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Laserbeam August 2nd, 2015 12:35am

The average US grocery store throws away hundreds (even thousands) of dollars worth of perfectly good food every single day. Even the slightest damage to the packaging makes an item "unsellable" and it gets tossed. Is this practice acceptable to you?

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tdaddy Kentucky
08/05/15 12:56 pm

Yes, absolutely, because without such policies my local salvage store would not have the great selection they have, selling goods for a fraction of what they'd cost at a local supermarket.

tdaddy Kentucky
08/05/15 12:59 pm

Plus these stores often sell some great products that are not normally sold in this area because of dumb policies that totally ignore the ethnic market here.

meb1 somewhere in MN
08/01/15 8:16 pm

Some restaurants offer unused food to community organizations who feed the hungry. They have requirements for keeping/freezing food for safety.

JDoe Its a gift
08/01/15 7:42 pm

I think this is way overstated. I worked at a grocery store during college. This store, like most in the area, had a mark down area where damaged cans, outdated bakery items, etc. were put out and swarmed by cost conscious shoppers.

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chippy618
08/01/15 7:29 pm

I work in the bakery of a grocery store. Any of the unsold bread, rolls, or other items get donated to the local soup kitchen.

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EnderWiggin So disillusioned...
08/01/15 7:01 pm

At our food co-op that the Mrs and I work at, Second Harvest and others come on rotation to collect the culled food. Otherwise there is a free shelf for employees. Rarely does anything go to waste.

But most major grocers prohibit these practices.

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Casper Deep inthe Heart ofTexas
08/01/15 5:57 pm

You would think there would be a secondary market.

Laserbeam Crazy bird lady
08/01/15 6:03 pm

Some stores donate items to good causes, but even those stores are still tossing so much. Any store with a deli counter that sells hot items (fried/rotisserie chicken, etc) is throwing away all unsold product every evening for example.

Casper Deep inthe Heart ofTexas
08/01/15 6:17 pm

But a little planning would save a lot of wasted fried chicken. They could also discount it or donate it at the end of the day.
I used to get free breakfast tacos at lunch from the corner gas station.

gow488 Korea
08/01/15 5:52 pm

If you blame them you should also blame the average consumer. The only reason grocery stores do this is because customers won't buy the food.

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alkie New York
08/01/15 5:54 pm

So it's better to throw out perfectly good food that might have a dent in the can than give it to poor homeless people?

Laserbeam Crazy bird lady
08/01/15 6:05 pm

I would love to buy items with damaged packaging. If they aren't going to donate them to food banks, they could at least try to sell those items marked down.

gow488 Korea
08/01/15 6:10 pm

Alkie - I'm not saying it's okay I'm just saying it's everybody's fault not just the grocery stores.

gow488 Korea
08/01/15 6:14 pm

Laserbeam - the unfortunate fact is you're in the minority of people that would buy damaged food so it doesn't make sense for grocery stores to have it

Ru12bseen Ignoring the Ignorant
08/01/15 5:38 pm

I love John Oliver and the national conversation he's starting.

alkie New York
08/01/15 5:36 pm

No but I understand why they do it. It pisses me off that they throw it away. 40% of the food in America gets thrown away.

alkie New York
08/01/15 5:40 pm

I used to work at target that sold food, they would throw out a 24 pack of water just because it had a rip in the packaging. I refused to throw them out and I hid them in the back for the employees. It's ridiculous.

Laserbeam Crazy bird lady
08/01/15 5:49 pm

I almost asked if grocery stores should be required to donate damaged and out-of-date product to food banks, soup kitchens, etc. But I didn't want to make it very political

alkie New York
08/01/15 5:51 pm

Some places do that. Come to think of it target would give a bunch of damaged products to a group called "island harvest". They would come like once a week. Not sure why some stuff got thrown out and other stuff didn't.

Laserbeam Crazy bird lady
08/01/15 6:00 pm

The store I shop at has a decent reputation for donating. Some stuff simply can't be donated past the expiration date, such as dairy and meat. But most boxed/canned grocery items are fine well after the FDA-mandated expiration date.

alkie New York
08/01/15 6:07 pm

It's mind blowing when I see perfectly good food get thrown out. You don't know how much that angers me.

Laserbeam Crazy bird lady
08/01/15 6:11 pm

It's also worth pointing out to anyone who reads this that most printed dates are the "sell by" date, not the actual date the product is expected to "spoil".