Food Safety Focus Team • August 29
This month in honor of the 24th anniversary of National Food Safety Month, we’re sharing resources and information that will help your organization improve your food safety compliance.  Our theme for 2018 is “The Future of Food Safety,” so we’re highlighting important changes to best practices and FDA Food Code regulations.
Because supply chains are becoming more complex, food and ingredients can easily come from anywhere in the world. This is a trend that will continue to evolve in the future, so it’s especially important that you know how to ensure your suppliers are approved, and you know how to evaluate food you receive from them.
Approved Suppliers
Your establishment should have a list of approved suppliers. These are suppliers you have verified are properly licensed, are operating in safe facilities, are subject to regular audits, and have a comprehensive food safety management program in place.
Receiving Skills
The receiving process is just as important in food safety as food preparation and serving.
When your approved suppliers arrive with products, the employee receiving the products must be well versed in the establishment’s receiving procedures. These include:
  • Knowing product specifications
  • Ensuring equipment is calibrated and working properly
  • Understanding time and temperature control
  • Verifying that products are at appropriate temperatures upon delivery
  • Putting away temperature-sensitive foods immediately upon receiving

It’s critical that you never assume that all of the food you receive is safe to eat – even if the vendor is on your approved list. Deliveries should be scheduled so there is enough time to inspect the food, containers, and delivery vehicle. In fact, the receiver should first check and record the temperature of the delivery truck. If the truck isn’t within the acceptable range, you should not accept any food that must be refrigerated or frozen.
For dry goods, ensure each container is intact and refuse food in damaged boxes, bags, or cartons. Glass jars and bottles should not be broken, and lids (and vacuum seals) should be intact. Goods shipped in cans often come in cardboard cartons. Open the cartons and inspect each can. Refuse cans that have dents in the lid, sides, or bottom.
Proper Documentation
The person responsible for receiving products should also follow proper documentation procedures, including:
  • Knowing what was ordered
  • Follow a receiving checklist
  • Sharing concerns with a manager

We’d like to thank Merieux NutriSciences for sponsoring Week #2 of National Food Safety Month. Remember to evaluate your food suppliers carefully, create an approved supplier list, and ensure employees who are receiving food are well trained and have adequate time for inspection.
To reinforce these points, visit the NFSM 2018 page to download our poster and activity sheet, and then share a short video with your employees.