We Provide a Safe and Healthy Source of Food for Southwestern Pennsylvanians
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is committed to ensuring the safety of the food that we distribute to the people of southwestern Pennsylvania. Our food safety initiatives are designed to guarantee best food handling practices not just in our warehouse, but also at each of our member agencies.
Food Safety Training
We require two representatives from each of our agencies to be food safety trained. For any of our agencies that cook or serve food, we require restaurant-level certification and make funds available for representatives from these agencies to obtain nationally-recognized safe food handling certification.
We provide our food pantries with training geared specifically toward practical steps that they can take to maintain the cold chain and avoid cross contamination as they distribute perishable groceries to the families they serve.
We provide food safety training to all staff members who handle food or who supervise member agencies to ensure that they are cognizant of the standards that need to be in place to protect our food supply. Any staff who prepares food for nutrition education purposes; or who monitors an agency that cooks or serves food is required to obtain certification through Allegheny County Health Department. Staff who handle perishable food in cold storage receive training through our Food Safety & Nutrition Department.
We recognize that food safety practices stretch across all job descriptions. Our cross-functional food safety team is tasked with reviewing, verifying, and—where necessary—improving our systems to ensure that we are receiving, storing, repackaging, and distributing food as safely as possible. We periodically monitor our procedures and documentation to ensure that we are able to account for the distribution of our food in the event of a recall—and to quickly communicate recall information to our member agencies.
Our full time maintenance staff completes preventative maintenance on our equipment, facility, and grounds to prevent food safety problems before they occur. This includes safeguarding our refrigeration systems, vehicle fleet, and coordination of an Integrated Pest Management system.
Our entire staff is responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of our warehouse.
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank takes all food recalls seriously. We monitor all recall notices from the USDA and the FDA. Whenever a recall affects our region, we share the information internally so that we can monitor donated food for the item and ensure it is not on our inventory. When a recall affects a grocery chain in our area, we share the information with any agencies that pick up directly from that grocer.
When an item that we have on our inventory is recalled, we immediately block the item from our ordering system. We determine if there are orders in transit, and if so make arrangements to remove the item from them. We send recall notices to all of our agencies that received the recalled item, providing them with appropriate requirements on how to handle the food item in question, per the manufacturer’s instructions. We perform a physical audit of our stock to ensure that we are able to fully account for all recalled items.
Third Party Audits
We have received two training audits from AIB International and are using the results from these audits to guide our efforts and advance improvements where needed. We are working toward successful completion of a scored AIB Audit in 2015 and periodically thereafter.
(Signed) Lisa Scales, February 20, 2015