4. Purchasing, Receiving, and Storage

Purchasing and Receiving

Purchase food from approved, reputable suppliers
Ones that have been inspected and meet all applicable local, state, and federal laws.
Receiving principles
Make specific staff responsible for receiving and train them to follow food safety guidelines. Store items promptly after receiving.
Key drop deliveries
Supplier is given after-hour access to the operation to make deliveries. Check to see of product is stored in the proper location. i.e. Frozens foods are placed in the freezer.

Deliveries must meet the following criteria

  • Be inspected upon arrival at the operation.
  • Be from an approved source
  • Have been placed in the proper storage location to maintain the required temperature
  • Have been protected from contamination in storage
  • Is NOT contaminated
  • Is honestly presented

Rejecting deliveries

  • Separate rejected items from accepted items
  • Tell the delivery person what is wrong with the item
  • Get a signed adjustment or credit slip before giving the rejected item to the delivery person
  • Log the incident on the invoice or receiving document

Handling Recalls

  • Identify the recalled food items
  • Remove the item from inventory, and place it in a secure and appropriate location
  • Store the item separately from food, utensils, equipment, linens, and single-use items
  • Label the item in a way that will prevent it from being placed back in inventory
  • Inform staff not to use the product
  • Refer to the vendor’s notification or recall notice to determine what to do with the item

Checking the temperature of received foods

Meat, Poultry and Fish
Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat
ROP Food
Insert the probe between 2 packages or fold the package around the probe
Other Packaged Food
Open the package and insert the probe directly into the food

Temperature criteria for deliveries

Cold TCS Food
Receive at 41°F (5°C) or lower, unless otherwise specified
Live Shellfish1
Receive oysters, mussels, clams, and scallops at an air temperature of 45°F (7°C) and an internal temperature no greater than 50°F (10°C)
Shucked Shellfish1
Receive at 45°F (7°C) or lower
Shell Eggs1
Receive at an air temperature of 45°F (7°C) or lower
Receive at 45°F (7°C) or lower
Hot TCS Food
Receive at 135°F (57°C) or higher
Frozen Food
Receive frozen solid

1Foods received at 45°F (7°C) must be cooled to 41°F (5°C) or lower within 4 hours

Rejecting Deliveries:

  • Evidence of thawing and refreezing
  • Fluids or water stains in case bottoms or on packaging
  • Ice crystals or frozen liquids on the food or packaging
  • Tears, holes, or punctures in packaging
  • Cans with swollen ends, rust, or dents
  • Bloating or leaking (ROP food)
  • Broken cartons or seals
  • Dirty and discolored packaging
  • Leaks, dampness, or water stains
  • Signs of pests or pest damage
  • Expired use-by/expiration dates
  • Evidence of tempering

Documents Required When Receiving Food:

All documents must be saved for 90 days from the date the last item was used from its delivery container

Must be received with shellstock indentification tags. Tags indicate where and when the shellfish were harvested.
Raw or Partially Cooked Fish
Must show the fish was correctly frozen to kill parasites before being received
Farm Raised Fish
Must show the fish was raised to FDA standards>

All documents must be saved for 90 days from the date the last item was used from its delivery container

Checking Food Quality at Delivery

Reject food that is moldy or has an abnormal color
Reject meat, fish, or poultry if it is slimy, sticky, or dry. Reject the item if it has soft flesh that leaves an imprint when touched.
Reject food with an abnormal or unpleasant odor. Seafood with a slight seaweed smell may be accepted


Labeling food for use on-site:

  • All items not in their original containers must be labeled
  • Food labels should include the common name of the food or a statement that clearly and accurately identifies it.
  • It is not necessary to label food if it clearly will not be mistaken for another item

Date Marking

Proper Date Marking for Food Safety

  • Ready-to-eat TCS food must be marked if held for longer than 24 hours
  • Date mark must indicate when the food must be sold, eaten, or thrown out
  • Ready-to-eat TCS food can be stored for only 7 days if it held at 41°F (5°C) or lower
  • The count begins on the day the food was prepared or a commercial container was opened
  • Some operations write the day or date the food was prepared on the label. Others may write the use-by date on the label
  • Best Practice- write both dates on the label


  • Store TCS food at an internal temperature of 41°F (5°C) or lower or 135°F (57°C) or higher
  • Store frozen food at temperatures that keep it frozen
  • Make sure storage units have at least one air temperature measuring device. It must be accurate to +/- 3°F or +/- 1.5°C
  • Place the device in the warmest part of refrigerated units, and the coldest part of hot-holding units
  • Do NOT overload coolers or freezers
  • Prevents airflow
  • Makes unit work harder
  • Frequent opening of the cooler lets warm air inside, which can affect food safety
  • Use open shelving
  • Lining shelving restricts circulation
  • Monitor food temperatures regularly
  • Randomly sample food temperatures

FIFO: Rotate products on a First In – First Out basis

  1. Identify the item’s use-by or expiration date
  2. Store items with the earliest use-by or expiration dates in front of items with later dates
  3. Once shelved, use those items stored in front first
  4. Throw out food that has passed its manufacturer’s use-by or expiration date

Preventing Cross-Contamination While Storing Food

  • Store all items in designated storage areas
  • Store items away from walls and at least six inches (15 centimeters) off the floor
  • Store single-use items in original packaging
  • Store food in containers intended for food
  • Use containers that are durable, leak proof, and able to be sealed or covered
  • NEVER store food in containers that previously held chemicals, raw meat, poultry or fish
  • Keep all storage areas clean and dry
  • Clean up spills and leaks immediately
  • Clean dollies, carts, transporters, and trays often
  • Store food in containers that have been cleaned and sanitized
  • Store dirty linens in clean, nonabsorbent containers or washable laundry bags

TCS foods stored in the same refrigerator must be stored in the following top to bottom order

Food Storage Sequence diagram

Food should be stored in a clean, dry location away from dust and other contaminants

To prevent contamination, never store food in these areas:

  • Locker rooms or dressing rooms
  • Restrooms or garbage rooms
  • Mechanical rooms
  • Under unshielded sewer lines or leaking water lines
  • Under stairwells

Food may be stored under stairwells if the stairwell is properly finished off i.e. drywalled or paneled

Keeping food safe throughout the flow of food

  • Prevent cross-contamination
  • Prevent time-temperature abuse

Preventing Cross-Contamination

  • Separate equipmentUse separate equipment for each type of food. i.e. Use red cutting boards for red meats, yellow cutting boards for poultry, etc.
  • Clean and sanitizeClean and sanitize all work surfaces, equipment, and utensils after each task
  • Prep food at different timesPrepare raw meat, fish, and poultry at different times than ready-to-eat food
  • Buy prepared foodBuy items that require little or no prepping or handling

Preventing Time-Temperature Abuse

Time-temperature control
Food held in the range of 41F and 135°F (5 and 57°C) has been time-temperature abused
Avoid time-temperature abuse
Monitor time and temperature.
Make sure the correct kinds of thermometers are available.
Regularly record temperatures and the times they are taken
Minimize the time that food spends in the temperature danger zone.
Take corrective actions if time-temperature standards are not met
Thermometers used to take the temperature of food must be accurate to +/- 2°F or +/- 1°C

Monitoring Time and Temperature – Using Thermometers

Bimetallic Stemmed Thermometer
Most basic thermometer with a stainless steel probe. The sensing area runs from the tip of the probe up to a dimple and the length of the sensing area can vary by the size of the thermometer used.
Thermocouples and Thermistors
Measures temperatures through a metal probe and displays the temperature digitally. The sensing area is the very tip of the probe.They also come with interchangeable probes:
    Immersion ProbeUsed to measure the temperature of liquidsSurface ProbeMeasures the surface temperature of equipment (griddle)Penetration ProbeMeasures the internal temperature of a solid food such as a steakAir ProbeMeasures the temperature of air such as recording the temperature of an oven or freezer
Infrared Thermometers
Measures surface temperatures using a laser
Time-Temperature Indicators (TTI)
Measures both time and temperature and are usually attached to packages by a supplier. If time-temperature abuse occurs it will change color. If receiving a shipment and the time-temperature indicator has changed color – refuse the shipment.
Maximum Registering Tape
Records the highest temperature reached during use. Generally used to validate the sanitizing temperature of dishwashing machines.

Thermometer Guidelines

  • Wash, rinse, sanitize, and air-dry thermometers before and after use>
  • Calibrate them before each shift. (Only bimetallic thermometers can be calibrated)
  • Only use glass thermometers if they are enclosed in a shatterproof case.
  • Insert the stem or probe into the thickest part of the product
  • Take more than one reading in different spots
  • Allow the reading to steady before recording the temperature