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nancyrowina

Surplus food waste.

Since the credit crunch has took hold lots of people including myself have had to use food banks and places that offer free cooked meals. There's a really good place local to me that gives food from their food bank every week without any vouchers or referrals, and the food they cook is made from ingredients donated by local business's and farmers markets. I've started to try and help out and have discovered that big super markets don't hand over any of the surplus food they would throw away even though it is still edible, only small local business's donate. Mad

This makes me mad since I see a lot of people who are poor and have trouble eating in these tough economic times and know the problem is big and going to get bigger. It's sickening that big supermarkets are literally throwing away food when people are starving.

I've written a blog post about it The Great Food Waste Scandal With links to some actions you can take and organizations trying to combat this food waste if this infuriates you as much as it does us.
Pilsbury

Trouble is if it is past the best before date they feel they risk being sued if anything should go wrong and if its not then more people will use The food bank and eat for free rather than spend money in their tills.
As a chef I am acutely aware of The penalties that can be imposed personally on me if anything goes wrong, not the company I work for but me and sometimes its not worth the risk.
That said at work I cant bring myself to throw away left overs and offer them to my staff and others working there.
Rob R

Trouble is if it is past the best before date they feel they risk being sued if anything should go wrong and if its not then more people will use The food bank and eat for free rather than spend money in their tills.


I can understand that - I try to sell everything but if I don't & start giving it away then people will start holding out until it becomes free. If I give it away there is no advantage in doing so over & above giving it to either the dog or the guinea pigs (depending upon whether meat or vegetable). When it comes to meat there is an intrinsic cost in giving it away for human consumption, whereas feeding the dog with it really is free. Also, the more I give away means the more I have to charge everyone and so the gap between the food being affordable becomes even larger. I felt much more confident giving away fresh, fit for sale food for charity than I would have done stuff that was past it's date.
paul1963

It's a shocking statistic, I did some research on this very thing at the university. It's a dreadful waste.
Rob R

It's a shocking statistic, I did some research on this very thing at the university. It's a dreadful waste.


Is the statistic only shocking because supermarkets are so central & powerful though? Really it is a mismatching of supply for demand and are lots of little shops better at selling out than supermarkets are? Just throwing some questions about here, I have no idea one way or the other. Would it be better if the supermarkets undersold more and had less stock?
nancyrowina

But that's the thing a lot of this food isn't even past it's date, they throw lots of things out that are on the day before their date. I wouldn't trust meat and dairy but most vegetables thrown away are still fit to eat they just no longer qualify as fresh, and tinned and dried food in packets lasts for years.
I did hear that supermarkets used to donate surplus food but someone ate the food through a homeless shelter and claimed it made them ill and sued. That is the reason they don't anymore, I don't know if it's true but it wouldn't surprise me in this compensation culture.
I've heard that kitchen staff are no longer allowed to eat the leftovers after something similar happened in a hotel kitchen, it really is ridiculous.
Pilsbury

But It is what happens when everyone sues, people do things out of kindness and then get sued for millions and have to pay out, once it happens once no one else is willing to risk it.
Everyone who eats leftovers in my kitchen does so at their own risk but none of us are that worried as I cook fresh everyday and am meticulous in temp control and so on but if anyone else was preparing the food I had given them I would be worried.
oldish chris

when buying "short dated" food, remember the the grades of safety:
1) don't sell anything that is dangerous,
2) build in some contingency, just in case,
3) put in place extra precautions to make sure that no-one can sue you.

basically, if food (we're including raw chicken in this) has not been correctly stored, by the "use by" date, its still OK (e.g. the journey from refrigerated lorry to cold store might take a while).

If he gets sued, the vendor can point to written processes and procedures, which all staff must adhere to, that ensures that the food is 100% safe, right up to the "use by" date.

Consequently, the careful purchaser has a bit of leeway, (but must proceed with caution).
Jamanda

But It is what happens when everyone sues, people do things out of kindness and then get sued for millions and have to pay out, once it happens once no one else is willing to risk it.
Everyone who eats leftovers in my kitchen does so at their own risk but none of us are that worried as I cook fresh everyday and am meticulous in temp control and so on but if anyone else was preparing the food I had given them I would be worried.

And anyway sucessfully suing someone in this manner is very rare in this country - people might try, and the attempt might make the headlines, but "judge throws stupid case out of court" doesn't make such a dramatic headline and doesn't get reported.
Pilsbury

True but I don't want to be the,test case with a 10,000 fine and imprisonment the outcome if I lose thank you very much. Jamanda

Can you be imprisoned if someone sues you? Pilsbury

If I cause harm through negligence then they won't need to sue, I will be prosecuted under the food safety act and that can lead to imprisonment I believe.
That's why HACCP is so important to use as a due diligence defence.
DawnMK

I cant understand why familys have to go to food banks, and can be that poor that they cant afford to eat, I have seen them on TV and dont understand it at all, any family working even for the minimum wage would get family tax credits, none working familys are on income support, or job seekers etc so how can they not have money for food, even homless people get benifits, so is it they choose to spend there money else were and then go for hand outs can some one explain to me please Rolling Eyes Jamanda

Benefits can take time to come through. Filling in the forms is not an easy process for everyone. As you might have read from some people on here's posts, employers don't always pay on time. All the bills come at once - loads of potential reasons. Jamanda

If I cause harm through negligence then they won't need to sue, I will be prosecuted under the food safety act and that can lead to imprisonment I believe.
That's why HACCP is so important to use as a due diligence defence.

That is obviously the case, it was the "doing things out of kindness and then getting sued for millions" bit that I was taking issue with.
Pilsbury

Link fairy please,
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1990/16/section/35.
The punishments available under the,food safety act, used for selling and supplying unfit food.
Pilsbury

If I cause harm through negligence then they won't need to sue, I will be prosecuted under the food safety act and that can lead to imprisonment I believe.
That's why HACCP is so important to use as a due diligence defence.

That is obviously the case, it was the "doing things out of kindness and then getting sued for millions" bit that I was taking issue with.
I am fairly sure a conviction under the food safety act would be followed by a private claim for damages, or I might just be paranoid about the risks.
And the millions part was if it was Tesco providing the food which is a good reason for them not to get involved.
marigold

@ DawnMK The problem is that the benefits system is designed to make getting benefits as complex and difficult as possible. Claims take weeks to process, payments are stopped "by mistake" and take more weeks to be reinstated, each benefit requires a separate application and some are dependent on others. People fall through the gaps, sometimes by their own mismanagement, but often simply because a change in circumstances (sickness, accident, loss of job, breakdown of relationship, death) leaves them penniless.

An acquaintance of mine was widowed unexpectedly last year and literally had no money coming in for months while the DWP sorted out moving things from her husband's name to hers (her church supported her). She wasn't in the least bit "benefits savvy" and here it takes 6-8 weeks to get an initial appointment with CAB, so for novice applicants it's a very slow process. If you are on a low income, it's hard to build up a buffer of savings to tide you over hard times and many people don't have access to credit either.

You don't simply roll up at the jobcentre and get given a "handout".
Rob R

The legislation, it seems, whilst protecting us has also endangered us - all the personal responsibility has been taken out of it through law to the degree that people don't have to think for themselves any more. Sad DawnMK

so when familys use food banks to help them out to bridge a gap do they then contribute back for others or is it take that they can just use it whenever they want, are they vetted to see that they are needy, I only ask because one family I saw on TV had a very very nice home, two cars and there children had games box thinghys but they were claiming poverty and having to use the food bank towards the end of each month until pay day, I was shocked that they could use this facility when there life style was not that of a family in poverty, both parents worked full time and they did say they would have to sacrifice this years holiday, this was a few months ago round about budget time, they said theywere regular users of the food bank and had been for about a year, surley this abusing a charity that is there to help needy people in the community, I can understand it helping out those who suddenly find themselfs in a situation like you mentioned.
Also isnt there groups out there who go round and collect food from the back of supermarkets and use it to help those in need Rolling Eyes
Chez

I think anyone not actually wearing sackcloth should be subject to a count of their visible ribs before being allowed anywhere NEAR a food bank. marigold

I think anyone not actually wearing sackcloth should be subject to a count of their visible ribs before being allowed anywhere NEAR a food bank.

And bring back the 1920s/30s means test - all homes to be inspected and stripped of saleable goods before any dole is allowed.
Jamanda

I wonder why they selected that family to show on TV. The food banks are private charities set up by well meaning people. The one here is run by the Baptist church. I make donations to it periodically. It's a shame if a few people take the Micky, but I'm sure they are in the minority. Chez

"Needy people making use of voluntary service run by well-meaning donations" doesn't make such good television? marigold

I wonder why they selected that family to show on TV.

For the express purpose of making people think that all benefit claimants/food bank users are undeserving chancers, I imagine.

Ditto the stream of stories about disability fraud cases (.5% of the total). "99% of DLA claimants are GENUINELY disabled" won't sell newspapers.
DawnMK

just been chatting to my daughter about it and she was telling me about a friend of hers who every christmas has a hamper from the salvation army, its basicaly a turkey veg, biscuits cake chocolates soft drinks crackers and some pressies for her three children and usually some toileries for her, she applied for it because she told them she was a single parent, but she isnt she is with a partner and always has been, he is a computer engineer, she found about the service through a friend, she suggest to my daughter that she should apply for it, when daughter said to her friend but your not a single parent her reply was well they have never checked and if they are that stupid to give away xmas dinners thats there problem Surprised daughter did tell me she sent a letter to the address her friend gave her and informed them of how there generousity was being abused, her friend was a bit miffed she didnt get a xmas dinner xmas gone just a card and an invitation to there christmas service, Rolling Eyes
I have no objections to genuine cases being given a helping hand, it was mentioned that people dont have to be issued with refferal letters to get help from food banks, wouldnt it be better if they were then it would be those that need it would get it, and stop others abusing the generosity of charities and taking from those that do need help.
Chez

We have just been given a car seat for Nenna from a charity. The physiotherapist who encouraged us to apply to that one in particular did so because it requires no means testing and no forms to fill in and no proof of how disabled our child is.

If you are genuinely in need, those things can be the last straw to put you off asking for help, because you have so much else to deal with. Sometimes you just need to be able to ask for help and to be given it.

An what goes around comes around, eventually.
Rob R

This thread got me wondering about the amounts of food 'wasted' before it ever gets to retailers. This is a country where we shoot dead, annually, bull calves with a (very conservative) potential meat yield of 9000 tonnes. Waste is something we are very good at. Chez

I'm still interested in living on wartime rations - I think it would be an interesting exercise. DawnMK

I have a cook book called Well Eat agin it recipies from war time and recipies published to eek out rations, would be happy for you to borrow it, its fascinating have cooked a few things from it. Very Happy oldish chris

This thread got me wondering about the amounts of food 'wasted' before it ever gets to retailers. This is a country where we shoot dead, annually, bull calves with a (very conservative) potential meat yield of 9000 tonnes. Waste is something we are very good at. Trying to get us back on thread?

My understanding is that the supermarkets do their best to keep wastage out of their section of the food process. So lots of waste takes place on the farm. There is also pickie consumers which means that offal gets wasted (although the Chinese are buying it up) and as Rob points out veal is out of fashion.

My part in this is to hunt out "short dated" bargains in the local Coop. Been known to pop out a 7pm for a bit of bread Laughing
Chez

Thanks for the offer - I think I have that one - 'how to make your margarine ration feed twenty people', that sort of thing? Smile There's a really good website that someone on here pointed me to, as well - I can't remember what it is though. No wonder everyone was nice and thin! Rob R

Sometimes I don't bother with a shopping list when going to the coop, just look for the orange stickers. They seem to be better than most supermarkets for reducing shortdated stuff. oldish chris

Sometimes I don't bother with a shopping list when going to the coop, just look for the orange stickers. They seem to be better than most supermarkets for reducing shortdated stuff. When i pop round to the Coop to get something for lunch, its often a big surprise! marigold

I'm still interested in living on wartime rations - I think it would be an interesting exercise.

http://1940sexperiment.wordpress.com/

Carolyn is currently being a vegan on WW2 rations - which is a challenge too far for my taste, but she doing so well with her weight loss and is so honest and open - I love reading her blog.
Chez

That's the badger. Thank you, Marigold. Nick

I'm still interested in living on wartime rations - I think it would be an interesting exercise.

http://1940sexperiment.wordpress.com/

Carolyn is currently being a vegan on WW2 rations - which is a challenge too far for my taste, but she doing so well with her weight loss and is so honest and open - I love reading her blog.

Indeed. Powdered quorn, anyone?
marigold

Indeed. Powdered quorn, anyone?[/quote]

Not even in wartime, thank you.
vegplot



http://1940sexperiment.wordpress.com/

* adds mind bleach to the shopping list *
Nick

Indeed. Powdered quorn, anyone?

Not even in wartime, thank you.[/quote]

Indeed. Come friendly bombs, and fall on Marlow (Foods Ltd.).
12Bore



http://1940sexperiment.wordpress.com/

* adds mind bleach to the shopping list *

Surprised Laughing Laughing
astra

[quote="oldish chris:1261954"]

as Rob points out veal is out of fashion.



I thought there was a good market for rose veal now?
astra

I'm still interested in living on wartime rations - I think it would be an interesting exercise.

Seems we did it all the time our kids were growing up...we just didn't' know it...we were just very hard up and had little choice!! Smile
Rob R

[quote="astra:1286140"]

as Rob points out veal is out of fashion.



I thought there was a good market for rose veal now?

There's a better market it for it but it's still far from being 'in fashion'. As long as calves continue to be shot, food is still being wasted.

Food is not yet in short supply, as it was in wartime. People are still very affluent, on the whole, and can be picky & choosy about what little money (as a proportion of income) they do spend on food, and by that I mean real food, not the massive recreational food market that now exists which just didn't in wartime Britain.

Food prices are going up, but not enough to make up for the huge funding gap that has existed in the food production industry throughout my 30 year lifetime.
wildfoodie

oldish chris wrote:
basically, if food (we're including raw chicken in this) has not been correctly stored, by the "use by" date, its still OK (e.g. the journey from refrigerated lorry to cold store might take a while).


what? are you saying its legally ok for a food seller to mess around with storage and still sell the food?
ninat

Sometimes I don't bother with a shopping list when going to the coop, just look for the orange stickers. They seem to be better than most supermarkets for reducing shortdated stuff.

I agree- head to ours 1hr before closing and all the nice bread is massivley reduced. I buy it & pop it in the freezer.
Aeolienne

I'm intrigued by Julian Watts's comment at the end of this link: Calls grow for ban on sending food waste to landfill. Has anyone here bought from Approved Food? toggle

Has anyone here bought from Approved Food?

yep, anything that's an awesome bargain tends to sell out pretty fast, but i've picked up loads of stuff cheaper. careful through, some isn't cheaper than it would be on a supermarket offer, and there really is only so much couscous that anyone can eat.
Aeolienne

Reducing food waste? There's an app for that... Linky oldish chris

oldish chris wrote:
basically, if food (we're including raw chicken in this) has not been correctly stored, by the "use by" date, its still OK (e.g. the journey from refrigerated lorry to cold store might take a while).


what? are you saying its legally ok for a food seller to mess around with storage and still sell the food? The "fresh" food will have travelled many miles, maybe halfway round the globe, it will have been moved from storage depot to storage depot, through packers, warehouses, distributors etc. When the vendor works out a "use-by" date he has factored in the probability that the food will have spent part of that time in less than perfect conditions and then added on a bit for contingency.
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