beverage aisle

Getting A Handle On Food Safety

  • product warning
    August 23, 2016

    Getting A Handle On Food Safety

    Last month we addressed some basic food safety issues – especially those that might come into play with coffee and fountain beverages. We started our discussions here because almost every c-store retailer sells these two categories. Their ability to handle them properly is very indicative of their capabilities of successfully addressing the issue surrounding other foodservice items.

    As with all foodservice items it is vital that the products be handled properly. The correct procedure begins with the receipt of the items and their storage. The following outlines some of the basic steps that must be taken to ensure the safety of any foodservice item.

    Product Receipt:

    • Inspect foods immediately – it is not necessary to open every box that contains frozen/ refrigerated items, but look for signs of damage:
    • Canned goods – if the top or bottom of the can is swelled, this indicates botulism. This is caused by a gas forming bacteria – which is why the can swells. Look for leakage, flawed seals, rust and/or dents. Any canned goods that appear abnormal in odor, color, or texture; that are foamy, or have a milky colored liquid should be rejected.
    • Frozen foods – large ice crystal indicate a product that has been thawed and refrozen. The correct temperature should be below 0 degrees F.
    • Dry foods – dry food must be kept dry. Look for punctures, tears, or slashes. They may indicate insect or rodent entry. Do not accept anything that is damp and/or moldy.

    Product Storage:

    • Immediately after the product has been received, stock it in the appropriate storage area making sure to rotate from bottom to top and back to front. Place all new items behind or underneath current inventory.
    • Date all items when they arrive to make it easier when rotating. b2b Solutions suggest that the person who received the product also initial the case.
    • Keep foods in the original packages until opening.
    • Store foods 6 inches off the floor and 6 inches away from the wall.
    • Do not line shelves with paper (especially freezers), this will restrict airflow.
    • Maintain Proper Temperatures:
      • Frozen foods: 0 degrees F or below
      • Refrigerated foods: 32 to 40 degrees F
      • Dry foods: 60 to 70 degrees F

    Product Heating/Cooking:

    The proper cooking/heating procedures for the product will vary significantly by item. Retailers MUST check with the providers of other programs to ensure that they follow the correct procedures.

    Probably one of the next most common foodservice offers found in c-stores is roller-grill products. In fact, CSP magazine in its August issue discussed how various retailers had built successful roller-grill offers. We will use a roller-grill program as an example of cooking/heating procedures.

    First and foremost, the proper temperatures must be maintained. The danger zone is between 40 degrees F to 140 degrees (this is true for all products that you are required to heat/cook before serving).

    • Hot dogs and other items need to reach and be maintained at 145 degrees F.
    • Temperatures of roller-grill items should be verified twice a day. Local regulations should be checked, but in some areas Health Department regulations state that if the thermometer is placed into the end of the product it is appropriate to sell after the thermometer is removed. If you test from the middle of the product, it becomes damaged and needs to be removed from grill.
    • Cheese and chili must be maintained at 140 degrees F or higher.
    • Cold condiments must be maintained at 40 degrees F or less.
    • b2b Solutions recommends that retailers record all temperatures on a Temp Log and require that the person testing the product initial the sheet.