It is likely that there will be a walk-in cold room in any commercial kitchen or food preparation business; however, although it is high-tech and has a large capacity, you may not be getting the best out of it. If it is not well-organised, it could be running inefficiently and causing a danger to both the contents and your employees. Let’s take a look at a few tips for organising your walk-in cold room.
Make good use of shelving
Shelving in your cold room enables you to sensibly organise the products stored there. Remember the rule ‘raw on the floor’; not literally, but on the bottom shelf at least. On the subject of the bottom shelf, make sure this is not too close to the floor, allowing at least a six-inch clearance. This gap enables the air to flow easily and facilitates cleaning.
Stand clear of the fans
Make sure the fans in your cold room are not obstructed, as this could lead to a reduction in efficiency and you might not be able to achieve the correct temperature. Similarly, allow sufficient space for good air flow, as this can also affect the temperature.
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Don’t forget about stock rotation
Label the products that are stored in your cold room and always include their best before or use by dates. If you are unsure about what these date standards mean, the Food Standards Agency provides an explanation and guidance. This will help you to minimise waste by using older products first and help you to stay within the law should you get an unexpected visit from an environmental health officer.
Cleanliness is next to godliness, as the saying goes, so make sure you keep your walk-in cold room spotlessly clean. Put a rota in place to make sure that all elements of the cold room, including the shelves, grilles, runners, floor, ceiling and doors, are removed – where possible – and cleaned regularly. Commercial fridges take a real hammering, from bags of leaking food to spills, splashes and dribbles. If they are not cleaned regularly and thoroughly, you run the risk of a build-up of bacteria, cross-contamination, and staff slipping and hurting themselves.