The Flow of Food

Reading Guide

Follow food as it moves through afoodservice e&ablishment.

What You Want to Know Write a list of what you want to know about the flow of food. As you read, write down the heads in this section that provide the information.

Content Vocabulary

• receiving

j food

• storage


j shelf life

• holding

• first in, first out

• disposal

• shucked


• processing

• recycle

• pasteurize

• manual

• produce


• perishable

Key Concepts

• Summarize the steps in safely receiving and storing food.

• Identify safe holding, serving, cooling, and reheating guidelines.

• Explain how to properly clean, sanitize, and store dishes and glassware.

Main Idea

Foodservice workers need to be conscious of food safety and sanitation at each point in the flow of food, from receiving deliveries through serving.

Graphic Organizer

As you read, use a flow chart like the one below to show the all of the points in the flow of food. Fill in each box with a point in the flow of food, starting with the first and ending with the last.

Flow of Food

Academic Vocabulary

W Mathematics

NCTM Problem Solving Apply and adapt a variety of appropriate strategies to solve problems.

NCTM Data Analysis and

Probability Select and use appropriate statistical methods to analyze data.


NSESF Develop an understanding of personal and community health.

NCTE National Council of Teachers of English NCTM National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

NSES National Science Education

Standards NCSS National Council for the Social Studies

Graphic Organizer Go to this book's Online Learning Center at for a printable graphic organizer.

Critical control points are important in the flow of food. It is here that special attention is given to food products to prevent contamination. At each point in the flow of food, from receiving through serving, you need to be concerned with food safety and with sanitation.

Safety and sanitation procedures begin with receiving. Receiving is accepting deliveries of food and supplies. All food products must be carefully inspected for damage. You also should check that the food has been kept at the proper temperatures during delivery. As a foodservice professional, you need to look for these potential receiving problems:

• Foods that have been thawed and refrozen

• Foods that have an insect infestation

• Damaged foods or containers

• Items that have been repacked or mishandled

• Foods handled at incorrect temperatures

Storage Tips

Storage is another control point where improper handling can cause contamination. Storage means placing food in a location for later use. Always keep storage areas clean and dry. Make sure the temperature in storage areas is carefully monitored. Never store food in an unsanitary place, such as near sewage or in a bathroom.

There are three types of storage: dry, refrigerated, and frozen. The type of storage used depends on the type of food product being stored, and its shelf life. A product's shelf life is the period of time it can be stored and still be good to use.

Dry Storage

Foods that have a long shelf life are placed in dry storage. Flour, salt, dried beans, and canned foods are examples of items that should be kept in dry storage. The ideal, or perfect, temperature in a dry storage area is

50°F to 70°F (10°C to 21°C). All food products in dry storage should be kept at least 6 inches off the floor and at least 6 inches away from the wall. Clean and sanitize dry storage shelves and areas regularly.

Refrigerated Storage

Food products that need to be kept refrigerated should be stored at or below 41°F (5°C). Clearly label and date all containers when they are first stored. To prolong the shelf life of a refrigerated product, use the first in, first out (FIFO) inventory program. In the first in, first out program, food products that are oldest are used first, before newer products. This way, all products are fresh when they are used.

Store cooked foods and raw ingredients separately to prevent cross-contamination. If prepared or cooked and raw foods must be stored on the same side or shelving unit, always store cooked foods above raw foods. Frozen foods that are being thawed in the refrigerator should always be stored below prepared foods. Be sure to leave room around foods for air to circulate. Do not place hot foods in the refrigerator to cool.

Frozen Storage

Store frozen foods at 0°F (18°C) or below. Clearly label and date all containers when they are first stored. Never put a hot food product into a freezer, because this will affect, or act upon, the temperature of the storage area. It could cause foods in the freezer to thaw and remain in the temperature danger zone for too long.

Continue reading here: Small Bites

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