Maintaining Food Safety While Cutting Food Waste

Like food safety being a major concern, food waste is also concern. The main sources of food waste in the food industry is at the production end. Within the food industry, waste occurs at every step — on the farm and with packers, processors, distributors, and retailers. Some of it is the result of economic forces, some of management problems, and some is caused simply by dumping products that are less than perfect in appearance. Several agencies are cooperatively working with food industry entities to identify ways of reducing food waste.

For consumers, much food waste results from a misunderstanding of what the various wordings on product date labels mean, along with uncertainty about storage of perishable foods. Confusion over date labelling accounts for an estimated 20 percent of consumer food waste.

Ways to Avoid Wasting Food

Be aware of how much food you throw away.

Don’t buy more food than can be used before it spoils.

Plan meals and use shopping lists. Think about what you are buying and when it will be eaten. Check the fridge and pantry to avoid buying what you already have.

Avoid impulse and bulk purchases, especially produce and dairy that have a limited shelf life. Promotions encouraging purchases of unusual or bulk products often result in consumers buying foods outside their typical needs or family preferences, and portions — potentially large portions — of these foods may end up in the trash.

Check the temperature setting of your fridge. Use a refrigerator thermometer to be sure the temperature is at 40° F or below to keep foods safe. The temperature of your freezer should be 0° F or below.

Avoid “overpacking:” Cold air must circulate around refrigerated foods to keep them properly chilled.

Wipe up spills immediately: It not only reduces the growth of Listeria bacteria (which can grow at refrigerator temperatures), cleaning up spills — especially drips from thawing meats — will help prevent “cross-contamination,” where bacteria from one food spread to another.

Keep it covered: Store refrigerated foods in covered containers or sealed storage bags, and check leftovers daily for spoilage.

Refrigerate peeled or cut produce for freshness and to keep them from going bad.

Use your freezer! Freezing is a great way to store most foods to keep them from going bad until you are ready to eat them.

Check your fridge often to keep track of what you have and what needs to be used. Eat or freeze items before you need to throw them away.

When eating out, become a more mindful eater. If you’re not terribly hungry, request smaller portions. Bring your leftovers home and refrigerate or freeze them within two hours.

To keep foods safe when entertaining, remember the 2-Hour Rule: don’t leave perishable foods out at room temperature for more than two hours, unless you’re keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold. If you’re eating outdoors and is a warm day, it is recommended that perishable foods shouldn’t be left out for more than one hour.

Bur remember… both food safety and avoiding food wastage are important and you as a business or an individual cannot compromise on food safety and ignore food wastage.

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