How Long Can You Safely Store Food at Your Takeaway Business?

Anyone in the business of takeaway catering knows that keeping food safe is critical for the survival of the business. If prepared food shows the least sign of deterioration, the Health Inspectors will be knocking on doors, and taking away the owner.

What causes food to spoil?

The longer we hold on to food, the more likely it is going to spoil and be unsafe to eat. Vegetables wilt, milk sours, fish produces unpleasant odours, and although microorganisms and mould are the lifeblood of cheese production, mouldy cheese is not quite what the customer ordered.

Open packages present another crop of potential problems, not the least of which are, well, insects. We do not want to feed a family of undesirables and should be doing our utmost to keep out those little visitors who were not invited to the party.

How long does takeaway food last?

Let’s take a look at your popular Monday Special: The Double Decker Tuna Sandwich Supreme. How long will it last?

  • Four hours at room temperature
  • Two to three days refrigerated at or below 4° C

We’ve come a long way since the mid-1700’s when the original refrigerator prototype was invented by William Cullen. Food storage time has increased by days. But it’s not enough. Even a freezer will not look kindly upon a salmon steak it’s been hosting since 2015.

So, is there anything one can do to maximise storage times, prevent unwanted rodent visitors, and preserve takeaway food efficiently? Yes! Store your food correctly in plastic containers.

Food storage 101

  1. Pack your salads and prepared meals in stackable plastic containers with clear labels – view more.
  2. Don’t create new recipes by mixing different foods in the same container! Storing cheese and mushrooms together will not magically create a mushroom quiche. Place raw ingredients in separate containers to minimise the spread of bacteria.
  3. Choose containers that fit the food. Being prepared with a number of containers in each size work well. Purchase plastic food storage containers with lids at wholesale prices from a quality distributor.
  4. Use tamper-evident plastic containers to pack your customers’ orders. This will be seen as diligence on your part, making the customer feel more secure about the hygiene of the food contained.
  5. Purchase only high-quality containers – view more.