food handlers can keep the safety of any perishable food for a long time. Some foods can now even last for 1-2 months which saves so much time, effort, and cost for food business owners. Refrigeration includes the chance to repurpose large amounts of leftovers even for food establishments. Despite this, different foods would have different maximum storage times. To maximize the shelf life of every ingredient that you have, you can use a proper food storage chart as a guide.

The shelf life of food may depend on several different factors. The only way to maximize their shelflife is to determine their correct storage conditions. When foods are correctly stored, food businesses can stock up on fresh ingredients, buy in bulk, save up on transportation costs, and carry a continuous food service. Additionally, proper food storage reduces the risk of causing foodborne illnesses. 

To help you understand more about the principles of food storage and determine how to properly store your foods, we have prepared this detailed article for you.


What is a proper food storage chart?

A food storage chart is a useful reference tool that can be used to determine the estimated shelf life of foods when stored at ambient, refrigerated, and freezing temperatures. This chart can help food handlers determine which storage conditions and proper temperatures would be most suitable to store foods. A proper food storage chart can become an integral part of your basic food safety management system (FSMS) and help in managing the shelf life of your raw ingredients.

Depending on internal and external factors, different foods may have a different shelf life. Common foods that have less available water are more likely to stay wholesome for longer than those with abundant moisture. As an example, dried foods with high salt content are less likely to be spoiled than raw meat or fresh vegetables. Some foods can be more tolerant and less likely to be affected by the temperature danger zone whereas some can be more sensitive.

Additionally, acidic foods are generally more stable than foods with low acid. This is because prominent and harmful bacteria and parasites cannot survive high acid conditions. In this case, other factors such as food temperature would need to be controlled to prevent other pathogens like molds from spoiling the food. At these safe temperatures, cold foods can stay fresh longer without the fear of spoilage.

Generally, refrigerated foods can last longer than those stored in ambient temperatures. Keeping food cold slows down the growth of bacteria and allows food handlers to use these raw foods for later preparation. Refrigeration or controlled safe temperature storage is very beneficial in trying to keep highly perishable products such as dairy products, salad dressings, raw meat (e.g., whole and ground meats), vegetables, fresh fish, and fruits.


Who needs a Proper food storage chart?

A proper food storage chart can be used by any food establishment in the industry. The food storage chart contains an extensive amount of information and may help food establishments significantly. Whether your food business specializes in only a few dishes or offers a wide range of products, your team would surely find this chart useful. For smaller businesses like food trucks, the proper food storage chart can help guide you in planning which ingredients to use first as well as which ones can be served later.

food safety fridge storage

What are the benefits of a Proper food storage chart?

Proper food storage is a critical food safety practice and a very important aspect of food service. When a food service operator can properly control a good storage environment, they can assure food safety and prevent serving any harmful foods to customers that can increase the risk of food poisoning. Additionally, a proper food storage chart can offer different benefits for food service teams.

  • Reference guide. The main purpose of a proper food storage chart is to serve as a reference for food handlers regarding the shelf life of foods. This chart can help your team determine in which conditions should you put your raw ingredients and how long will they last in such conditions. A proper food storage chart also considers ready-to-eat foods as well as partially cooked ingredients. 
  • Reminder. A quick glance at a proper food storage chart can remind food handlers whether a food is almost past its expiration date and needs to be immediately used or if it can still last a few more days. This is a great advantage for food handlers as your team can ensure that no food will spoil and go to waste. Additionally, it can help your team only use the freshest ingredients for high-quality foods.
  • Cost-saving. In addition to reducing the amount of food waste, a proper food safety chart can help your team plan which ingredients to buy first and buy in bulk. This chart can help you decide whether it is economical to stock up on several packs of cured meat or to spend another trip to the food market to buy in portions. 
  • More organized storage. A proper food storage chart also tells you whether it would be better to just cool foods or put your products in the freezer. Frozen foods are less likely to be contaminated and spoiled by dangerous bacteria. Although, some foods such as pasta and salads, although their safety can be preserved in freezing temperatures, are most likely to become soft and mushy when frozen. Use a proper food storage chart to decide and organize in which storage conditions should you put your foods.


To help you understand the topic more, here are a few frequently asked questions about food storage.

What is the correct storage order of food?

Properly grouped foods must be placed in a storage area with foods that need extensive cooking at the bottom-most part and the ready-to-eat foods at the top shelf. This arrangement helps prevent cross-contamination among foods, especially from the drippings of raw food. Use our fridge layout food safety poster in combination with a food storage chart to help you manage your foods in the kitchen.

What are 5 principles of safe food storage?

Below are the 5 principles of safe food storage that must always be considered:

  • Avoid the temp danger zone for foods that is at 40°F to 140°F (5°C to 60°C).
  • Store foods that require thorough processing below cooked and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Keep cold food cold, and hot food hot.
  • Always check use-by or expiration dates. Practice First-In, First-Out.
  • Place foods in clean, food-grade containers.


How to create a Proper food storage chart?

In creating a proper food storage chart, it's important to consider factors such as the credibility of the information used as well as the presentation of data. You can always add and customize your proper food storage chart to include information about the major food ingredients that you use in your food business.

Specifically, when making or selecting a proper food storage chart, make sure to consider the following factors:

  • Based on facts. Information regarding the shelflife of foods, whether raw or ready-to-eat, as well as food safety tips, are widely available on the internet. Make sure that the information you use when adding storage conditions and shelf life on a proper food storage chart is correct. Use scientific research, published journals, and food safety agency regulations for the information that you need. Remember that the safety of the customers is in the line when it comes to food storage. So, you have to be sure that you have the correct information.
  • Updated. Food scientists and government agencies always strive to provide the food industry with more efficient ways to handle food. As such, new directives or food safety regulations are often released. When making a proper food storage chart, check whether food safety agencies have released any new information. The information can sometimes be a new grouping of foods to make the chart more efficient and less congested, or more specific directions.
  • Clear. A proper food storage chart can sometimes be very detailed. This means that it may have much information presented in a single chart. As such, make sure that the information that you present is shown clearly and will not cause any confusion. Properly separate information to create distinctions among storage conditions. Additionally, your proper food storage chart must be placed in an easy-to-read location to avoid any confusion or misreading the chart.
  • Extensive. As we have mentioned, storage conditions for different foods significantly vary. Some may need to be stored in freezing conditions, whereas some are very stable at ambient temperature and on a dry pantry shelf such as canned foods. Other information may also indicate specific shelf life for foods that are still in their original container or those that have already been opened but are in airtight containers. Food in an unopened package would normally have a longer shelf life. As much as possible, you want your proper cold food storage chart to contain the most significant food storage conditions for your food establishment. 

A proper food storage chart may be one of the most information-rich charts there is in the food industry. It contains many information and can be condensed at times. Making one from scratch can be tricky and will require a lot of time for preparation. FoodDocs is here to the rescue! You can simply download our proper food storage chart and use it for your team's convenience.

This food storage chart is just one of our many food safety resource materials. Under our HACCP plan template hub, we've collated the most significant charts, posters, checklists, and other templates for food businesses. Additionally, check out our temperature log sheet template that you can use for regular monitoring of your freezer thermometer temperature. 

Food Safety Management System

How to help your team manage food safety with proper storage

Several factors need to be monitored when it comes to keeping foods safe in the correct food storage conditions. The temperature checks and cleanliness of the storage location must always be maintained through regular monitoring to ensure food safety. With so many different types of food and different storage conditions, food handlers may have a hard time monitoring all of them. Not to mention that these operations are not the only ones that need to be regularly checked.

Although food safety posters and charts can help you remember the things that need to be done, these solutions would still require your employees to manually check the information. They would also have to spend time looking for the information that they need. This can also promote confusion and misreading, especially in a high-traffic environment like a kitchen.

What if there was a smarter way to remember all food safety tasks? Luckily, there is! At FoodDocs, we have devised a digital solution to ensure food safety when it comes to maintaining proper food storage.


With just a few clicks and answers to our basic questions about your business, you can get the following benefits from our system:

  • You can get automatically generated monitoring logs such as our Fridge Temp Log to help you monitor the conditions of your storage areas. This log is equipped with detailed instructions on how to perform the monitoring procedure to guide food handlers.

  • Enjoy our auto-fill solutions equipped on our monitoring logs. This feature can help improve accuracy in recording the temperature of your storage areas and save time for your employees. All that needs to be done is to verify the information.

  • Our system can help employees remember when to monitor the temperature of storage areas by sending intuitive notifications for every task that is due. With this feature, you can ensure that temperature monitoring is done on time and always.

food safety fridge storage

Temperature log with instructions in FoodDocs


In addition to solutions for your employees, our digital Food Safety Management System also features systems to save every manager's time from supervising:

  • You can switch to our digital FSMS solution in just 15 minutes by quickly answering questions about your operations. After the process, our system can automatically generate all the important food safety documents for your operations.

  • A real-time dashboard that shows a quick overview of your food safety operations. Save at least 20% of your time supervising your team with this real-time dashboard. Use it as well to identify areas that need more attention and improvements.

  • Cloud storage that you can use to store, organize, and access all of your digital documents with ease.

Our digital Food Safety Management System (FSMS) software is powered by artificial intelligence. This smart solution can help you maintain food safety compliance. In just an average of 15 minutes, our system can automatically set up a comprehensive digital FSMS for you based on your everyday food safety operations.

Not only can our system help you maintain compliance, but it can also move your food business towards sustainability. Unlike your traditional monitoring systems and FSMS, our system will not require any paper-based monitoring forms. You can free up the space that you used to dedicate for file cabinets and use it for other food service equipment. 

Using our system, logging information about your storage conditions and keeping track of your food shelf life can be super easy. We can help you maintain food safety compliance without all the hassle and for less! Join us now by trying our free, 14-day trial and experience our services yourself.

fooddocs food safety documents

Switch to digital in 15 minutes

Linnuke An automated setup enables you to go digital in 15 minutes

Linnuke Our app notifications help your team to remember all daily tasks

Linnuke Save time on supervising and use automatically filled monitoring sheets


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