Forums - General Discussion - What is stopping big retailers from donating their food rather than throwing it away?

A local church is trying to give me a position for community involvement. Although I am busy and rather spend my time elsewhere I will do it because I see the waste of food as an option. There are several homeless shelters around my area and I am sure the lack of quality food is an issue. What is stopping retailers like Pick n Save, Piggly Wiggly, Target, and many others (Kwik Trip) from throwing their food away after they think it is no longer good? I know Pick N Save has a daily salad bar, the food at the salad bar does not go bad in one day. I happily eat it before they take it away. What are the challenges in convincing retailers to allow me to bring the "out of date" food to homeless shelters and churches? 



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Costs and liability. It cost money and labor to carry out donations and if anyone gets ill from the food they can be sued.



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A bunch of technicalities.

Probably some health and safety issue (not sure what this is like in the US compared to the UK)
Having to store it until you come to collect it
Whether they have some rule that there are only certain charities they can donate to

And Whether they actually care. Can sometimes depend on who you speak to.



Capitalism is what is stopping them. Food is a commodity that must be sold, not given. I don't like it but this is the world we live in.



Giving away food could impact sales if the very same people would be people that could buy from the same stores. A food bank is a supplement and rarely the only source of food for those people. If there was some sort of tax on wasting food, i.e. processing food waste then you can be sure they would be giving it away if that cost them nothing. However it might impact the selling of fresh food if shops were punished for waste and commercially they would be better off selling processed long life food.



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bonzobanana said:
Giving away food could impact sales if the very same people would be people that could buy from the same stores. A food bank is a supplement and rarely the only source of food for those people. If there was some sort of tax on wasting food, i.e. processing food waste then you can be sure they would be giving it away if that cost them nothing. However it might impact the selling of fresh food if shops were punished for waste and commercially they would be better off selling processed long life food.

Yeah, that's unfortunate



If the food is no good (out-of-date), you can't even give it to anyone, including homeless by law. Food prices for basic goods (wheat, apples, rice, beans, etc) are incredible low, money is not the issue here.



People suing.

They give you food. You give food to others. They get sick. They will sue.

They will sue you, or they will sue the people that gave the food to you.



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I remember one man who would once a year personally see through the process of donating all of their unsold food for that day. He lamented that it's very expensive and the infrastructure and logistics involved (where to bring it to reach the most people/where it will be stored/who will distribute/how to pay for it etc) make it essentially impossible to do on a daily basis for any but the smallest of food distributors (like a small bakery for instance).

For this to work, especially as far as most produce is concerned, there'd need to be established distribution centers with the financial onus not being entirely on the private businesses themselves, and they'd need to be large enough to handle and distribute that food before it expired. It's a bit like how we can all put our recyclables into the recycle bin, but an enormous amount of it winds up in the dump anyway as we don't have the facilities to actually process 100% of the recycalables that are sent in.



numberwang said:
If the food is no good (out-of-date), you can't even give it to anyone, including homeless by law. Food prices for basic goods (wheat, apples, rice, beans, etc) are incredible low, money is not the issue here.

Actually, what a lot of people don't realize there's actually a law that protects retailers from liability if someone gets sick.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Emerson_Good_Samaritan_Act_of_1996

As long as the food isn't exhibiting signs of spoilage, you're free from liability.  

Dating isn't required by law except in the case of infant formula.  Dating is done by manufacturers for themselves and stores.  

 

Money a lot of times is an issue.  People can have lots of other bills, that leave them with very little for food.  I know people who have experienced that.  Feeding a family can easily be expensive.