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It’s strange. But this is how FDA wants you to store your dried food
Food and Drinks

It’s Strange. But This Is How FDA Wants You To Store Your Dried Food

Is it just simple to leave all dry goods on a storage and say it’s safe? BestLifeTips answer for the question how far above the floor should food be stored in this article.

Have you ever wondered how we should keep dry goods safe, wholesome and nutritious for as long as possible? Let’s start with how far above the floor should food be stored first. Dive deep into this question with BestLifeTips.

How far above the floor should food be stored

Dry storage is not on our top priority, even though this seemingly simple area of a facility could inadvertently create a major risk factor—a pest infestation, for instant.

How far above the floor should food be stored

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When reviewing regulations and literature on dry storage of foods, there is a limited amount of very specific regulation. The FDA Food Code requires food to be stored six inches above the floor, to be protected while being stored, and to be free of pests that could contaminate food.

How to store dry goods properly

According to Melissa Vaccaro, MS, CHO, a Food Program Specialist for the PA Department of Agriculture and an Executive Board Member for the Central Atlantic States Association of
Food and Drug Officials (CASA), There are several rules for effective and hygienic dry goods storage that can be applied in every kitchen. To expand on these simple principles, consider the following:

Food rotation

In most rules, first in, first out (FIFO) is not a regulatory requirement, but it is a very practical food quality practice. When your foods arrive, date them. Keep older food at the front of the shelves so it can be used first.

How far above the floor should food be stored

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Everyone in the house should be trained not to take items from the back of the shelves. When new items arrive, place them in the back of the shelving units. Although use-by and sell-by dates are typically used for quality control, they can be used as a guide for FIFO. As we cann’t guarantee the rule is followed 100%, the practice of FIFO frequently goes out the door, so keep an eye on shelving units on a regular basis.

The temperature

Storerooms should be kept cool, dry, and well ventilated. The temperature should be between 50 and 70°F. The colder it is, the better. Temperature has more of an impact on how long well-dried foods last than anything else. Every 18°F (10°C) increase in temperature reduces the storage life of most foods by half.

There is probably a limit to how far this statement can be taken, but a reasonable expectation of shelf life from room temperature down to freezing can be extrapolated.

How far above the floor should food be stored

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Cool storage reduces respiratory activity and enzyme degradation; it reduces internal water loss and inhibits the growth of decay-producing organisms; and it slows the production of ethylene, a naturally occurring ripening agent, in some foods such as fruits and root crops.

Besides of that, an adequate ventilation is a part of maintaining optimal temperature (some air exchange rate is absolutely essential). Furthermore, there should be no uninsulated steam or water pipes, water heaters, transformers, refrigeration condensing units, steam generators, or other heat producing equipment in the storeroom.

Direct sunlight

How far above the floor should food be stored

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We all know that food should not be stored in direct sunlight. Sunlight promotes oxidation, which reduces the nutritional value and quality of food. Vitamins that are fat soluble, such as A, D, E, and K, are especially vulnerable to light degradation. It’s way better to block sunlight from windows and skylights and rely on artificial lighting while the storeroom is in use.

Risk Reduction Storage

Dry foods should be stored at least six inches off the floor and at least 18 inches away from the outer walls to reduce the possibility of condensation caused by temperature differences between the container and the surface it rests on, as well as to facilitate cleaning and pest control activities. Consider placing clean pallets on racks or blocks at least four inches (six inches is preferable) off the floor in the absence of rapid turnover of bulk palletized storage.

How far above the floor should food be stored (1)

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This seemingly insignificant procedure goes a long way toward preventing pestilence, particularly rodents, from breeding. It is also recommended that a 2-ft. Besides, you should consider the ceiling clearance to avoid the heat from the ceiling.

Last but not least, avoid storing economic toxins, cleaning equipment, and other non-food products in the same storage area as food without a physical partition between them two. Arrange similar condiments and other foods, such as salt and sugar, in spatially different positions in your storeroom to prevent cross-contamination.

Pest control

Doors and windows should be rat and pest proofed and kept locked wherever possible to avoid the entrance of mosquitoes, rats, and birds into the storeroom. All openings to the outside should be plugged, and structural cracks and crevices should be fixed as soon as possible.

Bait boxes should be checked on a daily basis, and any broken bait boxes or dropped bait should be properly cleaned up and discarded. Just use professional licensed control operators if fumigation is completely necessary.

In these lines, the exterior of the building where the storeroom is housed should be kept clean of fire threats, insect infestations, and protection issues.

Dry Storage size

How far above floor should food be stored

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The Food Establishment Plan Review Guide from the FDA and the Conference for Food Protection provides us with supplying graphs and tables to complete the required space and storage measurements.
A food facility’s storage capacity is measured by the menu, the amount of meals prepared, the quantity of food bought, and the frequency of delivery.

According to the Plan Review Guide, food facilities should use the following method to approximate necessary storage space:

Required Storage Area (sq ft) = (Volume per meal× Number of meals between deliveries) ÷ (Average Height × Fraction of usable storeroom floor area)


  • Volume per meal =.025 to .050 cu. ft. per meal served
  • Storeroom useful height = 4 to 7 feet
  • Storage time from deliveries = 3 to 14 days
  • Storeroom floor space fraction =.3 to.6

As an example: How much storage space would you need if 50 meals are served every day and there is a 10-day storage period between deliveries?

50 meals x 10 days = 500 meals must be stored

(.05 cubic feet x 500 meals) / (5 feet x .3) = 16 square feet required.

How far above the floor should food be stored – FAQ

Is there anything else you should notice when store dry goods in your storage? Check the common questions below:

How to clean a dry storage area

Maintain a clean and dry environment in all storage rooms. Regularly clean the floors, walls, and shelving in coolers, freezers, and dry storage areas. Clean up spills and leaks as soon as possible to prevent pollution of other foods. Dollies, carts, transporters, and trays can be cleaned on a regular basis.

Why it is important to keep dried foods in an airtight container

How far above the floor should food be stored

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Tight lids keep the dried vegetables from spilling, especially if they’ve been powdered. In general, glass airtight containers are odor resistant. In general, airtight containers keep air and moisture away from your dried vegetables and allow your dried food to last longer.

How to arrange shelving and foods in the storage area

The FDA guide suggests that shelving can be constructed of suitably finished hard wood, durable plastic, or preferably of corrosion-resistant metal. It recommends:

• The highest shelf for practical use should be 7 feet.
• The lowest shelf should be 6 inches from the floor.
• Clearance between the shelves should be at least 15 inches.

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With above information, we believe it’s way easier for you to answer the question how far above the floor should food be stored and gain more knowledge on dry goods storage. Give us a thumb up if this helps and come back BestLifeTips for more useful information.