Waste management is a crucial part to running a successful facility. Without proper management, pests, especially rodents, cockroaches, and flies, will be attracted to your facility. Pests, otherwise known as vectors, can carry and transmit harmful pathogens into your facility. Instead of trying to repair the damage that could be done by a pest infestation, it is best to prevent the problem by properly managing the waste your facility produces. Proper and diligent waste management can also help reduce the amount of waste your facility produces as well as reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
Waste receptacles that are overflowing are an invitation to pests. It is a good idea to remove the garbage before it overflows to deter pests from your establishment. This means that the garbage will most likely be taken out more than once a day, especially in food preparation areas. In addition, any waste receptacles that are outside or not in use should have a tight-fitting lid to keep pests from getting into the garbage cans.
Always use a plastic liner for your waste. Not only is it easier to remove the waste, but it keeps garbage cans cleaner. Waste receptacles, however, should still be washed out regularly. They should be cleaned at least once a week or as often as needed. When washing them, be sure to clean them away from any food or food preparation areas. This will reduce the risk of contamination.
Dumpsters or other waste storage areas don’t need a plastic liner or to be cleaned out regularly, but they should be treated the same way you would a garbage can. They should never be overflowing with garbage or have waste placed on the outside. The outside should be cleaned often to remove any drips or pathogens that could be growing. In addition, dumpsters should have a tight-fitting lid that is on when the dumpster is not in use. This will help keep pests away so they don’t infest your garbage or establishment.
Waste storage containers or dumpsters should be stored on a non-absorbent material, like concrete or asphalt. This will keep any drips and spills from seeping into the ground and creating an environment for pathogens to grow.
You can reduce the amount of waste that your restaurant produces by following first in, first out (FIFO) and date-marking procedures. Date-marking allows you to see when foods are spoiled and should be discarded. FIFO allows you to organize and use older foods first, as long as they are not past the expiration date. If you follow these procedures, you will produce less food waste in your establishment, which will save you money and time.
Garbage that accumulates in your establishment poses other risks to food safety if it isn’t properly managed. In addition to attracting pests, cross-contamination can also occur if garbage isn’t managed properly. Old garbage, such as meat scraps and its packaging, are likely to harbor dangerous pathogens and could contaminate the food you are preparing. Control this risk by discarding any waste away from food and food preparation areas.
After you have dealt with any garbage, you should always wash your hands. This would include if you have taken out the garbage or if you have just finished cleaning the garbage cans or dumpsters. If you are going to prepare food after handling garbage, you should wash your hands and put on a new pair of gloves.
Make waste management an important part of your food safety routine to help reduce the risk of pests, contamination, and food waste.
Food Safety Reminder
Pests and rodents feed on crumbs and waste. Always maintain a sanitary environment by emptying garbage cans and dumpsters regularly.