Tips for Restaurants on How to Receive Food Safely


Are you purchasing your food from an approved and reputable vendor? Do you and your staff take the time to inspect the food? Does your source meet all applicable local, state and federal laws?

When in doubt, ask the questions and check, as you are the one ultimately responsible for serving safe food to your guests.

Here are a few tips:

  • Take the time to inspect or give your employees the authority to examine the delivery.
  • Received Food: Ensure that it meets all the senses. If it looks bad, feels bad and smells bad… it probably is.
  • Canned Goods: Ensure that labels are present and there are no swollen ends or rust. Check the expiration dates.
  • Dry Foods: Inspect that packages are in good condition (no scratches or gnaw marks) and have been stored in a clean, dry storage area that is between 50 to 70 degrees.
  • Frozen and Dry Eggs: Confirm they are pasteurized.
  • Temperature Guidelines: Verify with your approved source that items meet the following standards:
    • Meat and Poultry: Must be received at 41 degrees or lower.
    • Eggs: Must be received at 45 degrees or lower. In addition, eggs should not be cracked.
    • Liquid eggs: Must also be stored at 41 degrees or lower.
    • Shellfish: Must be received at 45 degrees or lower. Shellfish stock tags must be attached and kept for 90 days.
    • Dairy: Must be received at 41 degrees or lower.
    • Seafood: Must be received at 41 degrees or lower. Fish should have no odor or at minimum, a light, pleasant seaweed smell.
    • Hot foods: Must be received at 165 degrees or higher, and be in an insulated container.
    • Fresh produce: If cut, must be received at 41 degrees or below.


It is critical that you store all acceptable products promptly and appropriately after receiving them.

Remember; when in doubt – throw it out. 

For further information, visit the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) website:

The entire FDA Food Code document can be viewed online: