F-1800 Food Service Requirements

F-1810 Overview

Revision 21-0; Effective January 15, 2021

In all phases of a food service operation, meal providers adhere to federal, state and local fire, health, sanitation and safety regulations related to facilities, storage, preparation, handling, cooking, serving, delivery or any other provision for food service. Subrecipients and AAAs providing nutrition services directly must have written policy and procedures to ensure safe meals consumption.

AAAs ensure meal providers comply with 25 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 228, Retail Food, for all meals served through OAA programs, and applicable local or federal (U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or Food and Drug Administration (FDA)) regulations.

 

F-1820 Facilities and Food Service

Revision 21-0; Effective January 15, 2021

Meals can be prepared in a kitchen that serve one meal site, a central kitchen which serves multiple meal sites, through a written contractual agreement with a contractor (e.g., nearby schools, restaurants or hospitals) or a food service management company (an organization under contract by the meal provider to manage any aspect of the food service).

A meal provider obtains written approval from the AAA before contracting with any entity for meal preparation or service delivery to ensure proper monitoring or quality assurance activities occur.

Results from facility and food inspections required by state law must be maintained by AAAs for all meal providers, including meal provider contractors.

A Certified Food Protection Manager, who ensures the application of hygienic techniques and practices in food preparation and service, must be present during the food service operation. Programs that do not prepare their own food must have a Certified Food Protection Manager responsible for the storage, display, and serving of food for meal sites. A Certified Food Protection Manager is an individual who has successfully completed a Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) approved food safety and sanitation course and has a current certificate of completion.

 

F-1830 Food Preparation and Safety Standards

Revision 21-0; Effective January 15, 2021

All kitchens producing meals for a nutrition program must maintain a written, formal sanitation and food preparation program that meets or exceeds the minimum requirements of applicable local, state (25 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 228, Retail Food), and federal (USDA or FDA) regulations.

  • Cleaning and Sanitizing: Effective methods for cleaning and sanitizing dishes, equipment, food contact surfaces, work areas, serving and dining areas must be written and posted or readily available to staff and volunteers.
  • Poisonous or Toxic Materials: The use and storage of toxic materials, such as cleaners and sanitizers, must be written and posted or readily available to staff and volunteers.
  • Quality and Quantity of Meals: Use standardized written quantity recipes, adjusted to yield the number of servings needed, to achieve the consistent and desirable quality and quantity of all meals.
  • Food Palatability: All foods are prepared and served in a manner to preserve the best flavor and appearance, while retaining nutrients and food value.
  • Portion Control: Nutrition programs must use standardized portion control procedures, equipment and utensils to ensure that each served meal is uniform, meets the Texas guidelines for nutrition and reduces plate waste.

 

F-1840 Food Purchasing and Use of Donated Food

Revision 21-0; Effective January 15, 2021

Food used in the nutrition program must be obtained from sources that comply with requirements in 25 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 228, Retail Food, Subchapter C, Food; USDA; and all other applicable local, state or federal requirements relating to food quality, labeling, sanitation and safety.

All ready-to-eat, or drink, foods must have an expiration date, use-by date, sell-by date, or best-by date. All food and drinks must be received prior to the expiration date, use-by date, sell-by date, or best-by date.

Meal providers buy and use foods that meet the standards of quality, sanitation and safety applying to commercially processed foods.

All foods the provider purchases and uses in a nutrition program must meet standards of quality for sanitation and safety applying to commercially processed foods.

Nutrition programs may use contributed and discounted foods only if they meet the same standards of quality, sanitation, and safety that apply to foods bought from commercial sources. Unacceptable food items include:

  • foods from sources not approved by DSHS;
  • foods previously served to another person;
  • time or temperature-controlled for safety foods not kept at temperature at time of receipt by the meal provider;
  • unlabeled foods;
  • time or temperature-controlled foods exceeding their shelf life (expiration date, use-by date, sell-by date or best-by date);
  • damaged foods such as heavily rim or seam-dented canned foods, or packaged foods without the manufacturer’s complete labeling; and
  • distressed foods such as those subjected to fire, flooding, excessive heat, smoke, radiation, other environmental contamination or prolonged storage.

 

F-1850 Leftover Food

Revision 21-0; Effective January 15, 2021

Meal providers observe trends of foods typically left over and if due to participant refusal, consider revising the menu to accommodate the preferences of most of the participants.

  • Do not transport leftover food from a congregate meal site or from a HDM route back to the preparation site.
  • Store leftover food properly or discard leftover food at the congregate nutrition meal site.
  • Do not freeze leftover food to be served as meals later.

Staff, volunteers or others cannot take food from kitchens or nutrition sites, except when packaged, taken and counted as a home-delivered meal to an eligible person.

The risk of foodborne illness should be stressed through nutrition education to people who are eligible for congregate meals to discourage taking home leftover foods from the nutrition site.  People may take home only leftovers that are safe at room temperature, such as packaged crackers, cakes, breads and fresh fruit.

 

F-1860 Food Packaging and Transporting Meals

Revision 21-0; Effective January 15, 2021

All meal providers must have processes, supplies and equipment that maintain the safe and sanitary handling of all menu items from the time the cooking process is complete through the end of the delivery period.

Do not leave meals unattended. Deliver meals directly to an eligible person or the person’s caregiver. If the eligible person or the caregiver as documented in the eligible person’s file is not present to accept the meal, the provider cannot leave the meal.

The meal provider must document the meal as undelivered and the reason the meal is undelivered.

Discard hot or chilled meals not served or delivered within the four-hour period after removal from temperature control.

Meals prepared using reduced oxygen packaging method must comply with 25 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 228, Retail Food, Subchapter C, Food.

Chilled, frozen, or other meals delivered for consumption at a time later than the time of delivery must be clearly labeled, including an expiration date. Instructions for storage and cooking must be in large print. Meals are delivered and scheduled to be consumed prior to the expiration date.

 

F-1861 Meal Packaging

Revision 21-0; Effective January 15, 2021

Meal providers must use proper packaging for transporting meals. A meal provider must:

  • use supplies and carriers to package and transport hot foods separately from chilled foods;
  • use enclosed meal carriers to transport easily damaged trays or containers of hot or cold foods to protect them from contamination, crushing, or spillage;
  • ensure the meal carrying equipment or vehicle is equipped with insulation or supplemental hot or chilled sources as is necessary to maintain temperatures;
  • clean and sanitize food carriers, or use containers with inner liners that can be sanitized;
  • seal individual meal containers to prevent moisture loss or spillage to the outside of the container throughout transport (Styrofoam “clam shells” are not acceptable as they do not seal);
  • completely wrap or package food utensils to protect them from contamination;
  • use a container designed with compartments to separate food items for visual appeal and to minimize spillage between compartments;
  • use a container an eligible person can easily open;
  • ensure meals delivered in bulk maintain temperature throughout the delivery period;
  • help people in taking meals delivered in bulk inside the home, as needed;
  • help people in opening a bulk container and storing meals inside a proper appliance (refrigerator or freezer), as needed;
  • notify the AAA within one day of planned delivery if meals delivered in bulk cannot be left with an eligible person due to damage;
  • replace unconsumable damaged meals in compliance with AAA policy; and
  • not request reimbursement for unconsumable meals damaged in transit.

 

F-1862 Holding Time and Temperatures

Revision 21-0; Effective January 15, 2021

Serve or deliver hot or cold foods within four hours from the point in time when the food is removed from temperature control:

  • hot foods must have an initial internal temperature of 135º F. or above when removed from temperature control; and
  • cold foods must have an initial internal temperature of 41º F. or below when removed from temperature control.

Meal providers must have written processes in place to:

  • record temperatures for all menu items when the food is ready to leave production area temperature control for serving on site or packaging for home delivery;
  • take meal temperatures each day a meal is prepared;
  • document meal temperatures;
  • record the time the staff takes the temperature of each menu item;
  • mark hot and chilled foods to show four hours past the point in time when the food is removed from temperature control;
  • deliver hot and chilled foods to an eligible person within four hours from the point the food is removed from temperature control; and
  • be sure food transport is safe and sanitary when a central kitchen is preparing food and transporting food to other nutrition sites.

 

F-1863 Frozen Food

Revision 21-0; Effective January 15, 2021

Foods frozen for later consumption must meet applicable local, state, and federal standards. Equipment and methods for freezing must also meet these standards. A meal must still be frozen when delivered to an eligible person.

 

F-1864 Reduced Oxygen Packaging Food

Revision 21-0; Effective January 15, 2021

Foods which are prepared by a food establishment that packages time or temperature-controlled food for safety using a reduced oxygen packaging method must comply with 25 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 228, Retail Food, Subchapter C, Food.

 

F-1870 Suspected Foodborne Illness Outbreak

Revision 21-0; Effective January 15, 2021

AAAs must ensure meal providers promptly notify the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the AAAs of a foodborne disease outbreak. A foodborne disease outbreak may have occurred when two or more persons experience a similar illness resulting from the ingestion of a common food.

 

F-1880 Socialization for People Receiving Multiple Meals

Revision 21-0; Effective January 15, 2021

Meal providers maintain written procedures to provide socialization contacts for people who receive fewer than five home delivered meals a week.

  • Socialization contacts must occur at least three times a week for people who receive fewer than three meal deliveries each week, regardless of the type of meal or meals delivered:
    • count one contact when meals are delivered; and
    • make two additional contacts by phone, email, text or another method agreed upon by the meal service recipient and the meal provider.
  • A person receiving meals may choose to opt out of receiving socialization contacts other than the meal delivery day.
  • A person making a socialization contact must report any significant changes in the person’s physical or mental condition or environment to the proper person or entity.

AAAs that authorize meals through a contracted meal provider must maintain written procedures on socialization for people receiving multiple meals in accordance with this handbook.

Acceptable forms of contact with the eligible person include:

  • phone;
  • email;
  • text messages;
  • skype; or
  • any method that lets the eligible person to ask questions or request help if needed.

Documentation

Documentation of socialization contacts must include the name of the meal provider, date of contact, type of contact and name of contacted person.

If a person opts out of socialization contacts other than the meal delivery day, document the person’s choice in their file. Update information annually.