Receiving and inspecting fresh produce is the first step to ensuring a quality end product for your customers and healthy profit for your business. Your foodservice establishment invests a significant amount of money in procuring quality produce to serve its customers, and your care and thoroughness in receiving and inspecting each shipment helps protect this investment.

The following are four important questions to ask when receiving and inspecting each shipment of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Did we receive the specific items ordered?
Keep careful records of all orders placed and scrutinize every shipment against those records. If you ordered a specific variety of produce for a specific use, make sure you received what you ordered. As you know, iceberg lettuce and butter lettuce may not serve the same purpose, and every shipment costs you time and money. Put simply, don’t compromise on your orders – order what you need and hold your distributors accountable.

Did we receive the amount ordered?
Per your organization’s established procedures, measure your produce received to ensure it is the amount on order. Hold your distributor accountable for any amount more or less than ordered.

Is the produce fresh?
Don’t assume the produce delivered will be fresh. Know the product, and determine its freshness on arrival. This is critical to ensuring the longevity of your produce and to delivering a quality finished product to your customers. Indicators of fresh, quality produce include: bright, uniform color (regardless of degree of ripeness), firm flesh, absence of rot or blemish, a shiny skin and crisp leaves.

Did we receive quality produce?
Your organization should have a clearly defined set of standard and guidelines for incoming produce. Produce that has not been shipped to your instructions, or does not meet your quality standards, may not be usable, which places a significant burden on your business and customers. Don’t settle!

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