Reducing Food Waste
Many operators have successfully transitioned menu offerings to accommodate an expanded take-out model, provide customers with curbside service and collaborate with delivery service providers. If you are considering the heart-wrenching decision to temporarily or permanently close, you may have questions about what to do with the food you have on hand that you can no longer serve to customers.
According to the CDC: “Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food.”
There are a number of steps you can take to reduce food waste and lessen the impact on the supply chain. Below is information on:
GUIDANCE FOR CLOSING A RESTAURANT
Please consider the following before closing your foodservice establishment:
When temporary closure is the right solution for you, read tips on how to do it right so you can disengage efficiently at minimal cost, and get back up and running quickly when folks are ready to go out to eat again. These tips are adapted from one created by the Arizona State Restaurant Association with the help of Darden Restaurants, 99 Restaurants, and 110 Grill.
Close your restaurant safely including unplugging empty refrigerators, freezers and walk-ins throughout the building. Leave the doors open. Lock alcohol in offices or cages and remove all trash from the building, including office trash cans. Be sure to line the empty cans with fresh liners to reduce fruit fly activity. Here is a sample closing checklist.
GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES FOR DONATING FOOD
Where possible, first consider providing excess food to your employees or employees of neighboring businesses.
Businesses that donate food, in good faith, are protected by the Good Samaritan Act, and are also eligible for a federal tax deduction (see Oregon Food Bank’s information on tax deductions). Work with your accountant or business manager for financial advice.
Continue to keep the health and safety of community members at the forefront of all decision making about what to do with excess food. Public health and safe food handling practices, particularly for vulnerable communities, is the highest priority. Maintaining social distancing guidance, following Oregon Health Authority guidance for employers, implementing the CDC guidelines for cleaning surfaces and hand hygiene and practicing proper food safety are the key standards that must be kept to ensure your food gets safely to community members.
Donations to Oregon Food Bank
Below is guidance for geographically specific parts of the state. To find your local food bank refer to the list of regional food banks at the bottom of this page: www.oregonfoodbank.org/our-work/partnerships/statewide-network. Oregon Food Bank is serving as the regional hub for food and supply donations in the Portland Metro area. Fill out this form if you would like to assist with a donation, service or supplies.
Portland Metro Area (NE Portland and Beaverton):
If you have food or other donations to share with your community please fill in this Oregon Food Bank form. Oregon Food Bank is serving as the regional hub for food and supply donations in the Portland Metro area through the COVID-19 response. They will work to review each donation against current capacity and resource constraints and will look for ways to connect donations with local hunger relief organizations.
Currently being accepted:
Questions? Please contact the Oregon Food Bank, 503-419-4169, email@example.com.
Other hunger relief organizations across Oregon
Statewide resources on donating excess food during COVID-19 crisis:
RESOURCES FOR RECYCLING COOKING OIL AND MEAT SCRAPS
GUIDANCE FOR COMPOSTING FOOD SCRAPS AND INEDIBLE FOOD
In some areas, it is possible to compost food scraps and inedible food. Please keep in mind that composting facilities can only accept food that is NOT packaged.
In the Portland metropolitan region (Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah counties), most businesses can separate food scraps from garbage and put them in separate containers for collection by their garbage haulers. Your local government can provide support to help your business set up or improve your program to separate food scraps for compost. Go to Food Waste Stops With Me to connect with your local government or call, the Metro Recycling Information Center (RIC), 503-234-3000.
A number of communities offer commercial composting pick up or have sites where food scraps can be dropped off. Please contact your local jurisdiction for details.
Food waste requirement implementation delayed in Portland
In 2018, Metro passed a regional policy requiring food scraps from certain businesses to be collected separately from garbage in a phased implementation set to begin on March 31, 2020. Because of the additional hardship during this time, the implementation start date has been delayed until September. The other tiered implementation dates will be reevaluated as the pandemic evolves. Read more about the change on Metro's website.