Caterers: Your Responsibilities with Food and Cooking Oil Waste

As a caterer, food manufacturer, restaurants, cafe or takeaway owner, you must adhere to certain rules and regulations in regards to food waste, food leftovers and waste cooking oil from your kitchens.

Knowing the rules can help you avoid hefty penalties for handling your food waste and used oils incorrectly, but it can also help you to operate your business in a more environmentally friendly way. Many of the regulations in place have been designed to limit the environmental impact of food waste, contamination and pollution.

Not only that, but disposing of your leftover food and waste cooking oil incorrectly, such as pouring it down the drains, can lead to issues in your premises. Oil poured into drains can build up over time, blocking waterways, slowing drainage and creating bad smells and pest problems.

As a business owner, understanding the rules and regulations and working out what applies to you can be tricky. That’s why the team at Cater Oils have answered some of the most common questions regarding your responsibilities with food and cooking oil waste below. Read on to find out more…

Catering Van

Can I Throw Food Away?

Yes – but you must throw away food in the right way.

All types of food waste (and other types of rubbish) should be removed from kitchens, eating areas and other food storage or preparation areas as quickly as possible. Food wasate should never be left to build up as it may present an environmental health issue as it will quickly begin to rot, and could attract flies or rodents.

However, your food waste and used cooking oils should not be thrown into normal open bins. It should be placed in sealed containers to prevent spills or leaks. Containers will only be approved for food waste if they are strong and unlikely to break, are easy to keep clean, can be effectively disinfected, and must not present a risk of contamination or cross contamination to fresh foods, food preparation or eating areas.

Check with your local authority to find out what type of containers or food waste systems are acceptable in your area.

Where Should I Store My Food Waste?

As a catering or food production business, you should have sufficient facilities and space to store waste food, rubbish and waste cooking oils appropriately. This storage space should be hygienic and properly managed to ensure it remains clean and does not attract pests.

Make sure any storage space is self-contained, away from food preparation areas and can be easily cleaned down and disinfected.

Another consideration you must make is the environmental impact of your waste. The disposal of different foods and waste are controlled by different legislation. Again, you should contact your local authority to find how to dispose of your food waste in an approved, environmentally-friendly and legal way.

Do I have to Throw Away Leftover Food?

No – not all leftover food has to be thrown away. If it can be reused safely, it will reduce your food waste meaning you’ll be operating in a more environmentally-friendly way.

Of course, food that has been partially eaten or leftover from meals must be thrown away properly. But if you have cooked or prepared more than is necessary, and it hasn’t been served, you may be able to safely store and reuse it later.

Leftovers should be cooled to room temperature, covered or placed in containers, and then refrigerated within a couple of hours of preparation. All food should be used or frozen within 2 days, unless it contains rice, and then it should be eaten within 1 day of preparation. If it is not used within the time limits, it must be thrown away safely and in line with the applicable rules.

Can I Throw or Pour Away Waste Cooking Oil?

No – the disposal of waste cooking oil is strictly regulated. Waste oil should never be poured into drains, and it should be carefully disposed of in line with the regulations. In some areas, catering or food manufacturing businesses must even have grease traps installed to collect any grease, fat or oil residue that may accidentally enter the drainage system.

Waste oil should not be allowed to enter the drainage system because it can cause blockages, and pollution and if you place it in your usual food waste or rubbish bins, your waste contractor should refuse to take it.

Some businesses produce large amounts of waste cooking oil, such as takeaway shops or chip shops that deep fry food, but even if you only produce small amounts of waste oil, the same rules apply.

The oil must be stored on your premises in suitable containers to ensure no accidental spillages, and then it must be collected, transported and disposed of by an authorised waste oil collection company.

Properly authorised and registered waste oil collectors will take the oil to licensed recovery sites to be processed and reused in a number of ways, including for use as biodiesel, an alternative to fossil fuel.

Can Waste Cooking Oil be Used as Animal Feed?

No. Previously, waste cooking oil may have been used in the production of animal feed. However there is now legislation in place to stop this practice in order to safeguard animal health.

Avoid any misuse of your used cooking oil by contacting a professional and reputable cooking oil collection service.

Cater Oils offer fully licensed and completely free waste oil collections for catering and food manufacturing customers. All the waste oil we collect is disposed of properly and processed to make it ready for re-use as biofuel.

We work within all relevant regulations, providing you with the required receipts to evidence that your waste cooking oil has been collected and processed in a legal and environmentally friendly way.

We can even provide the containers you need to securely store your waste oil while you wait for us to collect it. Contact us today to discuss our waste oil management services.

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