What is the Best Way to Handle Recalled Food Items at Your Restaurant

Handling Recalled Foods at Your Restaurant

Unfortunately, food recalls are a fact of life. While recent recalls have included foods like romaine lettuce and ground beef, a wide range of produce, meats, prepackaged meals, and processed foods have the potential to be contaminated in one or way another. In fact, CDC food recalls can protect against anything from foodborne illnesses to allergen contamination. Here’s the best way to handle recalled food items at your restaurant.

Keep Updated on Food Recalls

While this may seem obvious, the only way you can protect your restaurant and your customers is by staying up-to-date on food recalls when they happen. While your wholesale food distributors will contact you in the event of a recall, you can also track food recalls on the FDA website, or by signing up for e-mail updates.

Take Quick Action

Once you know there is a recall of a food item you serve in house, follow proper food safety suggestions, including:

  • Removing the affected items from your inventory and placing them in a secure and appropriate location away from food, eating utensils, cooking equipment, linens, and single-use items
  • Sanitizing the area where the recalled food items were previously stored
  • Clearly labeling the affected items to ensure they aren’t placed back with the inventory
  • Clearly communicating to your staff what’s happening with the recalled product
  • Referring to the food vendor’s notification or recall notice to learn how to best isolate or dispose of these products

Be as Transparent as Possible

Especially during a wide-scale food recall, it’s important to be up-front with your guests about how you’re handling recalled food items. Make sure your restaurant staff has a clear understanding of the protocol for recalled food, so they can clearly explain it to worried customers. If the recall continues, you might consider putting up informative signs and coming up with food specials to replace affected menu items. You’ll also want to consider recent recalls when purchasing food, as people might be weary of eating those items after a long-term, public recall.

For more restaurant management tips, check out the McDonald Wholesale blog where we cover everything from Oregon food safety rules for pickling and fermentation to what to consider when choosing a foodservice distributor.

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