Nutrition and Food Preparation

As many operators of Assisted Living Facilities are aware, the culinary program can be the bane of your existence. Nutrition and Food or lack thereof is one of the most common complaints from residents and families. While the facility may not be considered a ‘4 star Michelin restaurant’ you can rest assured following the following regulations, provided by the Georgia Department of Community Health, will keep you in the clear for any potential issues with state surveyors:

111-8-63-.21 Nutrition and Food Preparation

(1) Regularly Scheduled Meals. The assisted living community must provide a minimum of three regularly scheduled well-balanced meals per day seven days a week which meet the nutritional needs of residents and must provide therapeutic diets as ordered by the residents’ healthcare providers for residents that require special diets. There must be no more than fourteen hours elapsing between the scheduled evening and morning meals.

(2) Nutritious Meals. Meals must meet the general requirements for nutrition adjusted for age, sex, and activity, currently found in the Recommended Daily Diet Allowances, Food and Nutrition Board, National Academy of Sciences.

(3) Snacks. Food for at least one Nutrition snack must be available and offered each day in addition to the regularly scheduled meals. Snacks are not considered to be meals for the purposes of calculating the time between meals.

(4) Wholesome Food. Food received or used in an assisted living community must be clean, wholesome, free from spoilage, adulteration, and misbranding, and safe for human consumption.

(5) Proper Handling of Food. All foods while being stored, prepared, and served must be protected from spoilage and contamination and be safe for human consumption. At a minimum to protect from spoilage and contamination, the assisted living community must do all of the following:

(a) Store perishable foods, such as but not limited to meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, juices at temperatures that will minimize spoilage, i.e. at or below 41 degrees F.

(b) Thaw frozen foods properly, i.e. in the refrigerator or under cold running water with an unplugged sink.

(c) Provide hot and cold running water and sanitizing agents and ensure that they are used appropriately in the kitchen to clean and sanitize food, hands and utensils as required for safe food preparation.

(d) Prevent cross-contamination of foods via hands, cutting boards, or utensils during preparation.

(e) Ensure that hot foods leave the kitchen (pot, steam table, etc.) for serving at or above 140 degrees F. and that cold foods leave the kitchen for serving at or below 41 degrees F.

(6) Duties of Food Service Manager. The person designated by the assisted living community as being responsible for managing the preparation of meals for the residents must enforce safe food handling practices that address basic food safety, hygiene, cross-contamination, time and temperature requirements, and sanitation with staff and residents.

(7) Emergency Food Supply. A 3-day supply of nonperishable dry or canned foods and water must be on hand at all times in the assisted living community for emergency use. The quantity of food required to be stored must be based on the usual resident census. The food must be kept in sealed containers that are labeled and dated. The food must be rotated in accordance with a shelf life to ensure safety and palatability. Water sufficient for drinking and food preparation must also be stored.

(8) Properly Furnished Food Areas. Kitchen and dining areas must be properly equipped with appropriate cabinets, drawers, holders, and shelves or racks for storage of necessary equipment and utensils. These rooms must be kept clean and disinfected at least daily unless more frequent sanitization is required to prevent the spread of infection or foodborne illnesses.

(9) Food Service Permit Required. An assisted living community must either possess a valid food service permit issued through the authority of the Department of Public Health pursuant to Chapter 290-5-14 or a copy of the valid food service permit of the caterer’ who provides meals to the community.

(10) Menu Requirements. Menus to be served in assisted living residences must be dated and planned at least one week in advance for both regular and therapeutic diets. Residents must be encouraged to participate in menu planning. Planned menus must be conspicuously posted or easily available to residents. Regular and therapeutic menus as served, with substitutions noted before the meal is served, must be kept on file in the assisted living community for 30 days.

(11) Food Safety Reports. The assisted living community must retain copies of food safety inspection reports required by law which were issued during the year preceding the most recent inspection. The most recent food service inspection report must be posted in the assisted living community.

(12) Catered Food Service. When the assisted living community uses a catered food service (food service establishment), the assisted living community must ensure that the service is properly licensed, provides meals in accordance with these rules, has a satisfactory record of compliance with food safety requirements and properly transports and stores food at the time of delivery to maintain food safety.

(13) Catering Records. An assisted living community utilizing a catered food service must maintain copies of the current contract between the assisted living community and the foodservice establishment agreeing to provide food service in the assisted living community, the certificate or license authorizing the operation of the food service establishment issued by the county health agency and the most recent food safety inspection reports.

Top 3 Takeaways:

  1. (1) Regularly Scheduled Meals. The assisted living community must provide a minimum of three regularly scheduled well-balanced meals per day seven days a week which meet the nutritional needs of residents and must provide therapeutic diets as ordered by the residents’ healthcare providers for residents that require special diets. There must be no more than fourteen hours elapsing between the scheduled evening and morning meals.

(3) Snacks. Food for at least one nutritious snack must be available and offered each day in addition to the regularly scheduled meals. Snacks are not considered to be meals for the purposes of calculating the time between meals.

You must be serving 3 square meals a day at consistent dining times that do not eclipse a period of 14 hours between dinner and breakfast as well as having snacks available for residents (whether scheduled or readily available).

  1. (5) Proper Handling of Food. All foods while being stored, prepared, and served must be protected from spoilage and contamination and be safe for human consumption. At a minimum to protect from spoilage and contamination, the assisted living community must do all of the following: A-E

These are basic health department guidelines and must be followed to ensure the wellbeing of residents. Many potential life-threatening illnesses are derived from improper food handling.

 

  1. (7) Emergency Food Supply. A 3-day supply of nonperishable dry or canned foods and water must be on hand at all times in the assisted living community for emergency use. The quantity of food required to be stored must be based on the usual resident census. The food must be kept in sealed containers that are labeled and dated. The food must be rotated in accordance with a shelf life to ensure safety and palatability. Water sufficient for drinking and food preparation must also be stored.

As discussed in previous articles related to emergency planning– you must ensure you are planning ahead and have enough food and water on hand for a minimum of 3 days. This should include calculations for the maximum number of residents you are licensed to care for. You never know when disaster can happen and do not want to be left in a situation where you are not able to procure food for your residents.

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