SITXINV002 Maintain the quality of perishable items

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SITXINV002 Maintain the quality of perishable items

In this unit you will learn how to;

  1. Store supplies in appropriate conditions
  2. Maintain perishable supplies to optimum quality
  3. Check perishable supplies and dispose of spoilt stock


The quality of the meals you produce, whether in a fine dining restaurant, a café or for patients in a hospital or hospice, will depend – to a very large degree – on your ingredients. It stands to reason, then, that the proper handling of these ingredients is essential.

With the purchase of food being a major cost factor in any food outlet, ensuring that these perishable items are used correctly, and that nothing is unnecessarily wasted, also becomes an important issue.  

Then, too, it is essential to follow Food Safety Standard regulations to ensure that all the foods you prepare are free of contamination; food can be spoiled or contaminated quickly and easily if not handled and stored correctly. So the proper care of food products and maintenance of the environment in which they are kept is an important part of your role.

Store Supplies in Appropriate Conditions

The quality of the products you use in food preparation depends not only on how they were grown, but also on how they are handled and stored. Appropriate conditions will depend on whether the goods need to be kept dry, whether they need to be frozen, and ensuring they are stored at the correct temperatures.

So whenever goods are ordered and received by your organization, they should be checked to ensure they are in good condition and of good quality – before you accept them. This is done by way of visual check and, importantly, by checking that the items were transported under the right conditions and at the right temperature.

When conducting visual checks, look for;

  • currency of ‘best by’ or ‘use by’ dates, to ensure products are within the specified timeframes for consumption
  • freshness of the produce; items should not show any signs of wilting or deterioration
  • signs of any blemishes or bruising on vegetables or fruit
  • signs of damage to packaging that might impact on the quality of the item

In accordance with Food Safety Standard 3.2.2 Division 3 (5), you are legally required to ensure that potentially hazardous foods are kept either very cold (5 C or colder) or very hot (60 C or hotter).

The legal definition of temperature control is:

  1. “5 C, or below if this is necessary to minimise the growth of infectious or toxigenic micro-organisms in the food so that the microbiological safety of the food will not be adversely affected for the time the food is at that temperature; or
  2. 60 C or above; or
  3. another temperature – if the food business demonstrates that maintenance of the food at this temperature for the period of time for which it will be so maintained will not adversely affect the microbiological safety of the food.”

According to the Australian / New Zealand Food Safety Standards (ANZFS) foods that represent a potential hazard and should be kept at temperatures outlined above include:

  • raw and cooked meat (including poultry and game) or foods containing raw or cooked meat such as casseroles, curries and lasagne;
  • smallgoods such as Strasbourg, ham and chicken loaf;
  • dairy products, for example, milk, custard and dairy-based desserts such as cheesecakes and custard tarts;
  • seafood (excluding live seafood) including seafood salad, patties, fish balls, stews containing seafood and fish stock;
  • processed fruits and vegetables, for example salads and cut melons;
  • cooked rice and pasta;
  • foods containing eggs, beans, nuts or other protein-rich foods such as quiche, fresh pasta and soy bean products; and
  • foods that contain these foods, for example sandwiches, rolls and cooked and uncooked pizza.

Conducting temperature checks

Foods not stored at the temperatures outlined in the FSS are said to be ‘in the danger zone’. Food kept in the temperature danger zone is at risk of being contaminated or spoiled so by keeping food very cold (5 C or colder) or very hot (60 C or hotter) you can stop food-poisoning bacteria from multiplying in the food, or producing poisons (known as toxins).

To comply with the Standard, you must always keep potentially hazardous foods at these temperatures unless you can show that the time the food is at another temperature is safe. For example; while the food is being prepared, because food-poisoning bacteria need time to start multiplying and to multiply to unsafe numbers. It important to understand, however, that it is safe for food to be between 5 C and 60 C for only a limited time……… continued in learner guide.

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