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When to Accept or Reject Fresh Meat, Poultry and Seafood

When to Accept or Reject Fresh Meat, Poultry and Seafood
When to Accept or Reject Fresh Meat, Poultry and Seafood

Cold Food Management

Food service operators are becoming proactive in their approach to cold food management. Most restaurants have scheduled temperature checks, both ambient and core, for all foods in refrigerated environments. Managers and chains are also requiring a log of regular temperature checks from their distribution network.

Though the trend is spreading, not all distributors are taking accurate temperature readings. If this is the case, simply rely on your other senses and reference the following table to know what to accept and what to reject:

  • Utilize a blast chiller to lower food temperatures faster and more efficiently, minimizing the time that foods spend in the danger zone.
  • Place food in a container and set in an ice-bath, keeping the container submerged evenly to ensure consistent cooling throughout.
  • Immediately place food in a commercial refrigeration, whose primary function is to store food at or below 40°F.
  • Use a probe type meat thermometer to accurately track temperatures as a food cools.

Fresh Beef
Fresh Lamb
Fresh Pork
40°F or lower
40°F or lower
40°F or lower

Color: bright, cherry
Color: bright red
Color: white fat, pink

Brown, green or purple splotches
Black, white or greenish spots
Cartons are broken
Meat wrappers are dirty or torn
Fresh Poultry

40°F or lower

Texture: firm and springs back when touched

Purple or green discoloration around neck
Darkened wing tips
Abnormal odor
Stickiness under wings and joints
Soft, flabby flesh
Fresh Fish

40°F or lower

Eyes: bright clear and full
Texture: flesh and belly are firm and spring back when touched
Packed in self-draining ice
Fishy or ammonia odor
Eyes sunken, cloudy or red-bordered
Dry gills
Flesh is soft and gives
Finger imprint stays if pressed into flesh
Fresh Shellfish

45°F or lower for live
0°F or lower for frozen

Shells are partly open and do not close when tapped
Soft shell
Strong odor

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