SAFE FOOD HANDLING NDLING-Food Safety Fact Sheet #10 “Date Marking of Potentially Hazardous Foods” Background Information The growth of pathogenic bacteria to dangerous levels can result when potentially hazardous foods are held at refrigerated temperatures for extended periods. Date marking is a tool to prevent this from happening. Date marking is an identifica identification system for ready-to-eat eat foods held over 24 hours. Refrigerated, ready-to-eat, eat, potentially hazardous food prepared and held for more than 24 hours must be marked with the date that the food must be sold, consumed, or discarded. This date must be 7 dayss from the date it was prepared or opened. Count the date the food was prepared plus six days. For example, if the food product was opened on October 10, 2009, then itt must be date marked October 16,, 2009. This dating provision was introduced into the FDA 2005 Food Code because of the potential for growth over time of organisms such as Listeria moncytogenes and Yersinia enterocolitica in refrigerated, ready ready-to-eat foods. Refrigeration does not prevent the growth of these organisms, but the rate of grow growth is slowed by refrigeration as the temperature decreases (41°F or below). Key Concepts • • • • • • Date marking is required for foods that are: Potentially hazardous Ready-to-eat eat Held under refrigeration for more than 24 hours before sale or service If you are combining different foods, the date of the oldest ingredient becomes the reference date.. For example, if you are using previously cooked ground beef to make a meat sauce, you must label the meat sauce with the discard date of the ground beef. A food establishment operator can choose any marking method that suits their needs. Whatever system is used, it should be understandable, effective, consistently used by employees, and clear to your inspector during inspections. Labels should include the name of the food and the date by which it should be sold, eaten, or thrown out. Serve or discard refrigerated, ready-to-eat, ready potentially hazardous foods within 7 days. A designated employee should check refrigerators daily to verify that foods are date marked ked and that foods exceeding the 7-day day time period are not used or stored. 1 The University of Arizona is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution. The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation in its programs and activities. • • Corrective action should include: discard refrigerated foods that are not date marked or that exceed the 7 day time period. Freezing food stops the date marking clock but does not reset it. If a food is stored at 41°F for 2 days and then frozen at 0°F, it can still be stored at 41°F for 5 more days after removal from the freezer. The freezer date and the thawing date must be put on the container along with the preparation date as an indication of how many of the original 7 days have been used. Activity 1 The food safety manager should decide on a date marking system that will be consistently used in his/her establishment. Various types of preprinted labels are available at Food Safety Solutions, which is a division of Ecolab. The Web site is www.daydots.com and phone number is 800-3213687. The manager could also decide on creating the establishment’s own labels using a simple system such as masking tape and a permanent marker or writing on blank labels. Whatever system is decided on, however, should be understood and used by all employees who prepare or open potentially, hazardous, ready- toeat foods. Demonstrate to employees this system and have them practice using it. Activity 2 Complete the blanks in each statement below with the correct word or words. 1. Date marking of food must be completed for foods that are to be held under refrigeration for more than _____________. 2. Date marking is required for what 2 types of food: _____________________________ and ________________________________. 3. Date marked refrigerated food must be served or discarded within _______ days. 4. If you are combining different foods, the date of the ________ ingredient becomes the date that should be identified on the label. 5. The label should include the ________ of the food and the ________ by which the food should be sold, eaten, or thrown outl. 6. Any refrigerated food that is not date marked and which the preparation date is not known should be _______________. 7. If a food is prepared 8:00 AM on April 1, the serve by time would be ___________ on _____________. Answer Key Activity 1 The food safety manager of the establishment should decide on the system of labeling that will be used at the establishment and should show and demonstrate this system to all employees. All employees should practice using this system and explain their understanding of it. Activity 2 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 24 hours Potentially hazardous and ready-to-eat 7 days Oldest Name and the date Discarded 8:00 AM on April 6 2 The University of Arizona is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution. The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation in its programs and activities. REFERENCES FDA Food Code. http://www.foodsafety.gov/~dms/foodcode.html 2007 suppplement. AZ State Health Code. http://www.co.cochise.az.us/health/EnvHealth/food_doc.pdf 2001. USDA HACCP-Based SOPs. http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usdahome 2007. Minnesota Department of Agriculture. http://www.mda.state.mn.us/food/business/factsheets/dates.htm 2005. South Dakota Office of Health Protection. www.state.sd.us/doh 2004. Food Safety Solutions, A Division of Ecolab. www.daydots.com 2009. 3 The University of Arizona is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution. The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation in its programs and activities.
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