As you implement waste reduction practices in your restaurant, are you aware of how these changes may be impacting your food safety culture and vice versa? Your food safety and waste reduction practices affect each other – improving one practice may enhance (or require you to change your approach to) the other. According to Adam Johnson, vice president and general manager for Global Food Retail Services at Ecolab, making a commitment to donate surplus food may demand that you fine-tune your protocol regarding the proper preparation, storage, transportation and serving of your food, for instance. Further, introducing compost bins to prevent waste from going to landfills will require you to monitor the capacity of those bins so they don’t overflow and to clean and sanitize them regularly to avoid attracting pests. Finally, improving your food safety program will make you more effective at monitoring food storage temperatures, appliance functionality, supplier performance and more – all of which helps you reduce the volume of food you have to discard.
Have pests become a problem for you this summer? Take extra care with garbage disposal to avoid becoming a haven for them (or encouraging them to make a longer-term home with you once the weather starts cooling). Statefoodsafety.com suggests reminding staff to avoid leaving garbage in places or for long periods where pests can access them easily. That means taking full trash bags to the dumpster immediately — not leaving them in and around your establishment — and emptying bins before they overflow. Use strong plastic liners, clean bins regularly so there are no spills or crumbs left to attract pests, and keep garbage bin and dumpster lids closed securely when not disposing of garbage.