Quality control is very important in any food business. You need to ensure that any items you have on sale are fresh and good quality, and not over-ripe, if customers receive damaged or rotten food they may not order again.
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.
As well as proper storage the following procedures will help you ensure good quality control:
- Always check the quantity, quality and condition of produce when it is delivered.
- If your supplier delivers any whole boxes of poor quality or damaged produce, return the box and ask for them to be taken off the invoice.
- Remove any bruised, mouldy or over-ripe items before putting produce out on display.
- Always open up any plastic packaging straight away, to allow the air to circulate.
- Fruit and vegetables should be kept cool and away from sunlight for as long as possible, so you may need some sort of shade or awning if you have an outdoor stall.
- Some fruit and vegetables damage easily and should be handled with care. When packing bags or boxes, or stacking crates of produce, make sure any more fragile items such as tomatoes or plums are put on the top.
- During storage, check produce for signs of spoilage every day and remove any bad items. See the Waste section for suggestions about what to do with these items.
- Ensure that all staff and volunteers understand the importance of these procedures - include tips on handling fresh produce in your induction.
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