When Should You Refuse to Accept Food in A Shipment?

The safety of the food in a shipment is a necessary factor as it is related to the safety of the passengers and your reputation also.

It doesn’t matter how conscious you are about preventing food-related problems in your kitchen where they will get defective because they have a specific life out of which some lifetime they have spent before they were carried to you.

So the factor that determines how your food was transported, packaged, harvested, and processed decides the food safety risks which can be harmful to your reputation.

This is the reason why practicing discrimination while accepting food deliveries is so delicate for your business’s food safety plan. Someone who is perfectly trained should be assigned the responsibility of inspecting the food shipment.

Food shipment can be rejected due to improper storage temperature, bad food quality, and defaced packaging. The final product is determined by the safety and quality of raw material.

The way we meticulously inspect food at our home similarly we should inspect the food at shipment also. The ones to be held responsible for the safety of the food shipped are food suppliers.

Under a new act of Food Safety Modernization rules held on Human and Animal Food Sanitary Transportation, food should be kept safe from contamination while shipping by food processors and suppliers.

This article guides through the topic of when food in food shipment should not be accepted.

Check the Quality of The Food

The quality of the food is determined according to customer preference and scientific research results. The scientific factors that determine the quality of a food product are flavorings, additives, nutrients, color, composition, spoilage, contamination, general safety, and functional components.

Consumer choices are defined by their experiences. The thing that catches the human eyes first when seeing food is brightness, opacity, and color. Some tactile factors are elasticity and sleekness.

There are a few more attributes that add to the word “mouthfeel” and those are chewiness, tenderness, texture, softness e.t.c.

In recent years, most food professionals have defined food quality as “Health” and “Safety”. Nutrition and food safety management have become major concerns since the 1970s.

To improve health, chemical components are modified in food to enhance the effect of eating for good health. The main aim of these steps or initiatives is to avoid any of the non-desired elements, whether it be biological or chemical elements in human food.

Muscle meal quality is considered to be a composite picture of many aspects. Food service operations can be risked by different factors like customers, equipment, cleaning supplies, food, physical, chemical, biological factors e.t.c. 

The Way of Food Getting Spoiled

Microbes are the greatest threat to the food service business. Bacteria need to face, defeat, and thrive several variables. If some of the variables are maintained to be controlled then bacteria can be kept away.

The main factors that are responsible for foodborne illness are temperature, time, and prevention. The ideal temperature for the growth or multiplication of germs is between 41 F and 135 F.

Germs grow fastest in the range of 60 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. When the ideal conditions are found, these bacteria multiply at a very fast rate of 10 to 30 times per minute.

In just three hours a single bacterium can transform into thousands of other germs.

  • The main stages to prevent foodborne illness are the cooking and chilling of food (Frozen food).
  • High-quality food is terrible for your well-being and health.
  • Moldy food should never be eaten
  •  Food that is Pest-infested should never be accepted.
  • A food that has got its color or fragrance not ordinary should be removed.
  • If the circumstances demand, then return the above-mentioned items to the sender.
  • Review all the requirements that you want for receiving the deliveries.

There are possibilities that food carried to your doorsteps could be spoiled, be at the wrong temperatures e.t.c. all of which could lead to contamination of food.

This leads to the conclusion that once the food arrives its packaging and quality should be inspected.

The food can go bad if it is put under some unfavorable circumstances, like being kept at an unsuitable temperature for a long time, for example, a long food delivery trip.

The food should be stored in a freezer bag to be kept frozen or it should be put in a container. 

The Very First Thing to Do when Receiving a Delivery

After receiving the food the very first thing to be done is to check that whatever was expected is there and that the shipment is correct.

Check the food packaging. Due to this needless steps like safe temperature monitoring and testing of products or in other words steps of inspection are reduced. The food items should only be delivered and received in areas that are safe for customers and can not contaminate the food item.

Non Food items such as equipment and cleaning chemicals should not be received in this area. Also, make sure that the food shipped to your doorsteps is up to Mark and correct by asking for safety documents.

As said previously, to handle these situations a properly trained person should be given the responsibility to handle the verification task properly.

The employee must be trained on different factors to handle the verification task which is necessary to do an inspection.

When Food Shipment Is Spoiled, how To Tackle It

If the food shipped gets spoiled, reject food, then the food handler should take responsibility and do all the important procedures required to return the food shipped. When spoiled food is detected it becomes the responsibility of the food handler to mark the circumstance and produce important reports to return the food shipped.

Spoiled food cannot be just returned without support for the return decision and proper and strong documentation. A deep investigation should be done to find out the main cause of food spoilage and to assess it after the notice is provided.

Some specific conditions or requirements are made by the supplier. Before agreeing to those requirements or conditions, make sure that you have put your demands in front. The documentation works that are needed to be done are:-

  • Information of shipment which includes:-
  •  Time of delivery
  • Date
  • About driver
  • Number Of vehicle plate
  • When the product arrives, its states like:-
  • Description of food handler
  • Product’s picture

If the Food Shipment Is Kept Under the Wrong Temperature, Then What Should Be Done?

If the food shipment arrives at the wrong temperature then the very first thing to do is to notify the supplier. In the case of food shipment, the most important variable is the right temperature.

The risk of food spoilage is increased when the food is shipped at the wrong temperature and that wrong temperature is 40F to 140F. The strongest foods can also stay fresh at this temperature for only two hours.

After this point food becomes more vulnerable to spoilage. If the food has already been kept at this temperature then it will not stay for longer under you and will attract foodborne illness.

The food handler who has been assigned the duty should properly check the temperature with a properly calibrated food thermometer. The thermometer should also be verified. If you have important documents and proof then your food safety team can reject the food shipped if it was put under the wrong temperature with full authority.

To get more information about the food shipped and to keep track of the temperature use the receiving temperature log.

Food Should Be Shipped at What Temperature? 

Food should be shipped at 40F (5C) be it a highly strong item. This temperature is valid only for a few food items like fruits, vegetables, poultry, and raw meat food products.

Food items like seafood and fish that are meant to be eaten raw or that are meant to be frozen solid would be kept at 0F(-18C) or below. By this, it is ensured that the food items remain healthy and fresh and should not be affected by pathogens.

If there is a mark of the freezer burn this can affect the quality of food items therefore a mark of freezer burn should be checked.

The delivery temperature should be already verified by the food handler even though the thermometer is required to be on board by the truck supplier. 

When One Should Reject the Food in A Shipment?

There can be various reasons to not accept the food shipment. Those reasons are:-

  • If the food shipment is delivered late.
  • If the cans are found to be dented.
  • If the food is very expensive.
  • If the person receiving your shipment is allergic to some food items.
  • Food can also be contaminated with some elements like listeria, E.coli, and Salmonella which are pathogens.
  • If some packing slips are missing.
  • If the documents are not complete.
  • If the packing is not proper.
  • If it is brought under the wrong temperature.
  • If the delivery of the food is of bad quality.
  • If the food shipped has abnormal color or smell.
  • If the product shows the marks of pest damage then reject it.
  • If there is any sign of thawing and refreezing

The matter should be given top priority and should be handled with importance if there is any mishandling and spoilage of food.

The risk of accepting spoiled food increases if the signed food handler is not properly trained. 

What Are the Causes of Rejection of A Can?

If the labels at the CAN are not intact, if there is a tear in the CAN, if there is a hole in the CAN, or if the packaging has any punctures. 

When Should a Poultry Be Rejected? 

Poultry should be rejected if it has an unbearable odor. If it is dry, sticky, or slimy. If there are any signs of stickiness or slime. If there is any green or purple color in the neck area. All this is a result of keeping the poultry in incorrect or danger zone temperature.

Even if the poultry items are loaded fresh but if the shipping circumstances are not correct the poultry gets destroyed.

If the poultry, even though fresh, shows the above-mentioned signs, should be rejected or refused immediately and the situation should be notified to the supplier immediately. 

What Happens when The Cargo Is Rejected by The Purchaser?

Even though the exporter/seller provides good quality cargo, still some overseas buyers will find one or the other defects to refuse the cargo before the exportation process proper procedures have not been followed. If it happens then let it be.

If the Packing Slips Are Going Missing Then What Should Be Done?

Constantly the food shipment should be checked while the delivery of the food shipment. If there is any damage in the package it should be ignored.

If the canned product is purchased and it comes out to bulge then it should be avoided. If there is any product that has been changed then ensure not to receive it.

If the Delivery Is Late

As soon as the product arrives its temperature should be checked. If anything does not come under the requirement it should be rejected. 41 F or lower temperature is required for Cold TCS food to be kept and only at this temperature Cold TCS food should be received.

Ensure that the milk received is made to cool to 41 F or lower, after delivery, within four hours because at 45F or lower temperature it can be received. At a temperature of 45F or below it, shell eggs should be accepted.

Every hot TCS food is required to be kept at 135F or greater temperature. The frozen items should be kept strongly frozen.

Frozen items should be rejected if there are any marks of fluid stains that appear on the base of the case or the box.

If the food items have been thawed and then refrozen again then such food items should be rejected at once like any item that has frozen liquid or ice. 

Some Defects of CANs

Some defects of CANs are:-

  • Vee
  • Droop
  • False seam
  • Incomplete Seam
  • Cut Seam
  • Sharp Seam

Before receiving the CANs, make sure that they are free of any defects. The CANs should be properly inspected before being received. 

Dented cans cannot protect food. People should not consume products that come in dented cans.

Risks Involved in Food Shipment

In food businesses safety of food is a very important concern and it is mandatory to ensure that the food items the owner is selling are safe.

Due to a lack of awareness and ignorance of the food-related field, many people are unaware of the risks involved in a food shipment. This can attract foodborne illnesses like food poisoning.

To ensure your safety, follow some tips to keep your business secure from any damage. Make sure that you maintain your business area safe and secure from any kind of viruses or bacteria present in the air which can lead to food poisoning.

If food items like raw meat, fish, or seafood products are not handled properly, then this also increases the chances of food poisoning or leads to food poisoning.

This guide provides all information about when to reject a food shipment. Hope that it helps the reader.


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