Guidelines for Recovery Agencies for Surplus Food Collection from Caterers



Transportation and Food Loading:

  1. Donating agencies should use carriers/vehicle dedicated to food use only.
  2. Food carriershould be prepared before use as follows:
    • Ensure that all surfaces of the food carrier are clean.
    • Wash, rinse, and sanitize the interior surfaces.
    • Ensure that the food carrier is designed to maintain cold food temperatures at 5 ºC and /or hot food temperatures at 65 ºC or above.
  3. Time required for transportation should be minimum, to avoid microbial proliferation.
    • In case food is to be prepared and served in the near vicinity, it should be transported & served hot at temperature above 60 C and consumed within 4 hours.
    • In case food is prepared at long distances which require transportation for longer period, the food should be chilled to less than 4 C and transported and reheated at the time of service to a temperature of at least 70C, served at temperature above 60oC and consumed within 4 hours. Reheating should be done once.

Inspection of vehicle sbefore Unloading and Checking Deliveries:

Inspect all incoming vehicles and ensure:
  • Mats are dry and clean.
  • Internal temp.of food products is maintained at 60 C.
  • There is no evidence of chemical spills, garbage, waste or spoiled foods.
  • There is no evidence of Insect and rodent activity.
  • There is no Bad odor.

Notify the supervisor of any issues

  • Immediately after unloading, the food items shall be stored in a refrigerated room less than 5 degree Celsius.
  • Cooked food is served hot or cold and can be donated for food redistribution as long as the heat (60oC) or cool (5oC) chain has not been broken.

Food Inspection:

Purpose of food inspection is to evaluate fitness of food for human consumption:

Category of food Type of food Product Use before(At Room Temperature) Use before(At Refrigerated Temperature)
Perishable Food Milk ( Pasteurised) 5-6 hours 5-6 days
Cut Fruits and Vegetables 24 hours 1-2 days
Yogurt 1-2 days 2-3 days
Cheese 1-2 days 4-5 days
Meat and poultry 1-2 days 5-6 days
Fish 1-2 days 4-5 days
Eggs 7-10 days 2-3 weeks
Fresh fruits and vegetables 1-2 days 3-4 days
Cooked food 4-6 hours 12-24 hours
Milk ( UHT ) 5-6 months 6-7 months
Flour 1-3 months 2-6 months
Grain 4-6 months 10-12 months
Semi Perishable Food Potatoes 1-2 weeks 2-3 months
Onion 1-2 months 2-3 months
Garlic 3-5 months 10-12 months
Ginger 7-10 days 1 month
Baked Foods 2-4 days 7-14 days
Dry Fruits 5-6 months NA
Sugar 6-7 months NA
Non-Perishable Food Dried beans 5-6 months 10-15 months
Spices 6-7 months NA
Canned foods 1-2 years 4-5 years
Salt 6-7 months NA

Note: The unaccepted food can be used in various environment friendly waste disposal techniques.

Inspection of Ready – to – eat food:

Throw away ready-to-eat foods that are mouldy, stale and/or with odd smell.

Using Suitable Utensils:

1.Use suitable utensils when working with ready-to-eat foods. Suitable utensils may include:

2.Keep separate utensils for serving veg and non-veg food.

Food storage:

Place food in the proper storage area (refrigerator or freezer) quickly to avoid bacterial growth:

Reheating and Time/Temperature Control:

1.Train employees on using the procedures in the given SOPs.

2.Reheat the food products to 74oC for 15 seconds:

3.Reheat food for hot holding in the following manner if using a microwave oven:

Heat processed ready-to-eat foods from a package or can to at least 58ºC for 15 seconds.

4.Do not refrigerate / freeze after reheating.

Serving Food:

  1. employees on using the procedures in the given SOPs.
  2. Wash hands before putting on gloves, each time the gloves are changed, when changing tasks, and before serving food with utensils.
  3. Hold time/temperature control for safe food at the proper temperature.
  4. Don’t mix veg and non-veg food.



The methods for adequate maintenance of grounds to avoid contamination include:


  1. All food contact surfaces shall be cleaned as frequently as necessary to protect against the contamination of food.
  2. Sewage disposal shall be made into an adequate sewerage system.
  3. Hand washing facilities should be adequate and convenient and be furnished with running water at a suitable temperature.
  4. Personal hygiene should be maintained by all employees and volunteers.