Warehouses that contain food and perishable items must be set up in a specific way to ensure that foods do not spoil quickly. Contamination also must be kept to a minimum, and this means that storage practices, packaging, and cleaning of the warehouse itself is necessary inside the warehouse.
When a warehouse is first set up for food items, the warehouse itself should be checked to make sure that it is secure. This means that no openings, small holes, or structural deficiencies should be visibly noticeable. Holes in the warehouse can offer entrances to mice and other small rodents and these pests can easily contaminate boxes. If holes are seen, they should be fixed before any food is moved into the warehouse.
The warehouse should be cleaned thoroughly before food is stored as well. Thorough cleaning that includes sweeping, vacuuming, and washing of the floors, walls, and shelving is necessary. Once all dust, debris, and dirt is removed, shelving can be set up. Shelves should be placed in areas away from walls, because this will keep food away from any condensation or water that could potentially leak through. Shelves should be placed a substantial distance away from one another. This helps to allow forklifts to drive in between shelves and transport large boxes full of perishable items for storage. A forklift rental may be needed to help with this transportation if one has not be purchased.
The temperature and humidity in the warehouse is also essential in keeping food items from spoiling. Temperatures should be kept around 60 degrees, and humidity should be kept around 30%. These conditions will keep moisture away from food, and allow foods to stay intact without items like chocolate and other soft ingredients from softening and melting. If humidity is consistently high in the warehouse, a commercial dehumidifier should be purchased and set up to remove the moisture from the air.
After cleaning and preparing the warehouse, shelving units should be marked and organized with a system to make sure that the oldest food items that will spoil the soonest are placed in an area where they will be shipped out first. Labeling that is placed on the shelves can help with this, and large signage is best to make sure that all employees are able to read and understand dates and time frames that indicate when items need to be shipped.
After all of this set up, food items can be stored in the warehouse and on shelves. All foods should be packaged and contained appropriately, and this means inspections of boxes need to be performed regularly. Also, employees who drive the forklift rental should be mindful of box stacking, because food items can easily become destroyed if too much weight is placed on them.