In the United States 40% of food produced goes uneaten- that is 62.5 million tons of wasted food every year. In California, 5.5 million tons of food is wasted every year and 25% of landfill material is food waste. In 2015 there were 42.2 million people, including 13.1 million children (over 134,000 children in Riverside County alone) who were "food insecure", meaning they did not have enough food to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. While reducing hunger in Riverside County will require addressing the root causes of poverty, donations of wholesome, fresh food can be an important strategy for addressing the immediate needs of thousands of Riverside County residents.
School Share Tables
What is a Share Table?
A Share Table is a table in student common areas where students can place unopened food and drinks that they choose not to eat or drink. This provides an opportunity for other students to take additional helpings of food or beverage at no cost to them.
What can be placed on the Share Table?
Pre-packaged food, unopened wrapped food and beverages, or food items with a peel. Examples include:
Ø Unopened milk, cheese sticks, yogurt (held under proper temperature control)
Ø Unopened crackers, cereal bars, and chips
Ø Unopened bags of sliced fruit
Ø Whole fruits with an inedible peel, such as oranges or bananas
No items from home can be placed on the Share Table.
Who is responsible for the Share Table?
Share Tables must be supervised by a responsible person who is educated on food safety principals. This person will be responsible to ensure that only allowable foods are placed on the Share Tables.
Why are Share Tables used?
Food waste is a national problem with approximately 40% of edible food ending up in landfills and never reaching a plate, while many Americans lack reliable access to a sufficient amount of affordable, nutritious food. Schools can play an influential role in helping solve this problem by way of Share Tables.
What about food safety?
Schools can address food safety concerns by either maintaining temperature control throughout the “life” of the food product or use the time-temperature relationship method.
Ø Temperature Control: Potentially hazardous, pre-packaged foods such as dairy products must be maintained under proper refrigeration at or below 41ºF.
Ø Time-Temperature Method: This method relies on monitored timing in order to maintain food safety versus relying on temperature control. The schools will be responsible to provide procedures and time markings to reflect the proper implementation of the Time-Temperature method under California Retail Food Code Section 114000.
For additional information from the CA Dept. of Education, click here.