The Shameful Waste Of Food

Clip art image of a homeless man going through gar - Homeless man looking through garbage
@pyewacket (44032)
United States
June 5, 2007 4:50pm CST
This is a hot topic with me and a real pet peeve of mine, and that is how wasteful we are of food, and apparently this issue isn't unique to just here in America, but worldwide, and that is how so much of our food is thrown out from supermarkets, when it could in fact be donated to soup kitchens or any other organization that feeds the homeless and hungry. Near me there used to be one supermarket in particular, and outside of the store would be those large green garbage bins nearly the size capacity of an average truck...inside it would always be filled to the brim, with what I thought was fairly good looking produce--in fact, the produce looked every bit as good and fresh as the produce being sold inside....there would also be and other food products, like cheeses, etc that hadn't even reached their expiration dates. Now for awhie the bins weren't closed off, and I would witness homeless people helping themselves to the food...but eventually the store would padlock the bins to prevent this. Then on occasion, maybe the freezer section of the store would break down, and even thought the food hadn't been defrosted yet...out it went...I was told one time by the manager, by throwing it out, along with that perfectly good produce and the other food products, that the store could write it off as a loss with the insurance and "collect" the money for the loss. In the meantime here we have perfectly good food just being tossed out, when there are so many people out there starving. Is this a shameful waste or what?? It's a sin almost. It annoys me (not the word I want to use) that instead of looking at the "economics" if it, and being so eager to collect insurance money for food "loss"at supermarkets in general that with so many resources out there, that this food could be donated to soup kitchens--As for the frozen foods they could be cooked up right away when given to such organizations, since as I said ...the frozen food hadn't even thawed out yet. The same could go for restaurant food waste as well. I mean what is wrong here?? It just doesn't plain make sense with me...how about you? Does this senseless waste of food bother you too??Here are some links about this issue...the first has several articles about supermarket food waste: http://www.wastedfood.com/category/supermarket/ These two deals with food waste in the UK http://society.guardian.co.uk/environment/news/0,14129,1460299,00.html http://www.frenchentree.com/france-food-cuisine/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=3033
10 people like this
29 responses
@howard96h (11643)
• New York, New York
5 Jun 07
I agree with you it is a waste and a shame. There is a school where I live and I know someone who works in the kitchen, he told me every day after the kids eat lunch what ever sandwiches and other foods that are left they throw it out behind the school. The kitchen staff is "ordered" to pour bleach over all the food in the garbage so the homeless people won't get it. Now why do this? Those sandwiches can feed many hungry people. I just don't understand it.
3 people like this
@pyewacket (44032)
• United States
6 Jun 07
Oh that's horrible...pour bleach?? Gee, if anything, why isn't the staff at least able to take home the extra food?? I hear this same thing goes on in the kitchens of hospitals too.
2 people like this
@howard96h (11643)
• New York, New York
6 Jun 07
The Bd. of Ed. should be ashamed of themselves. They would rather see the food go to the garbage instead of hungry people eating it. I don't want to see anyone getting sick eating a sandwich that had bleach thrown over it but if it ever happens I hope that person sues the Bd. of Ed. real good!
2 people like this
@pyewacket (44032)
• United States
6 Jun 07
Thinking of the school..not PS 89 is it??
1 person likes this
@Katlady2 (9920)
• United States
5 Jun 07
It is totally senseless for that much good food to go to waste. And people complain about others starving in the world. I think enough food has been tossed out that could feed the entire world about a hundred times over! My mother in law works at one of the local gleaners that helps out the elderly every week, and because of her, Safeway has started donating all sorts of products to them. Things like milk, eggs, produce, bread, and many other things that are non foods. If all the stores were to join in that type of thing all around the country and the world, it would be so much better for those who are less fortunate.
3 people like this
@pyewacket (44032)
• United States
6 Jun 07
Well that's fantastic that Safeway has started such a program...think it's time though that all the supermarkets joined in--right?
2 people like this
@Katlady2 (9920)
• United States
6 Jun 07
You've got that right!
1 person likes this
@Debs_place (10524)
• United States
5 Jun 07
I talked with a man one time who had worked at a Culinary college, he was telling me that much of their food went into the trash. They had looked into donating it to food kitchens and shelters, but the health regulation involving such a donation were cost prohibitive. As a result the food was trashed. It had nothing to do with insurance regulations.
3 people like this
@susieq223 (3742)
• United States
5 Jun 07
I will tell you what is really sickening! The stores that used to give away such food as you described no longer give it away because of lawsuits that have been filed for "food poisoning" etc. Many stores that have always given to charities no longer do it--not because of declaring a loss for insurance, but due to fear of lawsuits. I know this because I used to help with a battered women's shelter and we stopped getting a lot of food donations because of this. Some days I don't think I like this world much anymore.
3 people like this
@pyewacket (44032)
• United States
6 Jun 07
Oh that is such bullcrap!! Lawsuits??? How about if we started lawsuits for the food that they sell IN THE STORE that's contaminated with E. Coli and samonella??? --like the business with spinach and lettuce, frozen blueberries...that just doesn't make sense to me. Yikes!!!
2 people like this
@KissThis (3006)
• United States
6 Jun 07
I worked at a local Wal-Mart here in central Illinois for a little over 2 years. When I first started there an saw how much food that they actually threw away I asked why we weren't able to donate all this food to a homeless shelter or something. It was explained to me that Wal-Mart would rather donate money then take the chance of being sued for someone eating a product that they donated who had gotten sick. It was further explained to me that there were times that people would get some of this stuff from a food bank and try to return it to the store. Wal-Mart use to donate the clothing that had small stains or ripes in them but they had a problem with people returning them as well. As much as I would love to see grocery stores and restaurants donating food and things I would also like for those people who receive these items for free to be honest and just accept the donations instead of trying to return them to the store. When people abuse good situations it ruins it for others who actually do appreciate what someone is trying to do for them.
2 people like this
@pyewacket (44032)
• United States
6 Jun 07
Well first of all that explanation you were given sounds a bit fishy too me---sounds more to me like the person was just trying to justify why they threw things out...how can anyone return something without the receipts??
1 person likes this
@webeishere (36353)
• United States
6 Jun 07
All establishments that serve food waste so much. I had a friend that worked at a bakery and she asked to bring the donuts etc that were being tossed out at the end of the day to the A.A. club. They agreed and that saved some food from waste. Anyhow I totally agree about the food waste. HAPPY POSTINGS FROM GRANDPA BOB !!~
2 people like this
@pyewacket (44032)
• United States
6 Jun 07
Glad to see you back Grandpa Bob!! Well at least your friend did one small yet great gesture...and I bet those donuts were appreciated at the AA meetings
1 person likes this
@jolenegreen (1209)
• United States
6 Jun 07
Yes it is ridiculus. I notice that America is the worse country ever with food. We take food for granted like it were nothing. When I worked at subway you wouldnt believe the stuff that we threw away at becuase it was outdated. Like for example we would slice cheese and mark it with a date for 2 days later. If we didnt use it within the 2 days it got tossed. OMG...I could have taken it home and froze it for my kids. GEEZ Where my mom works.at a college..in the kitchen.....they throw out tons of food but the workers are more than welcome to take home food that is expired on the package or whatever. Or if it is spring break and they arent feeding the students, the employees may take whatever they want. My brother works as a vender at the college and he brings my kids home Snacks and small cartons of milk and chocolate milk that would just get tossed if he didnt bring it home. I dont live in a big city or town and dont see homeless people scrounging for food.....thank god..becuase maby if I did it would make me even madder on the subject, but WE ALL NEED FOOD. And food is hard to come by even with both my hubby and I working fulltime. So when my brother stops by with milk and goodies for the kids I am more than thankul., Also you wouldnt believe the stuiff that walmart throws out. Knowing that they could donate it somewhere........Ripped open bags of petfood they could give to the SPCA...they write this stuff off and collect money and throw it away. CLOTHES that they could donate to the salvation army...local thrift store.....and FOOD that they can just take to the local Soup Kitchen 15 min down the road. GIVE ME A BREAK. It makes me really mad!
2 people like this
@pyewacket (44032)
• United States
6 Jun 07
That's a good point you make about pet food....think of how many shelters there are that would love the pet food that is thrown out too---I do happen to know a pet rescuer and she's always trying to get discounted food from the big major companies, or has even tried for grants...now if the supermarkets donated pet food that was near the expiration date it would make their (the rescuers) lives easier too... I'm surprised with Walmart....you say the soup kitchen is only fifteen minutes away...yes they could give the food then to the kitchen
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Jun 07
It is shameful and there is no excuse for this waste. This is large scale waste and I get peeved at food waste in my home. And here we have a prime reason why insurance costs are skyrocketing. Your auto insurance premiums are used to help cover this too, insurance companies push the money around as needed. It is a shame they can't just let the homeless and starving people have it.
@pyewacket (44032)
• United States
5 Jun 07
I know--there is no excuse for this kind of waste.
• United States
7 Jun 07
It is a shame that people are wasting so much food. It sickens me how that supermarket acted, but it proves that money is and will be more important factor to them, than the starving people living out on the streets. Sure they could donate that food to the homeless and/or soup kitchens. They just don't want to, but that is obvious. I didn't even know supermarkets had insurance on the food products. Just learned something there. Maybe someone should find out who the insurance company is and write to them about this ultimate waste of good food. Maybe if enough people write about this issue, than maybe someone will take a closer look at what all the restaurants and supermarkets throw out. Could be wishful thinking, or it may really make a difference, one just never knows with the way things are today. I try not to be wasteful of any food stuffs, but sometimes I do have to admit that I can get carried away when going out to eat, but always I will bring my leftovers home with me, and if on the way home I see a less fortunate individual walking the street I will give my leftovers to them. So it just boggles me why supermarkets would be wasteful of so much good food.
@pyewacket (44032)
• United States
8 Jun 07
Quote: ".....I didn't even know supermarkets had insurance on the food products. ..." Are you kidding? Everything is insured nowadays....that is except pets...LOL
• United States
9 Jun 07
Not kidding, I really didn't know. I'm a bit ignorant about some things unless I hear about it through friends or through television and the internet. But I do know that now days you can even get insurance for your pets.
• United States
7 Jun 07
I agree with you 100%! There is way too much waste in this world when it comes to food. I think it's sick that that store you were talking about put padlocks on those bins! That is insane (unless they were doing it for legal reasons).
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (44032)
• United States
8 Jun 07
Well as some here have mentioned the idea I guess for padlocking those bins were to discourage the homeless to rummage through them
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Jun 07
I still think that sucks though. What's the harm? Are they afraid the homeless will make a mess?
• United States
7 Jun 07
i used to get seriously disgusted at the food i had to throw out when i worked in restaurants,mc donalds is a bad one-i think nuggets had a hot rack span of about 10-20 min max.i was throwing those out all day. it's against the law to just donate it to a shelter here too.
@pyewacket (44032)
• United States
8 Jun 07
And can you imagine how much food is thrown out at say hotels as well??
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Jun 07
i've seen it in action,worked there too. but i tell you what though-as far as banquets go,it wasn't wasted as bad as say,room service/cafe. the dishwashers and servers usually jumped on what came back,and sometimes took it home (tho not allowed). the one place i worked at,i had a little keeper thing in my area? when whole shrimp came back,i put it aside for the "kids".oh they loved me for it ;)
@MrNiceGuy (4144)
• United States
6 Jun 07
That isn't necessarily waste, its protecting us. They throw out food that could potentially be spoiled or not the freshest so we get a better product. I know many grocery stores that also contract with homeless shelters and other similar agencies to give that food away as well.
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (44032)
• United States
6 Jun 07
I would say 99-percent of the time the food I've seen thrown out was in perfectly good condition --the produce often looking every bit as good as what was sold inside, and the other food items that hadn't even reached their expiration date
@MrNiceGuy (4144)
• United States
6 Jun 07
but its on the end of its shelf life, meaning it will go bad soon, which the grocery store doesn't want to offer to customers in case it might be bad or go bad soon after purchased.
@dentidle (293)
• Switzerland
6 Jun 07
While i was in india, most of the people there never waste food. While eating they see to it that they eat upto the last bit left on the plate. Some exceptions are there thou. During unavoidable circumstances, we give it away to maids who work for us. But in the country where i presently live, no one seems to be poor, no maids, no way other than dumping it in the garbage bin. I feel so bad when i throw fresh food out. So i leave it on table top until the next morning and then dump it. Doesnt make any sense thou.
@pyewacket (44032)
• United States
6 Jun 07
Like the person before you, you probably didn't read the discussion right...this isn't about food waste by individuals although we're probably just as guilty--this is a broader and wider issue...please re-read the discussion and you'll see what I mean
@dentidle (293)
• Switzerland
7 Jun 07
Sorry, i read the whole post carefully thou. I just thot that i was sharing my personal feeling. Nevermind.
@irishmist (3819)
• United States
7 Jun 07
Wasting food is totally senseless no matter what. There is no excuse for it. Here we have many stores that give food the pantries. I don't know how much food gets thrown away by the stores however. I'll tell you what though. Dunkin Donuts should donate their donuts & bagles, instead of bagging them up and throwing them away. They do however at the end of the night let the employee's take home what they want, before throwing it out. At one time I think I recall Dunkin Donuts giving the donuts to farmers for their animals, humm.. if they could do that, than why not donate to the food pantry. Ya know what really gets me. The fact that at the Holiday season is when these big stores give food to the pantries. Just so they can get their name in the paper, and make it seem like they care about the community. Why can't they give all year round?
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (44032)
• United States
8 Jun 07
That's such a good point....stores will give food to pantries etc only at the Holiday season--you're right..why not all year round??
@4ftfingers (1313)
7 Jun 07
I know, it's rediculous. I think also, the stores don't want to sell or give anybody fod that might be infected or damaged or has gone off, because they fear lawsuits. This is what it's come to. They're not only throwing away decent food but also plastics and packaging materials that have never served there purpose and wont degrade. I used to work at at a backerie, and by the end of the day anythign left over had to be therown away because it was no longer concidered fresh, even though it was perfectly edible. We wern't allowed to give it away fro free because the owner said that people would just wait and come and get them at the end of the day for free
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (44032)
• United States
8 Jun 07
So what's the deal then...the food at the bakery was going to be thrown out anyway..so why not give it away--and yet, I've seen supermarket sell day or two day old bread at a discount--doesn't make sense
@worldwise1 (14887)
• United States
6 Jun 07
You are so right, pyewacket! I shudder at the amount of food that is being thrown out on a daily basis. So many poor people are going hungry that it doesn't make sense. It was impressed upon me when I was growing up (where we always had plenty), that you just didn't waste. I am proud to say that I have lived by this standard all of my life. Many years ago my daughter was a cook trainee in boot camp, and the stories of waste in the army were staggering. She said that they would throw out enough food to feed an army on a daily basis. I have also seen the amount of food thrown out at huge supermarkets. There should be a law about this food being so carelessly destroyed when some people would be thrilled to get it.
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (44032)
• United States
7 Jun 07
To quote you..."There should be a law about this food being so carelessly destroyed when some people would be thrilled to get it.... Couldn't agree with you more worldwise
@charms88 (7540)
• Philippines
6 Jun 07
Hello pyewacket. My best friend owns a restaurant near her house. It has been a part of daily routine for the staff at the restaurant to divide and wrapped all the leftover food in different packages. 20 minutes before closing time, there will be some poor people who will lined up at the back of the restaurant. The staff will distribute the food to each one of them. It is because of my best friend's compassionate and charitable heart that her restaurant is always a success and attract a lot of customers. I can't but be horrified by what some supermarkets were doing. Why should they closed up the bins. It can be that the homeless always left the bins scattered all over. But still, the owner or the manager can think of something like what my best friend did. There's no sense in wasting those edible products. I can feel for those homeless and needy people. :/
@pyewacket (44032)
• United States
6 Jun 07
Well that's a fantastic gesture of your friend to do that...wish more did that...and it must give a tremendous satisfaction inside that your friend and the staff there are doing something really good--as for the bins being closed at the supermarket...there was no way this bins could have been tipped over and the contents scattered...these were those heavy large metal containers that only a truck or crane could lift up
@nancyrowina (3850)
6 Jun 07
In Britain now supermarkets can't donate the food they are throwing out for health and safety reasons, as the homeless people could sue if they get food poisoning from something they ate in a soup kitchen. I think this is terrible too as they could avoid this by just not using the products that could cause food poisoning like chicken etc. There's still tone of bread and other foods that couldn't poison people.
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (44032)
• United States
6 Jun 07
As I pointed out elsewhere..everyone always seems so concerned if homeless people get food poisoning from such foods...but people get food poisoning from the "good" food too that is sold in the markets--I actually DID had a bout of food poisoning from something I had bought at my market...
@kgwat70 (13394)
• United States
6 Jun 07
It is ashame that food gets wasted when it can be put to good use to help the homeless people. There is no reason for us to just throw away unwanted food of any kind, unless it is poisoned. As a society, I think a lot of things get wasted. We should be doing more to help our homeless people and the ones that can not afford to eat healthy. We need to be more conscious about what we do with our food and other things.
@pyewacket (44032)
• United States
6 Jun 07
It's unfortunate that in general this society has become a "disposable" one, and yes we need to become more conscious about a lot of issues in life
@Woodpigeon (3710)
• Ireland
6 Jun 07
The senseless wasting of food does drve me mad, whether on a small scale or on the large scale you describe. I don't think it is even limited to the big chain type sores, either. We have a small coffee shop which also makes fresh pastries and breads every day. Some days they sell out and other days they have bread left over. It goes stale faily quickly so they have a policy not to save it for the next day and they trow it out. They don't even let the staff tak it home or give it to the birds or anything, they just toss it out, day after day. I don't understand it either.
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (44032)
• United States
6 Jun 07
That is the thing I really can't understand...in even the smaller shops or say kitchens in schools and hospitals who have food left over why staff members can't take it home--I mean why not? It would make so much more sense