Food is stored properly to prevent contamination of food from any source.


  1. Food is covered to protect the food. Containers and covers must be impervious and nonabsorbent to eliminate the possibility of containers becoming carriers of bacteria.
  2. Food is stored in a manner that permits cleaning of the storage area and in locations that do not result in a risk of contamination from other food or from the conduct of normal operations.
  3. To avoid accidental contamination of food in the preparation process, bulk ingredients are labeled and dated to prevent confusion due to possible similar appearances.
  4. Proper storage temperatures and the availability of facilities to maintain temperatures control the growth of bacteria. Temperature gauges continuously monitor air temperature.
  5. Food remains in the critical temperature zone(40º-140ºF) for as little time as possible to prevent microbial growth.
  6. Containers of food are stored a minimum of six inches above the floor in a manner that protects the food from splashes and other contaminants and which permits easy cleaning of the storage area.
  7. Food and food containers are not stored underexposed/unprotected sewer lines or water lines.
  8. Food not subject to further washing or cooking before serving is stored to protect it against cross-contamination from foods requiring washing or cooking.
  9. All food not stored in the product container or package in which it was originally obtained, is stored in a tightly covered container, labeled and dated. Items are date marked with the open date. Items are disposed after the date + 6 days.
  10. Refrigeration units are provided to assure the maintenance of potentially hazardous food at 41º Fahrenheit temperatures during storage. Each refrigerator storing potentially hazardous food is provided with an accurate thermometer to measure air temperature in the warmest part of the unit, located to be easily readable.
  11. Potentially hazardous food requiring refrigeration after preparation is rapidly cooled to an internal temperature of 41ºFahrenheit or below.  Potentially hazardous foods of large volume or prepared in large quantities  is rapidly cooled, utilizing such methods as shallow pans so that the cooling  period does not exceed two hours. A thermometer is used to insure that acceptable internal temperatures have been reached. Potentially hazardous food that are ready-to-eat must have a expiration date. Food must be used within four days if held at 45º Fahrenheit, or seven days if held at41º Fahrenheit.
  12. Frozen food is kept frozen and stored at a temperature of0ºFahrenheit or below.
  13. Refrigerators must have enough shelf space to allow for air circulation around shelves and refrigerator walls to maintain proper food temperatures.
  14. Food is examined when brought to the kitchen to make sure it is not spoiled, dirty, or infested with insects.
  15. Foods are stored in rodent and insect proof covered metal, glass, or hard plastic containers.
  16. Storerooms are kept dry and free from leaky plumbing or drainage problems. All holes and cracks in storerooms are repaired to prevent insect and rodent infestation.
  17. Storerooms are to be kept cool to increase shelf life (60º- 70º Fahrenheit). Remove all food during summer months unless the building is air conditioned.
  18. All food items are stored separately from non-food items.(see Storage of Non-Food Items policy)
  19. All other items are stored in accordance with the policy, “Storage of Chemical Storage and other Non-food Items”.
  20. An inventory system ensures that food is rotated.
  21. All empty cartons and packaging must be removed immediately and cleaned and recycled.

This policy complies with Head Start Performance Standard 45 CFR Section 1304.23.
It was approved by Policy Council on October 14, 1997.
Updated July 25, 2001. July 24, 2002. July 14, 2004. June 2010. May 2018
© 1995-2021. Head Start of Lane County. All rights reserved.

REVIEWED: April 2021