The Flow of Food
Purchasing - Receiving- Storage


1. Purchasing

Before food arrives at an establishment, it has gone through a chain of suppliers that can include growers, ranchers, shippers, packers, manufacturers, distributors and local markets. As mentioned before, there are five risk factors for the occurrence of foodborne illnesses: 1. Not purchasing food from reputable, approved suppliers 2. Not cooking food correctly 3. Not holding food correctly 4. Using contaminated equipment 5. Not practicing good personal hygiene. Because we can not make unsafe food safe, it is crucial to purchase food from a supplier that has been inspected and is in compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations. Here we summarize how to prevent possible foodborne illnesses during receiving and storage of food items.

2. Receiving - Inspecting - Accepting - Rejecting

- A well-trained staff equipped with thermometers and scales and with enough time must receive the food.
- After inspection, staff must reject the foods that are considered unsafe.
- If food is recalled, identify it; remove it from inventory; label it and follow vendor's notification what to do with it.
- Receive cold TCS food such as fish, poultry and meat at 41 F or below.
- Receive shellfish like oyster, mussels, clams and scallops and shucked shellfish at an air temperature of 45 F or lower.
- Make sure the shellfish is cooled to 41 F or lower in four hours.
- Receive milk at 45 F and lower. Make sure milk is cooled to 41 F or lower in four hours.
- Receive shell eggs at temperature 45 F or lower.
- Receive hot TCS food at 135 F or higher.
- Receive frozen food that are frozen solid.
- Reject frozen food if fluids or water stains appear on packaging or in case bottoms.
- Reject frozen food that has ice crystals or liquid on packing or food (may be sign of time-temperature abuse).
- Reject items that have damaged packages like tears, holes, and punctures or items with broken cartons or seals.
- If cases or packages appear to have been tampered with, it must be rejected.
- Reject items with leaks, dampness, or water stains.
- Reject items with signs of pest or pest damage.
- Reject items that are missing use-by-date or expiration date from the manufacturer, or are passed those dates.
- Reject shellfish without shell stock identification tags and keep the tags on file for 90 days.
- Reject fish that will be eaten raw or partially cooked without documentation indicating that they were correctly frozen.
- Keep this document on file for 90 days from the sale of the fish.
- Reject food that appears moldy, has abnormal color, and moist when it should be dry.
- Reject meat, fish, poultry that is slimy, sticky, dry or has soft flesh that leaves an imprint when is touched.
- Reject food with an unpleasant or an abnormal odor.
- Reject any item that does not meet your company's standards for quality.

3. Storing - Labeling - Date Marking

- Label all items that are not in their containers so that they are clearly identified, such as using their common names.
- Label thoroughly food that is packaged on-site for retail sale.
- Mark ready-to-eat TCS food if held more than 24 hours to indicate when food must be sold, eaten, or thrown away.
- Ready-to-eat TCS food can be stored seven days at 41° F or lower and must be thrown away on seventh day.
- The first day is the day food was prepared or a commercial container was opened.
- Store cold TCS food at an internal temperature of 41° F or lower, or hot TCS food at 135° F or higher.
- Store frozen food at a temperature that keeps it frozen.
- Make sure cold and hot storage units have at least one thermometer.
- Locate thermometers in the hottest part of refrigerator and coldest part of hot-holding units.
- Do not overload coolers or freezers, and try to keep it closed when not used.
- Do not line shelves with anything that restricts the circulation of air in the unit.
- Regularly monitor food temperature and document it.
- Rotate food so that those with the earliest use-by date or expiration date are used before food with later dates.
- Use First-In-First-Out (FIFO) method to rotate dry, refrigerated and frozen food.
- To prevent cross-contamination, store all items in designated storage areas.
- Store items away from walls and at least 6 inches off the floor.
- Store single-use items such as use cups in their original containers.
- Store food in durable, leak-proof containers that can be sealed and covered.
- Never use food containers to store chemicals and never use chemical containers to store food.
- Always keep all storage areas clean and dry and store food away from other contaminants.
- Always wrap or cover food and store ready-to-eat food separately from raw meat, poultry and seafood.
- If raw meat, poultry and seafood are processed and packaged commercially, they can be stored with or above ready-to- eat food in a freezer.
- If frozen food is being thawed in a refrigerator, it must be stored below ready-to-eat food.
- If you can not store food items separately, store them in the following top-to-bottom order: ready-to-eat food----seafood--whole cuts of beef and pork----ground beef and ground fish--whole and ground poultry.