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Consumer-Owned Containers Guidance

As of August 11, 2023, Public Act 103-0524 permits consumer-owned containers to be filled or refilled with ready-to-eat foods at food establishments. This guide aims to provide detailed insights and formal protocols for both food establishments and consumers to effectively implement and utilize consumer-owned containers while maintaining rigorous standards of food safety and hygiene.

Consumer Construction and Condition: Consumer-owned containers must adhere to sanitary construction as defined in 4-1 and 4-2 in Food and Drug Administration Food Code. Container materials should be safe, durable, non-absorbent, corrosion-resistant, easily cleanable. and able to withstand repeated washing. Consumer-owned containers should be in good condition with no cracks, open seams, or rust.

Consumer-Owner Filling and Bulk Foods: Owners of consumer-owned containers must exercise caution when utilizing bulk food dispensers. Proper hand hygiene and adherence to posted instructions are imperative to minimize the risk of contamination. Specific handling procedures, depending on the type of dispenser used (e.g., gravity-fed or standard bins), must be followed diligently to prevent cross-contamination. Furthermore, maintaining cleanliness in the dispensing area and providing designated utensils for each bulk food storage bin are essential practices to uphold food safety standards.

Food Employees Filling Consumer-Owned Containers: In instances where food establishments permit employees to fill consumer-owned containers with ready-to-eat foods, stringent protocols must be in place to prevent cross-contamination. Isolation of containers from serving surfaces, meticulous hand washing practices, and adherence to written procedures are paramount to ensure food safety standards are upheld.

The integration of consumer-owned containers represents a significant step towards fostering sustainability within the food industry. By adhering to the outlined protocols and maintaining a commitment to food safety, food establishments and consumers alike can contribute towards reducing the environmental footprint of single-use packaging while preserving the integrity of the food supply chain. Let us collectively embrace this initiative, recognizing its potential to create a positive impact on both our environment and our communities.


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