A lot of this food waste, which we can define as the disposing of wholesome, edible food, occurs in schools throughout the country as well as on college and corporate campuses.
Fortunately, according to Edward Sharek with DayMark Safety Systems, a leading manufacturer of food labeling systems to help enhance food safety and reduce food waste, there are steps school districts and administrators can take to help reduce this waste—and with it, food and operating costs.
Among the steps Sharek suggests are the following:
Form a food waste prevention team. This would include administrators, food service staff, as well as students at schools and universities.
Establish a benchmark. Many schools and universities have no idea how much food is wasted or tossed from their food service facilities each year. This is important information. It gives administrators an idea as to how much this is costing them and a starting point to determine future waste reduction practices.
Connect with food waste reduction networks. Organizations such as the Campus Kitchen Project, the Food Recovery Network, the Post Landfill Action Network (PLAN), provide support, know-how and direction when it comes to finding ways to reduce food waste.
Set goals and develop a strategy. Setting food waste reduction goals is a process and may move slowly. However, many administrators find that once the steps and strategies are in place, food waste reductions increase quickly.
Take the easy steps first. Some administrators have found that just eliminating food trays (people eat only what they can carry in their hands) helps reduce the amount of food ending up in the trash can.. Another easy step is to add posters and signs urging people to become much more conscious of the food waste problem in this country.
Label everything. Food labeling terminal systems are a fast, accurate, and efficient way to specify “best if used by” dates on food items. This helps food service workers ensure that food items are used by those dates, eliminating waste. They can also be used to label grab-and-go food products to help market those items and reduce food waste.
“The team should regularly follow up on the progress they are making,” adds Sharek. “Reducing food waste is a journey, and some steps may need more time and attention than others along the way.”
Sidebar should you wish to use.
The main causes of food waste in the U.S. are the following:
- People overestimating how much they can eat usually at a buffet
- Over preparing the amount of food needed for a buffet
- Food that is past the use date
- Food dates that cause consumer confusion
- Poorly prepared food
- Misjudging of the quality of food based on smell or appearance
- Change of plans
About DayMark® Safety Systems
Founded in 1989, DayMark Safety Systems is the Complete Safety Source™, the premier expert and provider of solutions and savings for food safety, personal safety, facility safety and education & training. From food safety labels and safety equipment and supplies, such as first aid cabinets and protective gloves, to online certification training, DayMark offers safety and protection for every aspect of foodservice operations—helping people to be safer every day.
For more information or to order a free catalog, please call: locally 419-353-2458, worldwide 1-800-847-0101 or visit www.daymarksafety.com.
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