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Food Safety

Using your own reusable food container

​​​​​​​​​You may choose to bring a reusable cup or container to take away drinks, leftovers, takeout, or bulk food. If you do, follow these tips for your health and safety.

Keep containers ​clean

Wash your containers well with warm, soapy water, and let them dry after each use.

Keep containers in good shape

Your food can become unsafe if your containers—in particular ceramic and glass containers—are damaged, broken, or chipped.

Use only food-grade containers

Make sure your containers are food-grade, meaning they are meant to hold food or drinks. Containers that are not food grade could let harmful chemicals into the food, especially the more you use them.

Limit contact

If a staff member is filling the container for you (such as a reusable cup at a coffee shop), take the lid off before handing the container to them.

At restaurants, put leftovers in your container yourself at the dining table, rather than asking the server to package it for you in the kitchen.

Be safe with bulk foods

At bulk food stores, lower the risk of germs spreading by using your containers only for dry, non-perishable foods, such as flour and uncooked grains.

Always follow the bulk food store's instructions for how to handle the scoops properly.​

Current as of: November 10, 2023

Author: Safe Healthy Environments, Alberta Health Services