Food Safety

Reducing Food Waste

Reducing food waste in Child Nutrition Programs is a high priority for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). They have created an infographic on what schools can do today to decrease the amount of food that goes uneaten.

Strategies to Reduce Food Waste in School Nutrition Programs (No Kid Hungry)

This resource highlights some of the most effective strategies to help reduce, recover and recycle food waste from school meals. Many of these strategies can also apply to other child nutrition programs.

Food Safety for Food Donations (Minnesota Department of Health)

Any program food not consumed may be donated to eligible local food banks or charitable organizations, provided they follow all state and local health and sanitation codes. This document outlines the requirements for food donations in Minnesota.

Share Table Resources:

A common method used by school foodservice operations to reduce food waste is to utilize a share table in the cafeteria. Share tables are stations where children may return whole food or beverage items they choose not to eat. These food and beverage items are then available to other children who may want additional servings.

Share Table Handout: This handout provides information for school food authorities who utilize share tables in their schools, including food safety requirements and best practices.

Share Table SOP: Sample Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for schools who have a share table. This SOP should be included in the school’s Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Food Safety Plan.

Share Table Temperature Log: Sample log to record temperatures of potentially hazardous foods that are placed on a share table. The temperature of potentially hazardous foods must be monitored if the school intends on redistributing the items at the next meal service; and it must be maintained at or below 41°F in order to be acceptable for redistribution.

Share Table Recovery Log: Sample log to record food items recovered on a share table. A log should be maintained to ensure that food items are not redistributed more than one time.

Share Tables in School Nutrition (16 minutes): This video provides an overview of the use of share tables in School Nutrition Programs as a Method to reduce waste.