Food Storage Area Food Safety Guidelines

As a Partner Agency of the Food Bank, your food storage location will be subject to regular inspections by a member of the Agency Relations team.   They will come out for your first site visit after your application is submitted and before your account is technically opened. After your account has been opened, we will send someone back to see you again at least once every 24 months, and ideally every 12 months. Here’s what that person will be looking for:

– The room where you store food is securely locked (and the refrigerators and/or freezers, if they are outside of that locked room) – there is no opportunity for pilferage or theft.

– The room where you store food is completely intact – there are no cracks in the walls, floor, or ceiling, and no unfinished gaps in the wall (such as might be found around incomplete electrical outlets or pipe connections).

– The room where you store food shows no evidence of pests or mold – the room should not look or smell like mice, insects, water damage or mold are present.

– All product must be stored at least 6 inches off of the floor – we will make exceptions only for standard pallets that are shorter than 6 inches.

– Each refrigerator and freezer in which food is stored should have its own thermometer inside and a temperature log posted with daily records for programs serving food for immediate consumption or weekly records for programs that send groceries home with families. Freezers should be at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below; refrigerators at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below. At the initial inspection, a new Partner Agency must have ≥2 weeks recorded.

– All food must be stored separately from non-food products, including cleaning supplies, personal care items, and even paper products.

– Ideally, food and non-food items would be kept in different rooms.

– The second best option would be to have non-food items stored in a closet or cupboard while food occupies the room proper.

– The third acceptable option is to keep non-food products in bins with sealed lids which act as a barrier to odors that could permeate dry packaged product.

– We will temporarily accept storage areas in which non-food products are kept a minimum of four feet away from food products and in which NO ODOR is apparent. For such sites, the inspection will include a discussion of and decision on how to proceed with implementation of a more permanent storage solution.