September is food safety month! What is one way you can easily keep your customers safe? Always purchase from approved suppliers! Here are three tips from one of our articles on what to do when choosing an approved supplier:
1. Ask for approval records
The first thing to verify when choosing a supplier is that it is, in fact, approved. Approved suppliers should have records of regulatory permits, licenses, or inspection reports. You may also ask for evidence that a supplier complies with third-party standards such as HACCP or HARPC certification.
2. Conduct supplier audits
Audits are also a great way to ensure that a supplier meets your establishment’s needs. During an audit, you can observe the supplier’s manufacturing practices firsthand and ask questions as necessary. HACCP Mentor cautions, however, that there may be downsides to these audits. To effectively audit a supplier, you need to know what you’re looking for, and you need to invest the time and travel costs to visit the supplier. A high-pressure audit may also strain your relationship with a potential supplier.
3. Make a list of product-specific requirements
Lastly, consider any legal requirements that are specific to foods that your establishment offers. Does the supplier meet those requirements? For example, does a milk supplier pasteurize their products? If your establishment serves raw fish dishes, does your supplier freeze the fish to destroy parasites? Do they keep records of the freezing time and temperature? Does a shellfish supplier use the appropriate identification tags on deliveries?
Understanding product-specific requirements for suppliers can be a challenge. Reach out to your local health department if you have questions. The FDA Food Code is also a good resource for this information.
Food safety is a critical part to the lives of many. Help keep food safe by continuing to follow food safety principles.
Download/Print Cartoon: Roadkill Distributors