Food Safety: How to Inspect Perishable Food Items


As many as 1 in 10 Americans acquire a foodborne illness from a foodservice operation each year. Maintaining appropriate food safety management standards may help you avoid potentially devastating foodborne illness outbreaks.

Food safety management begins when the products enter your facility. When accepting a delivery with perishable food items, follow general receiving and inspection guidelines, but be aware that some food products have more specific guidelines.

How to Inspect Eggs:

  • Eggs must be clean and unbroken
  • Shell eggs must be received at an air temperature of 45ºF or lower
  • Pasteurization is required for processed egg products (i.e. liquid eggs). These products must bear the USDA inspection mark
  • Pasteurization destroys Salmonella – a bacteria commonly found in eggs

How to Inspect Milk and Dairy Products:

  • Must be received at 45ºF or lower
  • Make sure there are no leaking milk bottles or stained packaging
  • Milk should be treated or pasteurized to prevent, eliminate, or reduce pathogens

How to Inspect Produce:

  • Cut melons, tomatoes, and leafy greens must be received at 41ºF or lower
  • Be aware of vegetables and fruits that have already been processed (cut, washed, etc.) – they can attract bacteria
  • Be observant for packaging that is not 100% intact

How to Inspect Pre-packaged Juice:

  • Make sure there are no leaking juice bottles or stained packaging
  • Juice should be treated or pasteurized to prevent, eliminate, or reduce pathogens

The Nutrition Resource Center, a team of registered dietitians and certified food-safety professionals at Gordon Food Service, offers many food safety tools and resources for customers. If you are currently a customer, learn more about our food safety service offerings.

Is there a food safety topic you’d like to learn more about? Please share in the comments below.

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