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Sombre

Laws in giving away food in the UK?

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Hi everyone.

I work at a supermarket in the UK, Morrisons, and I'm trying to find out some stuff before I go to my manager with it. Does anyone know what the laws are, if there are any, as to giving food away? The problem is, at the end of the night, we have SO MUCH STUFF leftover that just simply gets thrown away. I'm talking about giant bins FULL of bread, meat, yogurts, and all sorts of other shit. With the amount of people starving/homeless out there, it seems incredibly wasteful. I think it'd be a sterling idea if at the end of the night, charities could come at the end of the night, and pick up a load of stuff for people who desperately need it. But I'm not sure how the laws prevent this, if they do. I'm aware that they could be held liable if the food goes bad, but it seems so stupid to have all this food thrown away at the end of the night.

Does anyone have any ideas? I'd love to go to my boss with an actual proper proposal, so this food wouldn't just get wasted.

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Companies have done it, but are generally incredibly paranoid about it.

I heard that a UK chain of pizza restaurants used to donate leftover dough to a homeless shelter, but someone kept some in the fridge for too long and got food poisoning. Result: They now cover the dough in blue food colouring and bleach before throwing it away. It varies from business to business, but I understand the use by dates are generally applied in a paranoid manner to mitigate risk, and in turn the businesses are paranoid about those and want to avoid any related risk.

I totally agree with you on waste from supermarkets, it's pretty shocking. I went to stay with an art student in another city early last year; she's very poor and I'd offered to buy food during my stay, but she asked me if I wanted to help her get food from the bins behind Waitrose. I expected filthy, stinking bins full of scummy black deposits, but saw the stuff they throw out is clean and better than the stuff you can buy in most supermarkets. Whole bags of pasta thrown out, boxed, because they had small holes in. Boxes of drinks chucked because one had leaked, etc. Within ten minutes, three people left with a week's food and a load of fresh flowers for the flat too, and hardly scratched what was there.

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And, um, where exactly was this Waitrose, out of interest?

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I've thought abuot contacting the Salvation Army and seeing if they can get someone to come down 5 minutes before we leave and pick up all the cheap leftovers. Full loaves of bread for 9p. HUNDREDS OF THEM

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I think it's something that should happen, Sombre. Good luck negotiating it with your boss. I imagine you'll have to talk to people from marketing and at least one charity to make it happen.

And, um, where exactly was this Waitrose, out of interest?

Oop North. Even more northern than the midlands :)

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Oop North. Even more northern than the midlands :)

Would this be near Durham by any chance?

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Would this be near Durham by any chance?

Even further North :) Also, just edited my post to include this:

I think it's something that should happen, Sombre. Good luck negotiating it with your boss. I imagine you'll have to talk to people from marketing and at least one charity to make it happen.

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The sandwich shop, Pret, go out and give away their sandwiches to the homeless at the end of the day. It's pretty disgusting how much we all throw away. A friend worked at B&Q and told me how conflicted he felt when he had to go out and destroy perfectly good furniture to make space for the new stuff, while making sure that nobody could come along and get something for free.

Hurrah for capitalism :hmph:

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Oop North. Even more northern than the midlands.

Uh-huh, uh-huh. And what was the street name?

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As Thunderpeel says, Pret already does this.

Apparently there are some supermarkets in the UK who employ security guys to watch the bins to stop people coming and getting food for free. It's really sad.

Weren't they changing the law about sell-by-dates recently or something? Or replacing them with something else, because it just promotes food waste.

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Very laudable. All the best with that initiative, the amount that is thrown away is disgusting.

I've heard (a.n.other) supermarket deliberately spoils their food before chucking it - possibly to avoid legal issues, possibly just so that ppl can't eat for free.

There are already charities in various areas that cater (ahaha) for this kind of thing, and I'm sure they'd love to talk to a civic minded gentleman such as yourself.

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In the Netherlands given away food has been regulated to some degree. There are so called "food banks" where companies can donate food which they can no longer sell because it has been "expired". And this is where the regulation comes into play, even though products are "expired" doesn't mean that they cannot be consumed. It simply means that it cannot be sold in a store anymore. A lot of companies "dump" those "expired" goods at those "food banks" that process it and hand it out to the needy.

I wouldn't be surprised if there are "food banks" in the UK. A quick google search returned this: http://www.trusselltrust.org/foodbank-projects

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I heard a programme on Radio 4 about people who live entirely off food from supermarket bins. There was a guy who said he occasionally spent about 50p on seasoning, but felt it was a shameful indulgence.

I work for a company that sells physical stuff, and, like everyone else, has limited warehouse space, and therefore has to throw out unprofitable or less profitable stock in order to make space. We used to have an employee who was taking some of this stock and selling it on eBay, but my boss put a stop to that, because he felt it undermined the value of the brand. In the case of perishable being discarded due to age, there is the additional concern that the product line hasn't necessarily been discontinued, so giving out discarded stock potentially undermines your own sales. Obviously it'd be much better for the world and for the general populace if more food was available for less money, but unfortunately that's not really the imperative for most companies, and understandably (if not forgivably) so.

On the subject of deliberately destroying things, have you guys all seen this?

Anyway, good luck with your endeavour, Sombre.

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