Our Commitment to Food Safety

food-saftey-header-image

Every week, we provide you, our home cooks, with fresh ingredients and recipes to enjoy delicious meals at home. We, too, serve these same Blue Apron meals to our families. Ensuring that our customers are receiving high quality, fresh ingredients that are safe to eat is and always will be our highest priority.  We have a comprehensive food safety plan in place which is designed to ensure that food safety controls are effectively applied at every step of our supply chain, from the farm to your doorstep.

Supplier Compliance

Food safety starts at the source. All of our farmers and suppliers undergo a comprehensive food safety assessment prior to working with us to ensure that they meet our food safety requirements. Our vendors are also subject to regular food safety assessments by our food safety experts and third-party auditor.

FDA-Regulated Facilities

Our fulfillment centers are regulated by the FDA as well as applicable state and local government agencies. We have a rigorous food safety program at our fulfillment centers across the country to ensure the safety and quality of our ingredients.

Employee Training and Education

Every Blue Apron employee who handles food in any manner undergoes our comprehensive food safety training program, in compliance with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Good Manufacturing Practice (GMPs) requirements.

Temperature-Controlled Transit

We carefully pack our boxes with insulated thermal liners and refrigerants to maintain appropriate temperatures during transit and delivery, and our team of packaging and food safety experts regularly assess the efficacy of our packaging, which we modify as needed. For example, we alter the size or quantity of refrigerants, or use thermal liners with varying levels of insulation, based on the season, weather conditions, box contents, and delivery destination.  Our Food Safety and Quality Assurance teams also conduct regular audits using temperature probes in simulated deliveries in temperature chambers, to ensure all of our ingredients arrive at the appropriate temperatures, according to the USDA’s guidance on safe temperature zones.

Point of Delivery

We advise our customers to place all perishable items in the refrigerator immediately upon delivery, understanding that they are receiving temperature-sensitive ingredients. Depending on the season and temperature in a customer’s geographic area at the time of delivery, advance planning may be needed to ensure immediate and proper storage of ingredients prior to consumption. If anything in your box is missing or if you are unsatisfied with the quality of one of your ingredients, we’ll make it right with our Freshness Guarantee program.

Safe Food Handling

Once you receive your Blue Apron box, it’s critical that you practice the safe storage and handling of ingredients to maintain freshness and quality, and avoid any risk of food-borne illness.

Food storage

food-safety-image-option-1

To ensure optimal freshness, we advise that you unpack your ingredients into your fridge as soon as possible once they arrive and follow USDA instructions on refrigeration and food safety.

food safety icon_0005_Layer Comp 6

Cheese, Dairy, Eggs

Store in the refrigerator in the packaging provided. Remove just before using. The ideal refrigerator temperature is 35°F.

food safety icon_0000_Layer Comp 1

Meat and Poultry

Store in the refrigerator.

  • Cuts of beef, lamb and pork can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Ground meat can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • Chicken can be stored in refrigerator for up to 2 days.

If you can’t cook your meat or poultry within these timeframes, you can store them in your freezer and thaw before cooking.

food safety icon_0001_Layer Comp 2

Seafood

Store in the refrigerator.

Fish and shellfish can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

If you can’t cook your seafood within these timeframes, you can store them in your freezer and thaw before cooking.

food safety icon_0007_Layer Comp 8

Bread

Check the packaging to determine which bread items are best stored in the fridge.

food safety icon_0003_Layer Comp 4

Pasta and Grains

Dried pasta and grains go in a cool, dry place. Refrigerated pasta goes straight into the refrigerator.

Everything should be kept in its packaging until ready to use.

food safety icon_0008_Layer Comp 9

Knick Knacks

Refrigerate knick knack bags until ready to use.

food safety icon_0006_Layer Comp 7

Fresh Produce and Fruit

Generally, we recommend storing all fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator, separate from raw meat, poultry and seafood.

There are a few exceptions to the refrigerator produce rule:

  • Cucumbers:  If you will be eating your cucumbers in 1 to 2 days, leave them on the counter. Any more than that and they may spoil at room temperature, so stick them in the fridge to preserve their crunch–if not their best-ever flavor.
  • Basil:  To preserve your basil at room temperature, store like a bouquet of flowers: Fill a glass, jug, or vase with water, then “plant” the basil in it. You might want to trim the bottom every few days. Basil can keep close to a week stored like this.
  • Blueberries, peaches & other sweet fruit: If you want to enjoy blueberries or peaches at their sweet prime, you’ll do best not to refrigerate them. If you have more than you can eat in a day or two, you’ll want to stow them in the fridge in any case.
  • Unripe avocados: If you’re starting out with an avocado that’s hard, leave it on the counter until it’s soft and ripe. (Here’s how to tell if your avocado is ripe.) Once it’s softened, you can slow down the ripening by transferring the fruit from the table to the fridge.
  • Tomatoes: The optimal temperature for tomato storage is 60°F to 65°F, so pile them in a bowl and leave them on the countertop. Make sure to thoroughly wash and dry your tomatoes before use!
  • Onions: Onions keep best in a cool, dry place with plenty of ventilation. Place them in a basket on the table or countertop, and set it in a spot that doesn’t get a ton of direct sunlight. Stored that way, onions should last for a while–likely more than a month.

Freezing and thawing

food-safety-image-option-2

Make sure to safely thaw any frozen meat, poultry, or seafood before cooking.  See below for the three safe ways to thaw meat, poultry, fish and shellfish once frozen according to the USDA. Perishable foods should be kept refrigerated and never be thawed on the counter or in hot water.

In the refrigerator: easiest and safest option

  • Plan ahead and thaw in the refrigerator (keeping the product in its sealed packaging) for about 1 day before using.
  • After thawing in the refrigerator, items such as ground meat, stew meat, poultry and seafood should remain safe and good quality for an additional 1-2 days before cooking.
  • Red meat cuts (beef, pork or lamb roasts, chops and steaks) should remain safe and good quality for 3-5 days.
  • Food thawed in the refrigerator can be refrozen without cooking, although there may be a loss of quality.

In cold water: quicker option, only to be used if cooking immediately afterwards

  • Place food in a leak proof plastic bag and immerse it in cold water. (If the bag leaks, bacteria from the air or surrounding environment could be introduced into the food. Tissues can also absorb water like a sponge, resulting in a watery product.)
  • Check the water frequently to be sure it stays cold.
  • Change the water every 30 minutes.
  • After thawing, cook immediately.  Uncooked product cannot be refrozen.

In the microwave: only to be used if cooking immediately afterwards

  • Microwave on the “defrost” setting and stop the defrost cycle while the meat, poultry or seafood is still icy but pliable.
  • After thawing, cook immediately. Some areas of the food may become warm and begin to cook during microwaving. Uncooked product cannot be refrozen.

Food Handling and Cooking

food-safety-image-option-10

To ensure safe food handling and cooking, follow the USDA’s safe-handling steps below:

1. Clean

Wash hands and surfaces (cutting boards, utensils, counter tops, etc.) with hot soapy water before preparing food. Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds. Scrub firm produce with a clean produce brush. Dry all produce with a clean kitchen/paper towel before cooking. Clean the lids of canned goods before opening.

2. Separate

Raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs must be kept separate from other foods. To avoid cross-contamination, prep all other ingredients first.  Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.

Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs unless the plate has been washed in hot, soapy water.

3. Cook

Cook foods to the minimum safe internal temperature to destroy any harmful bacteria that could make you sick. Cook all food to these minimum internal temperatures as measured with a food thermometer:

chart

*All meat can contain bacteria that can cause illness if not destroyed by proper cooking, and some meats are riskier than others. Beef, especially ground beef, can cause particularly severe consequences if not properly cooked.

Chart from USDA, also available here.

Additional Resources:

If you ever have any questions about the safe handling of your food, please email us at contact@blueapron.com.

© Blue Apron, LLC 2017 Privacy Terms