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Money Down the Drain

Sitting on the shelf in the dry storage room was $26.50. Well, not actual dollar bills or coins, but two containers of Caesar dressing that were swollen and bloated, seemingly ready to explode, possibly containing the dangerous botulism toxin. These fresh salad dressings were labeled "Keep Refrigerated." However, no one checked their labels upon delivery and they were shelved along with the other shelf-stable products. Upon discovery by the health inspector, these spoiled items were discarded and essentially money down the drain.

Is your staff trained in good receiving principles to prevent situations like this from happening in your facility? As one young woman working in a New England appetizer manufacturing company exclaimed, "My job is to stay in the walk-in freezer and rotate the boxes of products after delivery or processing." As she admitted, it is not a fun job, but a very important one.

  • Check labels upon receiving for products which must be kept refrigerated or frozen, including condiments and processed foods, and refrigerate or freeze immediately.

  • Follow FIFO guidelines ("First in, first out") to ensure that the oldest products are used first.  On receiving, check expiration dates and shelve appropriately, so that those with the earliest expiration dates are shelved in the front, being the most accessible so they can be used first.  This applies to all products- from frozen goods, produce and refrigerated foods, to the dry storage area, beverage products, dry goods and chemicals.

  • Do not accept any products whose expiration dates have passed.

Training your staff on proper receiving procedures will not only ensure the highest quality and safety of foods for your customers, but will reduce waste, and ultimately help increase profits.