When to Accept or Reject Fresh Meat, Poultry and Seafood
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.
40°F or lower
40°F or lower
Color: bright red
Color: white fat, pink
Black, white or greenish spots
Cartons are broken
Meat wrappers are dirty or torn
Darkened wing tips
Stickiness under wings and joints
Soft, flabby flesh
Texture: flesh and belly are firm and spring back when touched
Packed in self-draining ice
Eyes sunken, cloudy or red-bordered
Flesh is soft and gives
Finger imprint stays if pressed into flesh
0°F or lower for frozen
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