Make sure your checklist covers the following
If you are receiving frozen goods, meats, or fish, the cost of signing for goods that are delivered at the incorrect temperature can be expensive and even dangerous. Use a digital, calibrated thermometer to check temperatures rather than relying on the claims of the supplier or reading on the delivery truck.
Frozen food should be below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, and chilled food below 41 degrees. In theory, food that has spent a short while in the Danger Zone could still be safe, but you have no way of knowing how long food has defrosted or warmed, and in any case, the mere fact that the food is not at the recommended temperature should raise alarm bells. If foods are properly refrigerated upon arrival, make sure they are carried immediately to cold storage. Do not leave them outside for any longer than necessary.
Check all pallets or boxes for signs of rips, tears or corrosion, and reject any that appear to be damaged. All boxes or containers should be on wire racks or pallets up off the floor since contact with a wet or moist floor can degrade packaging and let bacteria in. Look also for telltale signs of infect or rodent infestation – bite marks or droppings, for example.
It is the responsibility of the receiver to check all packaging for best before and use-by dates. Discretion may be used for best before dates, but it is illegal to sell any food that is past its use-by date. Labels should also be checked for codes and ingredient information, as well as government approval (FDA) stamps for regulated foods. If you are receiving tagged seafood or shellfish, keep the tags for at least 90 days. Checking labels may seem like a time-consuming and pedantic process, particularly for a busy restaurant, but modern handheld digital scanners can quickly check and input barcode and QR code data on the label.
No reputable supplier would raise an objection to a quick check of the delivery vehicle. In fact, for many, the condition of the vehicle is a point of pride. Ideally, the supplier should be using a delivery vehicle designed specifically for the purpose rather than a multi-purpose truck. Check the internal temperature with your own digital thermometer, especially when the engine is off, and examine the floor area closely for signs of insect or rodent infestation.
Any supplier that mixes food with non-food items, raw with ready to eat food, or doesn’t have containers that keep out vermin should raise red flags. To look at it from the supplier’s perspective, any restaurant that sends out poorly equipped, short-cut-taking staff to receive goods, or does not have a designated area for receiving goods, will hardly generate goodwill.
On both restaurant and supplier side, finding the perfect time for deliveries is an almost impossible feat, but both are united by a common desire to get the process over and done with as quickly and safely as possible. The restaurant can play its part by adequately training staff for deliveries, and having clear passage set out for transporting goods immediately to dry goods, fruit & veg, walk-in cooler or freezer storage.
Food safety is an integral part of the HACCP process. To make sure your food delivery is on point, find out how the HACCP App gives you smooth, transparent and reliable logging of all incoming deliveries.