Reusable container program meets health department rules

Published in FSD Update

Students at Virginia Tech can now choose a reusable to-go container rather than a foam one at the West End, one of the campus’s 11 dining halls.

After paying a $12 annual membership fee, students receive a keychain with three tags, each representing a container that they can check out. They trade in the tags for a reusable container at the time of service, and dining staff will put the chosen food items directly into it. When students are finished with the container, they simply exchange it for a new tag. The used containers are then cleaned and sanitized by dining services staff. The program began last semester, according to Rial Tombes, sustainability coordinator for dining services.

A reusable container program was in place previously. However, students were required to wash and return the containers themselves. Due to health department regulations, dining services could not put food directly into the containers. Instead, students had to move their meal items from the service plate into the container.

In part due to the fact that the program is only at one location, only about 1 percent of to-go meals are placed in the reusable containers. Tombes hopes to have the program in place at multiple dining facilities or charge for the use of foam containers to increase participation. 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Hutchinson Middle School in Hutchinson, Minn., invited students to help serve lunch in an effort to encourage their peers to try new, healthy recipes, Hutchinson Leader reports.

The students, who are part of the school’s Students in Action Club, created posters to advertise the new meal and helped serve it to students during lunch.

The school’s kitchen manager, Janet Schmidt, said that around 37 more students than normal got in line to try the meal. The school plans to have students from the club help serve lunch once every month.

Read the full story via Hutchinson...

Industry News & Opinion

In an effort to trim costs, the country’s largest senior living company laid off 100 staff members, including regional dining services directors, reports Senior Housing News .

Not all employees who were laid off will technically leave the company, Senior Housing News notes, as some will be reassigned to alternative positions. Brookdale recently posted third-quarter earnings that fell short of analysts’ expectations and that the company’s CEO called disappointing.

At the end of last year, the Brentwood, Tenn.-based company employed 53,000 workers on a full-time basis, and...

Industry News & Opinion

After receiving mixed feedback from parents, Randolph County School District in Asheboro, N.C., is inviting parents to tour the district’s kitchens and cafeterias to see how the food for school meals is made, Fox 8 reports.

School officials say that the tours, part of the district’s first Food Day for Parents, will give parents an inside look at the upkeep of the facilities, as well as enable them to sample some food and see how the district is upholding USDA guidelines.

Officials also hope that the tours will provide them with more guidance on what parents and students are...

Industry News & Opinion

After fielding complaints from parents and students, Sodexo is launching an initiative to improve dining services at Emerson College in Boston, the Berkeley Beacon reports.

The initiative will kick off this month with an event dubbed Fresh Start, marking the start of several moves aimed at improving service—including the hiring of a new executive chef, the addition of a second sous chef, and retraining current staff on food preparation and presentation.

Members of the Emerson community will also be able to share feedback through the introduction of monthly forums, as well...

FSD Resources