Old Food–Going Once, Going Twice…


I didn’t know that food auctions existed before reading this line in Barbara Ehrenreich’s recent op-ed:

The rural poor are turning increasingly toJapanese tuna auction. photo by a culinary (photo) journal via creative commons “food auctions,” which offer items that may be past their sell-by dates.

Auctions sell food from supermarket chains’ warehouses, some of which may have damaged packaging or old dates. Yet, those running the auctions all claim that the goods are “safe” and ‘things they’d feed their children.’

I don’t doubt that they are, but I’m curious what amount of items are past their sell-by date. As we learn in this AP story, out-of-code foods are auctioned off and they’re usually fine:

Some of the goodies have wound up here because they’re out-of-date. But the auctioneers stress that they’re still OK to eat. The Food and Drug Administration does not generally prohibit the sale of food past its sell-by or use-by date — manufacturers’ terms that help guide the rotation of shelf stock or indicate the period of best flavor or quality.

Driven by an expansion of the secondary food market–namely dollar stores and discount retailers–less edible but unsellable food now falls into the quicksand of waste. What I’m wondering is whether food auctions are contributing to this trend.

Has anyone been to one of these food auctions? If you have or even if you haven’t, I’d love to hear your impressions/thoughts on them.

This entry was posted in History and Culture, Hunger. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.