Quality control is very important in any food business - you need to ensure that any items on sale are fresh and of good quality. 

This does not mean that everything you sell has to be physically perfect like in supermarkets. Fruit and vegetables with marks or blemishes are still good to eat - you may also be able to get Class II produce at a slightly cheaper price.

The following procedures will help you ensure the produce you’re selling is always of good quality:

  • As well as checking that the right amount of produce has been delivered, make sure everything is in good condition. If your supplier delivers boxes of produce that is damaged or of poor quality, do not accept the delivery and ask for the boxes to be taken off the invoice
  • For most fruit and vegetables, open up any plastic packaging straight away to allow for air circulation
  • Some fruit and vegetables damage easily and should be handled with care - when packing bags or boxes make sure fragile items are placed on the top
  • Before putting produce on display, remove any bruised, mouldy or overripe produce. Check out the Waste section for ideas of what to do with these!
  • If you have an outdoor stall, it is useful to think about how you’re going to keep the produce out of direct sunlight as that will spoil it much faster
  • Ensure that all staff and volunteers understand the importance of these procedures by including training on how to handle fresh produce during induction

To find more useful food co-op related information visit our homepage

Food Co-ops toolkit: The Food Co-ops Toolkit will give you all the information you need to set up your own food co-op.

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Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

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