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Solutions: A Blog for Health Care Professionals

Marci Pederson, RN, BSN, Nurse Educator/Consultant, Avera Education & Staffing Solutions

F371—Food Procurement

South Dakota long term care facilities had 38 deficiencies cited for F371 in 2011. It ranked number 3 in the top twenty deficiencies for long-term care facilities in South Dakota. In 2010 and 2009, 36 deficiencies were cited in each year with a rank of 3rd and 4th respectively. Perhaps your facility was one of the facilities receiving a deficiency in dietary services. If so, be sure to read this update, and take special note of the last paragraph in this update. The regulation F371 states,         
“(Rev. 48; Issued:  06-12-09; Effective/Implementation date:  06-12-09)
§483.35(i) - Sanitary Conditions
The facility must –
§483.35(i)(1) -  Procure food from sources approved or considered satisfactory by Federal, State, or local authorities; and
§483.35(i)(2) Store, prepare, distribute, and serve food under sanitary conditions.”

The main intent of the regulation is to prevent food-borne illness in health care facilities. Elderly patients or residents risk serious complications from food-borne illness as a result of their compromised health status. Some operational steps that are critical to food-borne infection control in facilities are proper thawing, cooking, cooling, holding, reheating of foods and employee hygienic practices.

Here are a few helpful tips for best practices in employee hygiene: 

  • Hand-washing, gloves, and anti-microbial gel – Hand hygiene in the food preparation area must be completed by hand-washing with hot running water, soap (regular or anti-microbial) disposable towels and/or heat/air drying methods.  Anti-microbial gel cannot be used in place of proper hand washing techniques in the food preparation area.
  • Dietary staff must wear hair restraints including hair net, hat, and/or beard restraint to prevent their hair from contacting exposed food.
  • Dietary staff’s finger nails must be neat and clean.Jewelry must be kept to a minimum since jewelry can harbor microorganisms.  When the Glo-germ demonstration is used, the harboring of microorganisms by jewelry is very evident.
  • Always remember “Dirty to clean, wash hands in between.”

If your facility would like to improve regulatory compliance in dietary services, contact Avera Education & Staffing Solutions at (605) 668-8475 and ask about our four-part program focused on F371-Sanitary Conditions and the Food Service Code to help train your dietary staff in food services best practices.

Marci Pederson, RN, BSN

As a former health facilities senior surveyor, Marci served a variety of health care facilities. Her experience includes nursing education, medical/surgical nursing, psychiatric nursing, infection control, utilization review and quality assurance.

 Have a question for Marci? A topic idea for her next column? Need more information on having a mock survey at your facility? Send her an email at