The purchase, receipt and storage of food

Choosing a supplier

It is essential to purchase food from approved suppliers who have demonstrated a commitment to high standards of food hygiene

Controls to minimize hazards from supplies/suppliers

Select the least hazardous materials/ingredients e.g. pasteurized egg and ready-prepared vegetables. Specify the standard and quality of product required including the delivery temperature. Branded products usually preferable.

Delivery and unloading of food

The main hazards associated with deliveries are contaminated food and the multiplication of bacteria as a result of prolonged delays after unloading and before refrigeration. Unsatisfactory delivery vehicles or drivers or drivers may indicate unsatisfactory deliveries. High-risk food should be delivered below 5?, frozen food at-18?.


All food should be inspected before placing in storage. Deliveries should be checked for freshness, temperature, colour, odour, contamination, infestations and satisfactory packaging and labeling. Contaminated food from unapproved sources, perishable food above 8?, frozen food above -15?, food with evidence of pest activity and food which is not covered or in damaged packaging or which is out of date is suspect and may need to be rejected. The supervisor and the supplier should usually be notified.
As far as practicable, external packaging should not be brought into food preparation areas. A separate deboxing area is recommended. Unloading should be completed as quickly as possible. Staff should be trained to deal with deliveries effectively and to prevent contamination occurring. Records of deliveries should be retained to enable traceability in the event or food poisoning or a food complaint.

Safe food storage

Correct storage is fundamental to the hygienic operation of any food business. Failure to ensure satisfactory in the event of food poisoning or a food complaint.

Safe food storage

Correct storage is fundamental to the hygienic operation of any food business.
Failure to enable satisfactory storage conditions will result in hazards (contamination and multiplication of bacteria), mould, spoilt food, discoloration, staleness and pest infestation.

Dry food stores

Rooms used for storage of cereals, dried and canned foods should be suitable for this purpose, vermin-proof and kept clean and tidy. Hazards encountered include soiled delivery trays, pest infestations, damaged and leaking cartons, out-of-date stock, soil from root vegetables and chemical contamination.


Keep stores dry, cool, well lit and well ventilated. Effective pest control measures, storage of food at least 15cm above the floor and stock rotation systems are essential. Care with deboxing/opening sacks will avoid foreign body contamination. Food should be stored away from the walls and pipes affected by condensation and on suitable shelves such as tubular stainless steel racks, or in mobile rodent-proof bins. Spillages should be cleared away promptly. If possible, fruit and vegetables should be stored separately from other food. Fruit should be examined regularly as mould spreads rapidly. Vegetables heavily contaminated with soil should be stored below, for example, fruit or lettuce on the vegetable rack. Potatoes should be stored in the dark to prevent sprouting or turning green. A separate store should be used for storing cleaning chemicals. Blown, badly dented, seam-damaged, holed or rusty cans should be rejected. Staff should be trained to store food correctly, to remove spillages, how to rotate stock and to recognize signs of pests and unfit food.

Chilled storage

High-risk and perishable foods should be stored under refrigeration to prevent most pathogenic bacteria bacteria from multiplying and to slow down the rate of spoilage.
Refrigerators and freezers should be sited in well-ventilated areas away from heat sources, such as oven and the rays of the sun.

Operating temperatures and monitoring

Refrigerators usually operate between 1? to 4?. The display temperature should be checked every time the fridge is used. It should be recorded at least twice a day. The actual food temperature should be recorded at least weekly and whenever the display temperature is unsatisfactory. temporary rises in display temperatures will occur if doors are left open or a large quantity of food at room temperature are loaded into the fridge, for example, bottles of soft drinks or lemonade. Temperatures should return to normal very quickly and food temperatures must not rise above 8?.

Contamination and covering of food

Raw food must always be kept apart from high-risk food to prevent contamination of high-risk food with food poisoning bacteria. Separate refrigerators are preferred, although, if in the same unit, the raw food must always be placed at the bottom to avoid contamination. Food should be covered to prevent drying out, cross-contamination and absorption of odour. Care should be take to protect foods such as lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers from dripping blood.

Packing and stock rotation

refrigerators must not be overloaded, and food should never be left between products for air circulation. Only perishable foods should be stored in the refrigerator. This includes vacuum packs and pasteurized cans of meat. Stock rotation is essential to avoid spoilage. New stock should be placed behind existing stock to facilitate stock rotation.

Open cans of food

Opened and part-used cans of food, especially acid food such as fruit, fruit juice or tomatoes, must not be left in the can as this may result in chemical contamination. The unused contents should be emptied into a suitable container, such as a plastic bowl, covered and placed in the refrigerator.

Defrosting and cleaning

Defrosting and cleaning should be carried out in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Most units defrost automatically and should be cleaned and disinfected at least weekly. Bicarbonate of soda (one tablespoon to 4.5 litres of water) may be used, but perfumed cleaning agents must not. Food should be placed in another refrigerator whilst the cleaning is being carried out.

Staff training

All food handlers must receive instruction on the correct use of the refrigerator especially in relation to contamination and temperature control. They should be told not to keep the door open for longer than necessary.

Corrective action

If the fridge temperature remains too high this may be a result of overloading, e.g. completely blocking a shelf or because the thermostat is too high. Inform your supervisor immediately. If the problem can’t be solved, an engineer should be brought in. Food should be placed in an alternative fridge, unless it has been above 8? for more than 4hours, when it should be destroyed.

Freezers and frozen food

Commercial freezers should operate at -18? or slightly below. At this temperature food will keep for a reasonable time with no bacterial growth. However, spores and dormant

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