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Food Service Delivery: Guidelines on When to Reject Items

Food safety management begins when receiving food service deliveries. It is important to provide food service training and have a process in place to guarantee you are bringing safe, quality food into your establishment. To keep your customers safe, follow these guidelines regarding when to reject items during a delivery.

How to Inspect Your Food Service Delivery

Check Temperatures

Temperatures should be checked on products upon delivery. If anything is not in the recommended range it should be rejected.

  • Cold Food - Any cold TCS food should be received at 41°F or lower
  • Milk - Can be received at 45°F or lower (Make sure to cool the milk to 41°F or below within four hours)
  • Shell Eggs - Receive at 45°F or below
  • Hot Foods - Any hot TCS food should be received at 135°F or higher
  • Frozen Foods- Should be frozen solid when received

Be sure to reject frozen food if fluid stains are on the packaging or the bottom of the case. Also reject frozen food if there is any evidence of thawing and refreezing, such as ice or frozen fluid on the product or the packaging.

Examine Food Packaging

The packaging of food should always be inspected during food service deliveries. Any package that has holes should be rejected. For canned products, reject anything with bulging ends. Anything with a broken seal, missing label or dirty packaging should not be accepted. Do not accept any products that look like they may have been tampered with.

Assess Food Quality

The quality of the food you are purchasing is very important. Make sure to reject food if it’s moldy or is the wrong consistency (e.g. moist foods should never be delivered dry). Never accept a product that shows signs of pest damage. Any food that has an abnormal smell or color should be rejected.

The above are general recommendations about when products should be rejected upon delivery. Be sure to review any quality standards your company has in place regarding receiving deliveries to ensure they are being met.

The Nutrition Resource Center, a team of registered dietitians and certified food-safety professionals at Gordon Food Service, offers many food safety tools and resources for customers. If you are currently a customer, learn more about our food safety service offerings.