Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, sales from grocery delivery and pickup within the United States have surged. In August 2019, grocery and food delivery sales were recorded at 1.2 billion US dollars; however, by March of 2020, sales had increased by 233 percent. The most recent survey showed online grocery delivery sales had maintained a steady incline and reached 6.6 billion US dollars in April 2021. However, with this new mode of grocery delivery comes new consumer challenges, predominantly regarding food safety. Since its foundation in 1963, popular lamb distributor Superior Farms has prioritized food safety and has worked diligently to provide clients with safe, high-quality, sustainably raised American lamb. This commitment has been recognized by online media company Business Insider, who recently named Superior Farms one of the best places to purchase lamb in their recent article, “ The Best Places to Buy Beef, Pork, Poultry and More Online in 2021.” During this time of growing delivery popularity, Superior Farms hopes to provide tips for consumers to ensure a safe grocery delivery experience for all purchases.
Before Ordering Food Online
Before placing a food order, it is vital that all consumers first research the prospective company’s food safety standards. Reputable food delivery companies will outline their shipping practices within their website and provide customers will key details regarding shipping information such as shipping carrier, expected delivery dates, and contact information.
Consumers should always arrange for a delivery when they know they or a loved one will be at home. Food items should not be left outside for periods of time as delivery drop-off times may not be recorded correctly, leaving buyers limited information regarding how long the package was left in warm temperatures. On Superior Farms’ website, customers may reference Superior Farms’ “How We Ship” page, which provides a shipping chart to help customers determine when to expect their package delivery.
Food Delivery Arrival
When your food delivery arrives, it is crucial that you exam the box and packaging. All perishable food items such as meat, seafood, eggs, dairy, and poultry should arrive in a box that says “Keep Refrigerated ” or “Keep Frozen.” If the food items arrived in an unmarked box, they should be thrown away immediately, as they have not been kept cool during transit.
If an item arrived with the appropriate labeling, the inner contents should have insulated packaging and materials such as frozen gel packs and dry ice. Perishable food should always arrive frozen or still cool. Regardless of how food items are prepared (smoked, cured, vacuum-sealed, etc.), all items still must be kept cold.
Safe Food Handling
If a food package arrives in stable condition, consumers should immediately place the contents within their fridge or freezer, depending on how quickly they plan on preparing the food. Before preparing the food, in order to ensure no bacteria is transferred onto the food items, it is essential to wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and wash utensils, countertops, and cutting boards with soap and hot water. In order to further ensure there are no cross-contaminations, chefs are encouraged to keep raw meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood away from other foods and use separate cutting boards, utensils, and plates when preparing these ingredients.
When preparing Superior Farms Lamb, before serving, chefs should check the internal temperature to ensure the lamb has been thoroughly cooked. Today, experts recommend that whole lamb cuts be cooked to an internal temperature of not less than 140°F. While some sources may put this range of heat at close medium drones, updated guidelines would now place this in the medium-rare category. Cooking lamb to 140°F will still remain pink in the center, juicy, tender, and allow a full bouquet of flavor. All food leftovers should be refrigerated within two hours. According to food experts, cooked lamb can be stored for up to 3-5 days in the refrigerator and three months in the freezer.