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Ultimate Guide for Food Temperature Storage in Your Daily Life

Cold Chain Problem Solving & Diagnosis April 18, 2022


Food and Beverage

While it's a fairly simple decision for some foods, it can be difficult to determine what should be kept in the fridge and what should be kept in the freezer. Your refrigerator and freezer are more than just large cupboards for storing food; they perform very specific functions, such as keeping all of your groceries fresh and at a controlled temperature.

It is possible to preserve nutrients and ensure that foods do not go bad by learning to store foods in the proper areas of the fridge. It is also critical to properly store foods in order to reduce the risk of cross-contamination between leftovers. Keeping foods at an optimal temperature of less than 4˚C in the refrigerator and below -18˚C can help to inhibit bacterial growth and keep your food safer for longer periods of time.

In fact, different types of food require different variations of temperature to retain their quality and freshness. Let’s take a look.

Meat & Poultry

  • You want to keep these in the coldest part of your fridge, which is usually but not always at the bottom, ideally in their own drawer.

  • Set the temperature of the meat drawer or a specific place to store meat and poultry to -1.6˚C if your fridge allows you to do so.

  • Keep all fresh meat, fish, and poultry in their original packaging, as re-wrapping increases the risk of harmful bacteria being introduced into the food.


Fresh & Frozen Seafood, ShellFish

  • Fresh seafood should be packed in ice and stored at 1°C to 2°C until it is used to retain its freshness.

  • Frozen foods should be stored at a temperature of –18°C or lower. Food can become discoloured and lose vitamin content if the temperature rises above –18°C. 

  • It's important to remember that freezing food does not kill bacteria, and when it thaws, bacteria will start growing and multiplying again. It is also important to avoid refreezing previously frozen and thawed food, as food frozen for the second time is more likely to have a higher bacteria count.

Did You Know ►

Lowering the temperature in a fridge or freezer after it has risen will not save food spoilage


Eggs & Egg Products

  • Refrigerate purchased eggs immediately in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 4°C or lower.

  • To ensure the best quality, keep eggs in their original carton and use them within three weeks.

  • Despite modern views, never leave eggs out of the refrigerator for more than two hours.



  • Dairy products should be kept in the refrigerator at temperatures ranging from 2°C to 4°C.

  • Keep cottage cheese, yoghurt, eggs, sour cream, milk, and cream in their original containers.

  • While plastic milk botters seem to be a safer choice than cardboard cartons, consuming it before its shelf life is still safe to drink. 

  • Milk should be kept at the back of a shelf in the refrigerator's lower section.


Vegetables and Fresh Produce 

  • To ensure freshness and to prevent rapid deterioration, most produce is stored in the refrigerator at 2° to 4°C.

  • Refrigerate cut fruits and vegetables in perforated or unsealed plastic bags to keep them moist while still allowing air to circulate.

  • When using bags, it's a good idea to wrap the vegetables in a paper towel to help absorb moisture. If no bag is used, then place a few paper towels in the drawer to keep them fresh and free of moisture.

  • It is advisable to separate vegetables and fruits in separate sections in the refrigerators.

Did You Know ►

Bananas don’t have to be kept in fridges due to its growth in hot climates, making them unused to the cold. The enzymes that allow them to ripen are inhibited if they are kept at a cold temperature


UHT Product

  • Ultra-high temperature products (fruit juices, cream, soy milk, yogurt, wine, soups, honey, and stews) should be stored at room temperature throughout.

  • However, once opened, they should be stored below 5°C and can be used up to seven days before going bad.

  • It has a typical unrefrigerated shelf life of six to nine months if not opened and stored in dry, ambient conditions with low light. However, for guidance, check the 'best before' date on the pack.


Canned & Dry Food

  • To prevent spoilage and swelling of canned goods, the area should be dry and cool and stored within a temperatures between 10°C and 15°C.

  • Dried foods should be kept in cool, dry, and dark places. The recommended storage time for dried foods ranges from four months to one year

  • Because heat affects food quality, the storage temperature influences the length of storage; the higher the temperature, the shorter the storage time.


Keep in mind that these are only guidelines. As you can see, the amount of time foods can be safely stored varies greatly, and you should always use your discretion and avoid consuming anything that appears or smells stale.


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