Food safety is important, not only for your customers but also for the security of your business. Spoiled food doesn’t just taste bad, it can also hold millions of bacteria that could make your customers or your employees ill.
There are health and safety regulations that your business must comply with to be in good public standing. Proper food safety also helps prevent food waste, which protects your business from unnecessary expenses.
The First In, First Out System
The most important part of food safety is FIFO, which stands for first in, first out. The FIFO system ensures that food is handled and stored properly. The key takeaway from the FIFO system is that the first food brought in needs to be the first food taken out and served.
FIFO also encompasses a set of best practices for food safety — from packaging to restocking. Integrating FIFO into your restaurant has remarkable benefits for your business.
FIFO Packaging for Fresh Food
Having the right food storage equipment helps to ensure food is properly labeled, packaged, and stored. FIFO-compliant food containers should have a flat surface for a food label and airtight lids whenever possible.
Proper food packaging doesn’t just keep food fresh, but also protects from pests or falling objects to maintain good hygiene. The labels must clearly state when the food was first stored, its expiration date, or both.
FIFO Food Storage
Storing food according to the FIFO system means setting things up in a way that makes it easy for employees to utilise the system. Items that were stored first, and therefore need to be used first, should be placed in front. Items that are newly stored should be placed in the back. All items should be positioned so that the label points toward the front and is clearly visible.
FIFO Food Safety Training
Every employee that works with food at your business should understand the essentials of the FIFO system’s food safety protocols. Proper food safety training helps instill the best possible food safety habits in your employees.
Under the FIFO system, employees must be trained to check food label dates, ensure that food is being stored with “first in” items at the front, package and label food correctly, and properly clean food storage areas. In addition, they must be trained to check all foods for signs of spoilage before use, regardless of the date on the container.
Scheduling for FIFO Practices
Once all employees are well-trained and can execute the tenants of the FIFO system, it needs to be incorporated into their routine. Depending on how high the turnover rate is for food at your business, you may need to do a stock refill and rotation once a week, a few times a week, once a day, or even multiple times a day. Create a schedule that is visible to all employees and includes times to restock food and rotate items according to FIFO, as well as times to deep clean all food storage areas.
The Best FIFO Food Industry Products
NCCO International is Europe’s premier food safety and food service industry expert. We supply innovative solutions that help businesses operate at the highest level of food safety. Our FIFO bottles are the perfect tool for food safety, specifically created to distribute ingredients first in, first out.
NCCO International’s FIFO bottles, kits, and accessories feature an assortment of tools to improve the overall efficiency of your kitchen. Check out all our BPA-free products, including our DateIt™ Food Rotation Labelling System, and contact your distributor to place an order today!