When running a food management business, it is important that you only serve food to customers that has been handled safely. Food safety management starts each time you receive a delivery. It is imperative that your staff are trained to only keep delivered food that has been handled properly and reject the rest. Let’s have a look at some guidelines you should follow when deciding which food to keep or reject.
How to Check Food Service Deliveries
The first thing you want to do when inspecting food that has been delivered to your business is to check their temperature. You should do this as soon as it arrives. If any of it is not hot or cold enough, immediately send it back.
Time and temperature controlled foods for safety (TCS foods) have recommended temperature ranges that they should be kept in at all times, including during their delivery. Here is a guide:
Cold TCS foods should not be warmer than 41°F (5°C) when they are delivered.
Milk can be up to 45°F (7.2°C) when it arrives, but it should be cooled to 41°F (5°C) within four hours of delivery.
Shell eggs should not be warmer than 45°F (7.2°C) when you receive them. A shell egg is an egg in its natural state, i.e., still in its shell.
Hot TCS foods should be at least 135°F (57.2°C) when they are delivered, otherwise you should reject them.
Frozen foods should be frozen solid when you receive them. There should not be any evident liquid stains in their containers or packaging. If you detect liquid stains, it means that the food melted and was then frozen again.
Inspect Your Food Packaging
When food has been delivered to you from a supplier, you should make sure that you always thoroughly inspect the packaging it arrived in. If you spot any holes or tears, do not accept it; i.e., send it back.
If the food is in cans, they should not be bulging. Also, look out for broken seals or missing labels.
The packaging should be spotless. If it is dirty, even slightly, send it back. Good hydiene is crucial in the food business. Dirty packaging is a reflection of the caterer’s work procedures.
Expect your food supplier to be at least as strict as you are regarding the quality and safety of the food your receive from them. One customer getting ill, especially if the media gets to hear about it, could be the kiss of death for your business.
Food Quality and Hygiene Matter
The quality of the food you accept and serve should always be good. Good food hygiene is crucial for the future prospects of your business. This means that you need to make sure that all your employees have received training.
Food poisoning can lead to intestinal infection (gastroenteritis) and dehydration. In some cases, if there are complications, it can even be life-threatening. Older people, pregnant women, children, and babies are especially susceptible to gastroenteritis complications.
Foodborne illnesses including E. coli and norovirus spread rapidly. All it takes is a minor slip in hygiene standards for there to be an outbreak.
Before and after you handle food, remember to wash your hands with warm water and soap. Do not dry them with the same towel you use for wiping the worktops. Before you handle food, remove all jewelry from your hands.
When storing seafood and raw meat, make sure they are in airtight containers, in the bottom of the refrigerator, separate from other foods. If you want to make sure there are no bacteria in the food, cook it at a temperature of at least 158°F (70°C).
Interesting related article: “A handy guide to street food safety.“