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Food Service Questions

Leftovers

Can I use "leftovers" in my facility?

Any food that is leftover (food that was meant to be served for a meal, but was not all served), should be used as follows: Leftovers should be covered, labeled and dated, then stored appropriately (refrigerated or frozen) within 1 hour. Leftovers must be cooled to less than or equal to 41 degrees F within 4 hours. Leftovers must be reheated to 165 degrees for a minimum of 15 seconds and then held at the proper temperature for service (>135 degrees F). Leftovers should not be used to make pureed food.

Food Temperatures

What should the food/beverage temperature be at point of service in LTC?

F364 states that food is "palatable, attractive, and at the proper temperature." The interpretive guidelines state: "Is food served at preferable temperature (hot foods are served hot and cold foods are served cold) as discerned by the resident and customary practice? Not to be confused with the proper holding temperature."

Policies & Procedures

I have been asked to redo the policy and procedure manual for clinical nutrition in my facility. Do you have any ideas on what should be on the clinical side of the table of contents?

We have a Policy & Procedure Manual for use in long term care facilities and hospitals, and it could also be adapted for Assisted Living Facilties or other settings. You can view the table of contents on our website. It has a thorough nutrition care section. You might consider purchasing this - it comes with a CD ROM for customization - a huge time saver!

Date Marking

When labeling and dating in most facilities do they use a discard date on items or do they label and date with an open date? We are having a tough time agreeing on which is the best. Can you give us an idea of what most places do?

In our facilities it seems easier for them to do a "discard by" date for the food so there is no mistake about how long it should be kept. The "opened on" dating system leaves staff having to figure out when the product should be discarded (which may not be the best procedure). Facilities usually create a policy to determine how the dating is done in the foodservice department and that is the way they train the staff. Whatever your facility decides on, be consistent with it and make sure all staff are following the same procedure.

Handwashing/Gloves

When should foodservice workers wear gloves?

Gloves should be worn whenever a worker is directly handling a food item with the hands. Staff need to wash their hands before putting gloves on. Gloves need to be changed any time they touch any soiled item, contaminated surface, or after coughing or sneezing, touching another person or themselves, touching the table, picking something else up with the gloves, etc.) Any time they change gloves, they should wash their hands.