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In the modern food industry, frozen foods are a staple of many businesses – and diets.

Advancements in frozen and cold-stored foods have made them a popular choice for people of any inclination or health requirement, but the transportation, storage, and delivery of pre-packaged frozen goods is an industry and a process all unto itself.

To fill this need, there’s been a rise in the storage industry of cold chain warehouses. Cold chain warehouses are any warehouse that serves as a stop along the way for frozen goods, from frozen pizzas to produce, and any temperature sensitive product that depends on the right conditions for safe storage. Whether your warehouse distributes the products after they arrive, or you serve as storage for a larger food retail outlet, cold chain warehouses have storage requirements that combine the safety of a restaurant with the durability that extreme environments call for.

Here’s a few storage tips for cold chain warehouses to help maximize your refrigerated storage:

Use durable shelving: Cold chain warehouses primarily deal in refrigerated and/or frozen storage, and the temperatures involved can be hard on your storage solutions if you’re not careful. Focus on using rust proof wire shelving, aluminium shelves, or plastic food shelving to make sure they can stand up to the extreme cold needed to keep your products safe.

Inspect for damage: Even if your shelves themselves are built to last, you need to inspect your shelves and the areas around them for damage to prevent unwanted guests and/or keep your food from spoiling due to external factors. Check to make sure your shelves are intact, look for holes in or around window frames and ledges, and make sure there’s no cracks in the walls for pests to get in.

Set a picking/lot tracking method: All frozen food inventory needs to be rotated on a FIFO (first-in, first-out) basis to prevent spoilage and ensure “best-by” dates are adhered to. Develop an in-house system to track products as they come in, including product date (both date of arrival and date of shipment) and lot codes, as lot codes can be the easiest way to track how long a product has been at your warehouse and when it needs to be sold by for freshness and safety.

Proper humidity and temperature: Finally, no matter what you’re storing or where you need to store it, the right temperature and humidity requirements need to be observed. Review the individual storage requirements of each of your products and designate storage space as needed for each one – fruits under these conditions, frozen mac and cheese under these different conditions, and so on. Knowing the difference can provide a much healthier environment for both your goods, your staff, and your customers.