Proper Care & Handling of Food Products

Food Safety sounds rather boring to discuss, but if you have ever gotten sick from contaminated food, it’s not a pleasant thing to experience and can be life threatening. As an AP rep, it is your responsibility to handle the products you deliver for the company. Currently we don’t require a food handler’s permit to work as an rep AP, but it is very good idea for everyone to obtain one and to use the principles taught there in your own kitchens. It’s also a good thing to review from time to time.

We handle more than just frozen food, our dry products, cleaners, utensils are all related to food, so we need to be up on the care of those items too. First I will go over some of the basics in handling your orders. Alison’s Pantry will ship the product to you in a refrigerated delivery truck which keeps the frozen food at 0 to –10.

Legally, any meats you sell must have the USDA label on them. Please keep in mind that you, as the Representative are not allowed to split cases of meat (beef, chicken, pork). The customer MUST split it themselves. Adulterating the product is when you open the product and split it for the customer. This is against federal regulation. Please be careful when splitting cases of other items such as bakery items and spices. Any item that is not individually wrapped really should not be split by you for the customers. The customers can split the items once they have been purchased, and many like to do this to try a new product that comes in a larger pack size.

In regards to meat products, AP asks that you don’t sample meats. When you sample meats the USDA wants to get involved and if you are at a show, boutique or fair, you can be shut down for sampling meat products. If you sample in your own home, they can’t monitor what you sample, there, as it is your personal property, but we ask that you be careful in this area. You don’t want to miss handle any products and make someone sick.

As for shows, boutiques and fairs, please inquire about the food handlers permit first, then find out what is allowed at your event as far as samples. Please provide napkins, waste receptacles and use gloves when handing food. Serve individually wrapped if possible. Don’t allow your customers to serve themselves at a show or at your home.

Any cool items should be covered, stored and served on ice. Such as dips or sauces. If your products thaw completely throughout the course of your event, you must not refreeze to use again. A product must have ice crystals and be no lower than 40 degrees to be refrozen. Meats should not be refrozen.

Often customers will have questions about product information that you may not know. First go to the website and type the item # or product description in the search bar at the top. When the product comes up, click on it for information on the product. You may have to click on the Description and Nutrition tab to pull up the ingredients. If you can’t find what you are looking for, you can go to the manufacturer’s website to find more information. If that doesn’t work, call rep support.

Now lets talk about getting ready for your order.

Before Your Delivery

Before you receive your order:

  • Clean the area you will be using for your delivery. A customer will appreciate a clean and orderly area to receive her food.
  • If you use your garage sweep and clean it out. Taking care to remove any gasoline or automobiles that may smell.
  • If your animals inhabit the area in which you will do your delivery, remove the animals and any of their byproducts (litter boxes etc) before your customers drop by. Customers do not appreciate your dog or cat climbing all over them, leaving foot prints and hair. Please be considerate.
  • If you deliver in your vehicle. Keep your car clean, vacuumed and presentable. No one likes smashed French fries on the top of their box.
  • If you use your house, please keep your house in an orderly manner. Clean dishes, wiped counters, uncluttered tables and mopped and swept floors. No one likes to pick up food in dirty surroundings. Remember you are representing Alison’s Pantry. You don’t want to have your customer wondering if her food is safe.
  • Clean out your freezers BEFORE the order arrives. You don’t have time to reorganize before sorting your order.

When you Receive your Order

Print out your invoices before your order comes.

  • Prepare your any samples you plan to share.
  • Have your contest winners gifts ready and labeled.
  • Print out the “Be Nourished Flyer” if you use it. When you receive your order.
  • Have help in unloading and doing your inventory. The faster you can get your order sorted and accounted for the better.
  • You need to report any extras and shorts within 72 hours to the office. Call the 2 reps in front of your stop and 2 behind your stop to see if they have the items. Then report to the office by EMAIL your findings.
  • When opening boxes, be sure not to slice through any of the boxes under the tape. If you cut a package open you must cover the cost of replacement for your customer. BE CAREFUL!!
  • Do your inventory BEFORE you deliver any products.
  • Place freezer items in the freezer within 1 hour. (this one hour guideline is a government standard) You do not want any items to get above 40* degrees or they should not be refrozen.

Here’s a way for you to remember everything. CAPSTONE A capstone is a finishing touch on a building. As it is in your AP business, if you add the Capstone, you will be prepared for the orders and organized.

  • C- Clean Area
  • A- Auto/Animals
  • P- Print Invoices
  • S- Samples Ready
  • T- Truck Delivery
  • O- Organize Inventory
  • N- Never Leave out Frozen
  • E- Everything Delivered within 1 week

I hope you have learned something today and will do your best to make the best impression on your customers by representing AP with good food safety and handing procedures.

Check Your Freezer!

You should have a thermometer in each freezer that you use for your Alison’s Pantry business!

  • Check the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer with an appliance thermometer. The refrigerator should be at 40 °F (4.4 ºC) or below and the freezer at 0 °F (-17.7 ºC) or below.
  • Clean and defrost your freezer every 3- 6 months as needed.
  • Before the truck arrives make sure you have enough room to store your freezer items. You must not take time to clean out your freezers after the product has arrived.
  • You will need 1 cubic foot for 35-40 lbs. of food

When Product Arrives

Alison’s Pantry ships to you in a refrigerated truck which keeps item the frozen food at 0 to -10 degrees.

  • Inventory your freezer items first! Check off your order as you load it in the freezer this will enable it to maintain a consistent temperature.
  • Organize your products into like items as you inventory your frozen order items. Making it easier to find when the customer comes to pick up. Allowing less damage to the items as you remove them from the freezer.
  • Always refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours—1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F (32.2 C)

Ice Cream, Fruits & Vegetables

  • Remember to start with the most temperature sensitive items first.
  • Ice cream and frozen fruit and vegetable items, these will thaw and clump together and melt.
  • Yeast and bread products, these will begin to thaw and rise
  • Poultry, meat and fish items. Bacteria will begin to grow if temperature fluctuates.

Work Quickly and Efficiently

  • With careful planning and organization you can keep your frozen order frozen without any loss of quality.
  • Keep your customers happy and notify them quickly to retrieve the orders.
  • Have some help in doing your inventory and putting the orders away especially when it is hot outside.
  • Remember you represent our company. Our customers love our product, especially when it is received just as it left the warehouse. No one likes paying for melted ice.
  • Good luck this summer!