Surviving Heat Waves in Food Storage

March 1, 2022

It is a difficult job to preserve food or other products safely during extreme temperatures. It is all the more difficult to survive the spells of heat waves we often experience during the harsh summers. No country is spared from these hot conditions. The temperature of the interiors is affected by the temperature outside.

You have warehouses and your warehouse should be able to handle the extreme temperature outside. The shelves in the warehouse should be so made and designed that they can withstand the temperature rise. If the shelves cannot handle these conditions, it can cause greater damage to your food products.

Monitor your Freezer

You must have noted that during spikes of temperature, the freezer and cooler work much harder than ever. It can lead to the burning of motors and it can happen without an alarm.

You should go for regular maintenance of your freezer that is used most frequently. You should also monitor their temperature often. You should adjust the temperature whenever that is needed. It is one of the ways to monitor your freezer.

It is imperative that you take all precautions for food product storage in extreme temperatures. The following are a few guidelines to be followed:

  • Some basic rules should be in place and followed. You should keep the raw products below the cooked products. Keep the food temperature at 4 degrees Celsius or even below. It is a safe temperature for storage in the freezer.
  • When there is a high temperature, bacteria grow rapidly in the temperature range of 40o and 140o Fahrenheit. You should avoid this danger zone of temperature for the food. Food should not be left out of the freezer for more than 10 minutes, especially perishable food.
  • Milk, cheese, butter, and other dairy products should be kept between 34o and 38o Fahrenheit. Meat products should be kept between 33o and 36o F. Eggs should be kept between 33o and 37o F. The temperature of the frozen food should always be kept below 40oF.

During the summers, you should know how to survive a heat wave without air conditioning.

  • Hydrate yourself when you are hot and looking flushed. If you hydrate yourself, you do the cooling also. Keep yourself cool.
  • You should take a frequent cold shower that will keep your body cool. It will reduce your body temperature.
  • You can use soaps that have cooling ingredients like peppermint. The menthol in peppermint sends positive signals to your brain and you start feeling cooler and better.

Some Aspects Worth Noting

Storing canned food in a hot climate is a challenge. Heat acts against canned food. The food inside cans will go bad if kept exposed to high temperatures. The food should be kept in an environment that has got temperature control. It should be less than 70o Fahrenheit.

It is difficult to have long-term food storage in a hot climate. Your food should be stored in a climate-controlled area. The temperature should ideally be kept below 70o Fahrenheit. Dry food should be kept in glass or plastic containers to keep the rodents at bay. The newer food items should be placed after the older items.

You may be wondering what should be the best temperature for food storage. The temperature of the freezer should be below 0o F. the refrigerator temperature should be less than 40o F. you should keep an appliance thermometer by your side to check the temperature time and again.

One should know how hot is hot for food storage. When food is stored below 75o Fahrenheit, it retains the flavor, colour, and nutrients. High temperature breaks down food quite easily. Though it won’t be harmful, it may not taste as good as you expect had you kept it at a lower temperature. The food might lose colour, texture, smell, aroma, and above all, taste. You may want to throw them away in the bin.

Maintain Cold Chain

For highly perishable food items the manufacturers and producers adhere to the cold chain for delivery of such goods to the stores. When you purchase these items from the stores and you intend to consume them after a few days, make sure that you refrigerate them as soon as possible, i.e., maintain the cold chain recommended for such highly perishable food products. You will find the range of temperatures at which the product is to be stored mentioned on the packet.

It is advised to buy such products in small quantities and preferably small packets. The reason is that thawing it for consuming only a portion and re-freezing it causes putrefaction to set in due to bacterial growth.