Regulatory Update

FTag of the Month: F812 Food Procurement, Store/Prepare/Sanitary

Polaris Group Profile
Polaris Group
September 14, 2023
September 13, 2023
Polaris Group Profile
Polaris Group
September 13, 2023

Facilities can avoid a F812 citation with proper food safety, sanitation practices, and documentation.

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According to mock survey results conducted by Polaris Group consultants from April to August 2023, FTag 812 Food Procurement, Store/Prepare/Serve-Sanitary is cited more frequently at an IJ Scope and Severity than any other FTag. Further, FTag 812 is in the top three for deficit practices cited at a F level Scope and Severity.

Surveyors cite an immediate jeopardy citation due to:

  1. Non-compliance
  2. A situation that is likely to create or cause serious injury, harm, impairment, or death to one or more residents.
  3. The need for immediate action to prevent the reoccurrence of serious harm, injury, impairment, or death.

IJ citations carry serious consequences – hefty fines, special focus monitoring by CMS, reduced 5 Star ratings, and negative impacts to your facility’s reputation.

How to ensure your facility is compliant with F812  

F812 concerns food safety and ensuring facilities have practices and procedures that prevent food borne illness.

Recommended practices as determined by the Department of Health and Human Services and CMS include:

  1. Meat products should not be left at room temperature to thaw.
  2. All food items in refrigerators and freezers must be labeled and dated.
  3. Uncooked meat, poultry, fish, and eggs should be stored separately from other foods.
  4. Hand washing facilities with soap and water should be kept separate from those used for food preparation.
  5. Staff practice appropriate hand hygiene and glove use when necessary and as indicated.
  6. Cracked or unpasteurized eggs should not be used in foods that are not fully cooked.
  7. Food is prepared, cooked, and stored under appropriate temperatures and with safe food handling techniques.
  8. Staff wear hair and beard restraints to prevent hair from contacting food.

Questions to determine if your facility is prepared for F812 compliance

Knowing and educating your staff will ensure your kitchen is survey-ready and that it achieves substantial compliance every day. These questions can help you determine if your facility has the necessary procedures in place to be compliant with F812:

  1. Are your refrigerator temperatures at or below 41°as verified by inside thermometers and are temperature logs completed daily?
  2. Are all foods in refrigerators and freezers covered, dated, and shelved to allow circulation?
  3. Are any dented cans returned to supplier or discarded per facility policy?
  4. Are dishes and utensils cleaned and stored under sanitary conditions (example: dish machine temperatures of >165°and sanitation concentrations are at proper ppm minimum)?
  5. Are there any signs of foods which have dried out, gotten freezer burn, or have a change in color that would impact palatability and nutritional value?
  6. Are all food items discarded on or before expiration dates?
  7. Do all staff know your facility policy for food storage, including leftovers as well as the policy for food storage of items brought in by family?
  8. Are hot foods held at 135°or higher on the steam table and are these temperatures recorded at each meal?
  9. Is there evidence of pests in the food storage, preparation, or service areas?
  10. Is there a chart visible and referenced by staff to ensure that internal temperatures of each kind of meat or fish are achieved?

Polaris Group consultants can work with your dietary team to provide necessary training, share audit tools and offer recommendations on how to manage a kitchen properly and efficiently so you do not have to worry that your kitchen practices would be cited at an Immediate Jeopardy level of non-compliance.

If you want assistance with identifying your kitchen’s opportunities for improvement, contact Polaris Group consultants for help. Our mock surveys will identify potential citations and our consultants will work with your teams to craft remediation plans and staff training to best prepare your facility.

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