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These are the 4 acceptable reasons to waste food in professional kitchens

Today we will look into some scenarios when food might have to go to the bin. So, let’s see what are the acceptable reasons to waste food in professional kitchens.


But before we begin, we must define what ‘food’ is:


Food is all the edible parts of a product that are suitable and safe for human consumption and contain nutritional value.


So, that’s pretty much everything that you have in your restaurant’s kitchen right now.


Here are the 4 acceptable reasons to waste food in professional kitchens:


1.)  The safety of the food was compromised


There are multiple ways how the safety of the prepared or raw product can be compromised, mostly related to storage. A few examples are: cooked rice that was kept warm for an extended period of time, moldy fruit and vegetables, improperly frozen or improperly defrosted products, cross-contaminated products, incorrectly stored items or spoilage.


If you wouldn’t eat it, then no one else should. If you have to think twice about whether it’s suitable for consumption, then it’s better to get rid of that food.


Look at what mistakes were made and try to avoid them the next time. Every bit of food in the bin is a learning experience.


2.)  Raw produce is non-organic and contains chemicals


I don’t recommend the consumption of outer layers of conventional fruits and vegetables with thick skin, which are directly sprayed with chemicals. Simply put, don’t use the peels of fruits like banana, pineapple, mango or citruses unless the fruit is organic.


As the skin is thick, it is more likely to soak in any chemicals used, especially in the case of citruses with porous skin. The best place for those peels is in the bin/compost.


What about other produce? It’s highly debatable and I won’t be digging into it in this article, but in general, eating the peels of conventional produce that has thin skin should not do any more harm than eating the flesh of the produce, as the chemicals used are likely to seep through the entire product, so wasting the peels won’t significantly reduce the risk of consuming chemicals.


The best way to avoid this type of waste is to purchase organic produce whenever possible.


3.)Flavour and nutrition have been extracted from the product, and/or further up-cycling would not create a valuable product for your business


Bones from the bone broth will eventually end up in the bin. Pineapple skin from making pineapple stock will eventually end up in the bin. You have extracted the flavour and nutrition from the fibrous trimmings of vegetables, and you are unable to further up-cycle the product in a way that would add value to the dishes you are serving.


After exploring all the viable options, those products might end up in the bin, and that’s okay.


4.) You have already up-cycled the majority of your by-products


You have hit your limit. 95% of the by-products have been up-cycled, and there is this ~5% that you have a hard time dealing with.


Pat yourself on the back for doing a great job and let that 5% go to waste if you feel like it will help preserve your sanity. Let’s focus on doing as much as we can rather than losing our minds over a tiny amount of food in the bin.


That’s it for today. Notice that I don’t list ‘reasons’ such as ‘We don’t have time to focus on this’ as that’s an invalid reason. Time is created based on priorities.


And if you want to know how time can be created and food costs be reduced, then join my online food waste training for chefs.


Until next time,


Vojtech Vegh - Zero-Waste Plant-Based Chef, Author, The Food Waste Guide For Chefs™



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