Food Storage Guidelines


Updated: January 2019

Overview: The Certified Dietary Manager, Certified Food Protection Professional (CDM®, CFPP®) is the expert in their department on matters of food storage. They run an efficient operation and train their staff on food storage policies, as well as implement improvement processes to maximize effectiveness of the policies. Storage is a complex issue that not only involves having enough space but includes several variables.

Supplemental Material: Access the Gap Analysis Tool to supplement your practices.


Standard 1

The Certified Dietary Manager, Certified Food Protection Professional (CDM, CFPP) is involved with kitchen design or remodeling to maximize efficiency and proper storage utilization.


Implement & Evaluate

1.1 Separate areas are designated for dry storage, refrigerated storage, and freezer storage.

Dry Storage:
✓ Room or area designated to store packaged or containerized bulk food that is not time/temp controlled for safety, dry goods, or single-service items*
✓ Store food in a clean, dry location not exposed to splashes, dust, or other contamination.
✓ Should not be a stairwell, areas used by for other purposes, or areas that employees in other departments have access to

✓ Units are temperature controlled, maintained for cleanliness and to code, and approved for use in foodservice
✓ Should not be accessible by employees in other departments or clients

✓ Units are temperature controlled, maintained for cleanliness and to code, and approved for use in foodservice
✓ Should not be accessible by employees in other departments or clients

1.2 Food is stored in separate areas from waste, recycling or contaminated service utensils.

✓ An area designated for refuse, recyclables, returnables shall be located so that it is separate from food, equipment, utensils, linens, and single-service and single-use items and a public health hazard or nuisance is not created*
✓ Soiled or contaminated food or equipment is not brought into storage areas

1.3 Kitchen layout and design audits are conducted.

✓ Storage spaces are adequate in size for number of meals served daily between delivery dates
✓ Storage spaces are easily accessible for delivery and production
✓ Storage spaces are well lit and ventilated according to code
✓ Storage spaces are energy efficient

1.4 Work flow analysis is conducted for food receiving and storage.

✓ Work flow is efficient for delivery, storage and production
✓ All employees follow food safety practices along every step of the flow of food

Standard 2

The Certified Dietary Manager, Certified Food Protection Professional (CDM, CFPP) implements and evaluates proper food storage in order in ensure food safety.


Implement & Evaluate

2.1 Food is stored at safe temperatures and for safe lengths of time.

Storage Temperatures
Dry Storage 50℉-70℉

Use-by/expiration dates

Refrigerated Storage 41℉ or below
Meat 3-5 days
Ground Meat 1-2 days
Fish/Shellfish 1-2 days
Milk Use-by date

Deep Chilling Storage 26℉-32℉

Freezer Storage 0℉ or below
Meat 4-12 months
Ground Meat 3-4 months
Poultry 6-9 months
Fish/Shellfish 2-10 months
Ice Cream 2-4 months

✓ Food storage areas are equipped with thermometers that are calibrated on a regular basis and are accurate to +/- 3℉
✓ Temperatures are taken and logged one or more times per day according to policy
In a mechanically refrigerated or hot food storage unit, the sensor of a tempurature measuring device shall be located to measure the air temperature or a simulated product temperature in the warmest part of a mechanically refrigerated unit and in the coolest part of a hot food storage unit*

2.2 Food is stored away from walls and floors.

✓ Food is stored at least 6 inches above the floor
✓ Pressurized beverage containers, cased food in waterproof containers such as bottles or cans, and milk containers in plastic crates may be stored on a floor that is clean and not exposed to floor moisture*
✓ Food is stored away from walls and ceilings
✓ Local or state agencies may have varying food storage guidelines

2.3 Food is stored on clean, safe storage equipment or units.

✓ Store food only in rooms meeting state and federal guidelines
✓ Shelving is slatted, rust-proof and not covered with foil or other material
✓ Staff and CDM, CFPP should recognize the signs of contamination in storage

2.4 Food is stored in clean, secure & labeled containers.

✓ Food is stored in its original container
✓ Food that is removed from the original container is stored in containers approved for food and is clearly identified with the common name of the food and the date the package was opened

2.5 Supplies of emergency water and food are rotated every six months.

✓ Documentation of rotation and inventory par levels are kept in the department
✓ Note use-by or expiration dates

2.6 Food is stored in a manner that prevents cross-contamination.

✓ Raw food is stored below ready to eat foods
✓ Poultry is stored on a refrigerator shelf below fish, beef and pork
✓ Chemicals are stored separately from food

Standard 3: Handling and Storing Fresh Produce

The Certified Dietary Manager, Certified Food Protection Professional (CDM, CFPP) Implements and evaluates policies for proper storage and rotation to reduce loss or food waste.


Implement & Evaluate

3.1 Food storage includes a First In, First Out (FIFO) storage method.

✓ Policies and Procedures for food storage are in place.
✓ Storeroom staff date and rotate food so as to ensure maximum freshness using FIFO or something comparable

3.2 Food use-by and expiration dates are monitored.

✓ Food must be used by on or before expiration dates
✓ Containers are clearly marked with the item name and use-by date.
✓ Food should be held for a maximum of 7 days at 41˚ F or less. Day 1 is the original preparation day. Day 7 is the use-by date.
✓ Combined ingredients or food items should be marked with the use-by date of the earliest prepared food item

3.3 Menus are updated and documented if items are changed to utilize leftover food.

✓ Maintain records of menu changes

3.4 Storage areas are secured to prevent loss.

✓ Loss Prevention Policies and Procedures are implemented and enforced
✓ Storage areas are secured or locked
✓ Storage areas are accessed only by staff responsible for receiving and handling food

3.5 Plate waste and product waste is monitored.

✓ CQI is implemented for Plate Waste
✓ Sales trends are tracked
✓ Customers’ opinions and choice are gathered by CDM, CFPP & Staff


*FDA, 2017 Food Code. 2017
Food Keeper App, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201

Legvold, Dee, and Salisbury, Kristi. Foodservice Management by Design. Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals, 2nd Edition, 2018.

Kristin Klinefelter, MS, RDN, LD has been in the dietetics field for 20 years, working in a variety of consulting and education capacities. She has been working with the University of North Dakota's Nutrition and Foodservice Training Program for ten years and served on the Certifying Board for Dietary Managers (CBDM) for six years.

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