During an initial survey tour through the kitchen, a surveyor observed multiple open items in the freezer that did not have expiration dates noted. The director told the surveyor she/he believed there was no need to put an expiration date on freezer items because the freezing process stops everything from growing. She/He also stated the staff just knew when items expired after they were removed from the freezer and that as a rule, food was only kept for at most a week after it was opened. They did not see the issue with expiration dates as the food was utilized so quickly in their kitchen.
Crandall has food storage charts for the refrigerator, freezer, and dry storage. These charts have recommended shelf life and storage times for opened and unopened food items. The corrective action steps that were made to address and remedy this issue included extensive training with the director and dining, nursing, and activities staff as well as implementation of the storage charts posted outside of each of the respective storage areas. The proper utilization of these charts along with correct dating and labeling practices is covered during the onboarding process for all staff and documented on the employee’s competency checklists.