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Food waste: health ministry tips for hospitals, businesses and schools

spreco-alimentare-

From the Ministry of Health come some important guidelines and advice to avoid food waste (excessive according to the latest data) that is created in institutions such as schools and hospitals but also in medium to large companies that provide a canteen for their workers. The estimates speak for themselves, and they are very concerned. In fact, according to some data today, from the estimates of Caritas and Banco Alimentare (a nonprofit foundation that promotes the recovery of food surpluses and their redistribution to charitable facilities) about 210,000 tons of surpluses are produced in organized food service every year. This is an incredibly high amount of wasted food, especially considering that of this huge amount only 12 percent is recovered and reused for those who need it most.

Food waste, as mentioned above, affects not only businesses but also hospitals, where patient nutrition is of even greater importance, and school cafeterias. What, then, is the Ministry of Health’s advice for dealing with this serious problem and thus recovering the surplus that builds up meal after meal? Let us analyze them according to the area concerned.

For hospitals

Among the recommended solutions to avoid waste in hospital cafeterias, the Ministry of Health suggests giving patients the opportunity to choose their favorite meal from a varied menu made especially for them. In fact, let us not forget that some patients, due to determined diseases they suffer from, can only consume specific foods at the expense of others. However, this is without prejudice to the fact that the patient can still choose the food he or she likes best from a list of dishes granted to him or her. It is also advisable to avoid large portions, to avoid excess, and in the case of malnourished patients to provide fortified meals.

For the school

Food waste is also not scarce on the school lunch front. According to the ministry, in addition to creating an anti-waste network that includes schools, families and institutions, so as to educate pupils in a lifestyle that avoids food waste, it would be appropriate to offer children a second ration of fruit to be added to what is normally given at lunch and to use fruit, bread and puddings for the next day’s snack. It is also important to make school cafeterias, which are too often disorganized, too large, noisy and poorly lit, more welcoming.

For companies

Finally, there is no shortage of advice for companies, whether medium or large, that have an in-house canteen for their workers’ meals. For companies we are talking about 2-3% of food surpluses. According to the ministry, there is a need for chefs and nutritionists to work side by side to ensure menus are varied and nutritionally balanced but also very palatable to workers.

In general, however, more promotion should be given to those foods known as “second life menus,” i.e., all those composed of ingredients that can be easily reused to create new tasty dishes that meet consumer preferences. Finally, in any situation, it is necessary to arrange for the distribution of surpluses to be given to charities and to recycle material that can no longer be used for food.

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