What must food handlers do before taking out the garbage

What must food handlers do before taking out the garbage

Proper garbage disposal is a critical aspect of maintaining a safe and hygienic food-handling environment. Food handlers play a vital role in preventing contamination and ensuring the well-being of customers and staff. In this blog post, we will outline the essential steps that food handlers must follow before taking out the garbage.


who is a food handler?

A food handler is an individual who works in an environment where food is prepared, served, or handled. They can be found in various settings such as restaurants, cafes, catering companies, food trucks, schools, hospitals, and other food service establishments.

Food handlers have direct contact with food during its preparation, cooking, storage, or serving stages. Their responsibilities may include tasks like food preparation, cooking, assembly, packaging, serving, and cleaning. They play a crucial role in maintaining food safety and ensuring that the food served to customers is safe to consume.

Food handlers are expected to follow proper hygiene practices, adhere to food safety regulations, and be knowledgeable about potential food hazards. They often receive training on topics such as personal hygiene, safe food handling techniques, allergen management, temperature control, and sanitation.

The role of a food handler is essential in preventing food borne illnesses and maintaining high standards of food safety. By following proper procedures, food handlers contribute to protecting public health and ensuring the well-being of consumers. Below are the necessary things a food handler must do before taking out the garbage:


Understanding the Risks

Improper garbage handling poses various risks, including the potential for food contamination. When food waste mixes with other types of waste, it creates an environment conducive to bacterial growth and cross-contamination. Bacteria can multiply quickly, leading to food borne illnesses when food is consumed.

To minimize these risks, it is crucial to follow proper garbage handling procedures. By doing so, food handlers help protect public health and maintain the integrity of the food they serve.



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Preparing the Garbage

The first step in responsible garbage handling is segregation. By sorting waste into appropriate categories, such as organic, recyclable, non-recyclable, and hazardous materials, food handlers contribute to effective waste management. Separating waste correctly allows for efficient recycling efforts and reduces the environmental impact.

When preparing the garbage for disposal, ensure the use of designated containers. These containers should be properly labeled and sealed to prevent leaks, odors, and cross-contamination. Using separate containers for different types of waste further minimizes the risk of harmful interactions.

Composting is an important practice, particularly for organic waste. By separating food waste from composting, food handlers can contribute to sustainable practices and reduce the burden on landfills. Composting not only benefits the environment but also supports the creation of nutrient-rich soil for gardening and agriculture.


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Food handlers must prioritize their safety by wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) before handling garbage. Gloves, masks, and other necessary PPE act as a barrier between the waste and the handler, minimizing the risk of contamination.

Ensure that PPE is clean and in good condition. Before wearing gloves, wash your hands thoroughly to prevent transferring any bacteria or contaminants onto the gloves. PPE should be used consistently and changed when necessary, such as when switching tasks or after touching potentially hazardous waste.


Hand Hygiene

Proper hand hygiene is fundamental in food handling and garbage disposal. Before and after handling garbage, food handlers must wash their hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. This practice helps remove dirt, bacteria, and other contaminants from the hands, reducing the risk of spreading harmful microorganisms.

It’s important to wash all parts of the hands, including the palms, back of the hands, between fingers, and under the nails. After washing, dry your hands using disposable paper towels or air dryers.

In situations where hand washing facilities are not readily available, the use of hand sanitizers is an acceptable alternative. However, hand sanitizers should be used as a temporary solution and not a substitute for proper hand washing. Apply a sufficient amount of sanitizer to cover all surfaces of the hands, rub them together until dry, and avoid wiping off the sanitizer.


Cleaning and Sanitizing

Regular cleaning and sanitizing of garbage receptacles are essential to prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria and unpleasant odors. Clean trash cans and bins with appropriate cleaning agents and disinfectants.

Start by removing any garbage or debris from the receptacles. Then, use a cleaning solution, such as a mixture of soap and water, to scrub the inside and outside surfaces. Pay attention to the lid, handles, and any other areas that may come into contact with hands during use.

After cleaning, rinse the receptacles thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue. To sanitize, use a suitable disinfectant spray or wipes, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Pay close attention to high-touch areas and allow the disinfectant to remain on the surface for the recommended contact time.

To avoid cross-contamination, use separate cleaning tools designated for garbage handling areas. Store these tools separately from other cleaning supplies to prevent them from being used elsewhere.

Proper disposal of cleaning materials and contaminated water is crucial to prevent the spread of germs. Dispose of waste from cleaning activities in the appropriate containers following established disposal protocols. Ensure that wastewater from cleaning is not allowed to mix with food preparation or other clean areas.


Pest Control

Effective pest control measures are essential to maintain a clean and hygienic environment. To prevent attracting pests, food handlers should promptly dispose of garbage. Avoid leaving bags of garbage unattended and ensure that garbage storage areas are secure, preventing access by insects, rodents, and other pests.

Regular inspections are vital to identify and address any potential pest infestations promptly. Food handlers should promptly report any pest sightings to the appropriate authorities responsible for pest control. By taking these preventive measures, food handlers can minimize the risk of contamination and maintain a safe environment for food preparation.


Communication and Training

Education and training are vital for food handlers to understand and implement proper garbage handling procedures. Regular training sessions and refresher courses help reinforce knowledge and promote best practices.

Encourage open communication among staff members to address any concerns or suggestions related to garbage disposal. Create a supportive environment where food handlers feel comfortable reporting issues or asking questions. This open dialogue can contribute to continuous improvement and the establishment of effective garbage-handling protocols.



Proper garbage handling is an indispensable part of maintaining a safe and hygienic food-handling environment. By following the outlined steps, food handlers can significantly contribute to the prevention of contamination and protect the well-being of both customers and staff.

Remember to segregate waste, use designated containers, wear appropriate PPE, practice thorough hand hygiene, clean and sanitize garbage receptacles, implement effective pest control measures, and foster open communication and training. Together, let’s prioritize responsible garbage disposal and work towards a cleaner and healthier food service industry.


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