ited storage space for TCS foods. Store employees are required to (1) inspect food
deliveries for condition, (2) measure and document incoming refrigerated and frozen
food temperatures to verify they are within the specified parameters, and ( 3) quickly
store the food in refrigerators and freezers within a specified time. When stores are
faced with the inevitable delivery of food during peak customer hours, it can be-
come very challenging for store employees to handle their other tasks (cash register,
food prep and service, etc.) while maintaining [the] cold chain of this incoming
CB: To accommodate limited shelf life and limited storage space (in many cases), deliveries that are more frequent may be beneficial, and utilizing a reputable and food
safety-compliant distribution company, this task can be managed.
SM: Many times, deliveries are occurring all day and they can sit unnoticed for long
periods of time. Beer tends to go straight to the cooler and stocked by the drivers,
but other items can be out of temperature control for extended periods. We are seeing more refrigerated products being delivered directly into the cooler, which limits
the sitting of deliveries for long periods of time outside of refrigeration. The limited
staffing to verify the temperatures of deliveries and ensure quick temperature control
continues to be a challenge. When there is adequate staffing, there tends to be sufficient cold chain management.
FSM: What do you see as the outstanding needs for food professionals at convenience
CM: Basic training and professional licensed certification, along with the dedicated
staffing resources and commitment to “doing what is right” with or without supervision, is the greatest need for food professionals at convenience stores. Training
resources are abundant.
JE/MP: For store teams: training and guidance! Today, companies have a number
of options to address training: ServSafe, computer-based training, and hands-on
training for all other coworkers. Constant coaching is needed to remind foodservice
employees of what the expectations are and why they are necessary. Explaining the
reasoning for food safety practices will often result in employee buy-in, and even
peers keeping each other accountable in a respectful manner.
For corporate/management: true dedication and buy-in. When senior leadership
and operations management understand the importance of food safety in developing food programs, you are already ahead of the curve. Having to work just to get
resources, involvement, or consideration is an unnecessary obstacle that takes away
from time that could be spent developing programs, researching/participating in
share groups, and ultimately mitigating the same risk that could put an end to your
food programs in a worst-case scenario.
ies of product can help maintain good
shelf life/turns with these perishable
products. In many cases, the cold and
frozen sections of the trailers are monitored via fleet management systems.
When delivered, products are moved
quickly from the truck to the area they
belong in order to maintain the cold
chain (walk-in coolers or freezers). Any
deviation from the above could mean
temperature abuse with temp-sensitive
products both refrigerated and frozen.
Once delivered, it is the store’s responsibility to label, maintain, and stock the
items per existing programs.
JZ: Regardless of the type of food
industry you work in, managing the
cold chain is going to be a challenge.
Temperature monitoring—whether by a
remote sensor, Temp Tale, or a person—is
key throughout the entirety of the supply chain, including at store level. The
challenge lies in the fact that we have to
manage frequent, small deliveries within
a short amount of time to stores that
also have limited storage space. Thus,
the temperature-controlled environments within the trailers are continuously being disrupted and their contents
are being staged in non-temperature-controlled areas while waiting to be put
away. To best maintain the cold chain
during these interruptions, we rely on
our greatest asset to food safety—the
store team members. Our team members are trained so that they understand
basic food safety principles, such as
proper temperature storage. Using these
principles, they implement receiving
procedures and storage methods that
enable them to receive food quickly
and efficiently. Store design also plays
a major role in maintaining the cold
chain; for instance, coolers and freezers
are located in close proximity to the
receiving door and designed to quickly
cool down to safe temperatures once the
receiving process is complete.
RS: Frequent food deliveries are a fact
of life for convenience store foodservice,
primarily due to the relatively short
shelf life of the food products and lim-
Your typical food safety management system
is universal, and if the specific protocol works
for a restaurant or supermarket, it will work
in a C-store.